Concerns about Marseille’s IHUMI/AMU papers – Part 3

This is Part 3 of a series describing papers from the Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire Méditerranée-Infection (IHUMI or IHU) and Aix-Marseille Université (AMU) — institutions in Marseille, France — with potential problems.

In Part 1, I listed papers with image concerns. In Part 2, I focused on a set of papers describing many different research projects on specimens collected from homeless people — but all run under the same IRB approval number.

In this post, we’ll take a look at IHU/AMU papers describing samples obtained from people in African countries. Many of them lack wording on ethical approval by the local authorities, and all lack authors from these countries. This type of research might fall under the definition of neo-colonial science.

A paper on a bacterium isolated from a stool sample from a Pygmy woman named after the senior author. Amazingly fast peer review too. Source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2052297516301536
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Concerns about Marseille’s IHUMI/AMU papers – Part 2

This is part 2 of a series describing papers from the IHUMI/AMU institutions in Marseille, France, with potential problems. In Part 1, I listed papers with image concerns. In this follow-up I’ll focus on a set of papers that might have problems with human subjects research not having received proper ethical approval. The articles span a decade of research on homeless people in Marseille, and involve different studies and specimens — but all were run under just one IRB approval number.

Photo credit:
Jon Tyson @jontyson
on Unsplash
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The Hot-Crazy Matrix paper

Lots of buzz yesterday on Twitter about a paