publication bias and related issues 
Author Message
 publication bias and related issues

Participants Left Uninformed in Some Halted Medical Trials

http://www.***.com/

http://www.***.com/

New Journals Bet
'Negative Results'
Save Time, Money
By SHARON BEGLEY
September 15, 2006

In ancient Greece, sailors who survived shipwrecks had their portraits
displayed in a temple on Samothrace as a testament to the power of
Neptune. When Diagoras of Melos was told that this proved that the
gods insert themselves into the lives of men, he answered, "but where
are they painted that are drowned?"

Today, showing only the rescued sailors would be called publication
bias, the tendency of scientists to report findings that support some
point (Neptune rescues sailors) but to bury examples (drowned sailors)
that undercut it. It has existed for years, most seriously in the
failure to publish studies that cast doubt on the safety or efficacy
of new {*filter*}.

Now, guardians of scientific probity are fighting back. A handful of
journals that publish only negative results are gaining traction, and
new ones are on the drawing boards.

"You hear stories about negative studies getting stuck in a file
drawer, but rigorous analyses also support the suspicion that journals
are biased in favor of positive studies," says David Lehrer of the
University of Helsinki, who is spearheading the new Journal of
Spurious Correlations.

"Positive" means those showing that some intervention had an effect,
that some gene is linked to a disease -- or, more broadly, that one
thing is connected to another in a way that can't be explained by
random chance. A 1999 analysis found that the percentage of positive
studies in some fields routinely tops 90%. That is statistically
implausible, suggesting that negative results are being deep-sixed. As
a result, "what we read in the journals may bear only the slightest
resemblance" to reality, concluded Lee Sigelman of George Washington
University.

Example: In the 1990s, publication bias gave the impression of a link
between {*filter*}contraceptives and cervical cancer. In fact, a 2000
analysis concluded, studies finding no link were seldom published,
with the result that a survey of the literature led to "a spurious
statistical connection."

Keeping a lid on negative results wastes time and money. In the 1980s,
experiments claimed that an antibody called Rap-5 latches onto a
cancer-related protein called Ras, exclusively. Scientists using Rap-5
then reported the presence of Ras in all sorts of human tumors, notes
Scott Kern of Johns Hopkins University. That suggested that Ras is
behind many cancers.

Oops. The antibody actually grabs other molecules, too. What
scientists thought was Ras alone was a stew of compounds. In part
because the glitch was published in obscure journals, researchers
continued to use Rap-5 and reach erroneous conclusions, says Dr. Kern.

"If the negative results had been published earlier, scientists would
have saved a lot of time and money," adds Bjorn Olsen of Harvard
Medical School, a founding editor, with Christian Pfeffer, of the
Journal of Negative Results in Biomedicine.

After a slow start in 2002, that journal is receiving more and better
papers, says Dr. Olsen. One found that, contrary to other reports, the
relative length of the bones of a woman's index finger and ring finger
may not be related to her exposure to testosterone in utero. Another
found that a molecule called PYY doesn't have a big influence on body
weight; another, that variations in a gene that earlier studies had
associated with obesity in mice and in American and Spanish women
isn't linked to obesity in French men or women.

That may sound like the set-up for a joke, but studies that dispute
connections between a gene and a disease are among the most important
negative results in biomedicine. They undercut the simplistic idea
that genes inevitably cause some condition, and show instead that how
a gene acts depends on the so-called genetic background -- all of your
DNA -- which affects how individual genes are activated and quieted.
But you seldom see such negative results in top journals.

Hence, Dr. Olsen's journal, which is full of studies disputing
reported links between gene variations and disease. The Sod1 gene and
inherited forms of Lou Gehrig's disease? Probably not. MTHFR and the
age at which Huntington disease strikes? Uh-uh. PINK-1 and late-onset
Parkinson's disease? No.

Hopefully, each of these reports kept researchers, including those at
drug companies, from wasting time looking for ways to repair the
consequences of the supposed genetic association. But it isn't clear
that any would have been published without the new journal.

Questionable correlations between a gene and cancer are the bread-and-
butter of NOGO, the Journal of Negative Observations in Genetic
Oncology, which Dr. Kern edits. "Fully half [of discoveries] of novel
mutations in tumors, we found, were not confirmed in the subsequent
literature," he says. "You expect to see follow-ups if the claims held
up, so the fact that we didn't casts doubt on the original claim. But
that wasn't explicitly reported."

Why are scientists coy about publishing negative data? In some cases,
says Dr. Kern, withholding them keeps rivals doing studies that rest
on an erroneous premise, thus clearing the field for the team that
knows that, say, gene A doesn't really cause disease B.

Which goes to show that in scientific journals, no less than in
supermarket tabloids, you can't believe everything you read -- or
shouldn't.




Fri, 30 Apr 2010 02:17:00 GMT
 publication bias and related issues
Accepting the null hypothesis is simply not original and does not make
for reading material interesting enough for a journal that depends on
having many subscribers.

Open access would solve this problem.

Be hungry... be healthy... be hungrier... be blessed:

http://www.***.com/

Prayerfully in the infinite power and might of the Holy Spirit,

Andrew <><
--
Andrew B. Chung, MD/PhD
Lawful steward of http://www.***.com/
Bondservant to the KING of kings and LORD of lords.

Quote:

> Participants Left Uninformed in Some Halted Medical Trials

> http://www.***.com/

> http://www.***.com/

> New Journals Bet
> 'Negative Results'
> Save Time, Money
> By SHARON BEGLEY
> September 15, 2006

> In ancient Greece, sailors who survived shipwrecks had their portraits
> displayed in a temple on Samothrace as a testament to the power of
> Neptune. When Diagoras of Melos was told that this proved that the
> gods insert themselves into the lives of men, he answered, "but where
> are they painted that are drowned?"

> Today, showing only the rescued sailors would be called publication
> bias, the tendency of scientists to report findings that support some
> point (Neptune rescues sailors) but to bury examples (drowned sailors)
> that undercut it. It has existed for years, most seriously in the
> failure to publish studies that cast doubt on the safety or efficacy
> of new {*filter*}.

> Now, guardians of scientific probity are fighting back. A handful of
> journals that publish only negative results are gaining traction, and
> new ones are on the drawing boards.

> "You hear stories about negative studies getting stuck in a file
> drawer, but rigorous analyses also support the suspicion that journals
> are biased in favor of positive studies," says David Lehrer of the
> University of Helsinki, who is spearheading the new Journal of
> Spurious Correlations.

> "Positive" means those showing that some intervention had an effect,
> that some gene is linked to a disease -- or, more broadly, that one
> thing is connected to another in a way that can't be explained by
> random chance. A 1999 analysis found that the percentage of positive
> studies in some fields routinely tops 90%. That is statistically
> implausible, suggesting that negative results are being deep-sixed. As
> a result, "what we read in the journals may bear only the slightest
> resemblance" to reality, concluded Lee Sigelman of George Washington
> University.

> Example: In the 1990s, publication bias gave the impression of a link
> between {*filter*}contraceptives and cervical cancer. In fact, a 2000
> analysis concluded, studies finding no link were seldom published,
> with the result that a survey of the literature led to "a spurious
> statistical connection."

> Keeping a lid on negative results wastes time and money. In the 1980s,
> experiments claimed that an antibody called Rap-5 latches onto a
> cancer-related protein called Ras, exclusively. Scientists using Rap-5
> then reported the presence of Ras in all sorts of human tumors, notes
> Scott Kern of Johns Hopkins University. That suggested that Ras is
> behind many cancers.

> Oops. The antibody actually grabs other molecules, too. What
> scientists thought was Ras alone was a stew of compounds. In part
> because the glitch was published in obscure journals, researchers
> continued to use Rap-5 and reach erroneous conclusions, says Dr. Kern.

> "If the negative results had been published earlier, scientists would
> have saved a lot of time and money," adds Bjorn Olsen of Harvard
> Medical School, a founding editor, with Christian Pfeffer, of the
> Journal of Negative Results in Biomedicine.

> After a slow start in 2002, that journal is receiving more and better
> papers, says Dr. Olsen. One found that, contrary to other reports, the
> relative length of the bones of a woman's index finger and ring finger
> may not be related to her exposure to testosterone in utero. Another
> found that a molecule called PYY doesn't have a big influence on body
> weight; another, that variations in a gene that earlier studies had
> associated with obesity in mice and in American and Spanish women
> isn't linked to obesity in French men or women.

> That may sound like the set-up for a joke, but studies that dispute
> connections between a gene and a disease are among the most important
> negative results in biomedicine. They undercut the simplistic idea
> that genes inevitably cause some condition, and show instead that how
> a gene acts depends on the so-called genetic background -- all of your
> DNA -- which affects how individual genes are activated and quieted.
> But you seldom see such negative results in top journals.

> Hence, Dr. Olsen's journal, which is full of studies disputing
> reported links between gene variations and disease. The Sod1 gene and
> inherited forms of Lou Gehrig's disease? Probably not. MTHFR and the
> age at which Huntington disease strikes? Uh-uh. PINK-1 and late-onset
> Parkinson's disease? No.

> Hopefully, each of these reports kept researchers, including those at
> drug companies, from wasting time looking for ways to repair the
> consequences of the supposed genetic association. But it isn't clear
> that any would have been published without the new journal.

> Questionable correlations between a gene and cancer are the bread-and-
> butter of NOGO, the Journal of Negative Observations in Genetic
> Oncology, which Dr. Kern edits. "Fully half [of discoveries] of novel
> mutations in tumors, we found, were not confirmed in the subsequent
> literature," he says. "You expect to see follow-ups if the claims held
> up, so the fact that we didn't casts doubt on the original claim. But
> that wasn't explicitly reported."

> Why are scientists coy about publishing negative data? In some cases,
> says Dr. Kern, withholding them keeps rivals doing studies that rest
> on an erroneous premise, thus clearing the field for the team that
> knows that, say, gene A doesn't really cause disease B.

> Which goes to show that in scientific journals, no less than in
> supermarket tabloids, you can't believe everything you read -- or
> shouldn't.





Fri, 30 Apr 2010 04:37:13 GMT
 publication bias and related issues
Our armchair philosopher of science opines:

"Accepting the null hypothesis is simply not original and does not make
for reading material interesting enough for a journal that depends on
having many subscribers.

Open access would solve this problem."

More irrelevant to the topic lateral cognitive lurches.

God bless.



Fri, 30 Apr 2010 08:38:43 GMT
 publication bias and related issues

Quote:
>Accepting the null hypothesis is simply not original and does not make
>for reading material interesting enough for a journal that depends on
>having many subscribers.

>Open access would solve this problem.

Agree.

PLoS!
--
Jim Chinnis   Warrenton, {*filter*}ia, USA



Fri, 30 Apr 2010 10:26:29 GMT
 publication bias and related issues

Quote:


> >Accepting the null hypothesis is simply not original and does not make
> >for reading material interesting enough for a journal that depends on
> >having many subscribers.

> >Open access would solve this problem.

> Agree.

> PLoS!

:-)

Be hungry... be healthy... be hungrier... be blessed:

http://HeartMDPhD.com/PressRelease

Prayerfully in the infinite power and might of the Holy Spirit,

Andrew <><
--
Andrew B. Chung, MD/PhD
Lawful steward of http://EmoryCardiology.com
Bondservant to the KING of kings and LORD of lords.



Sat, 01 May 2010 01:39:28 GMT
 
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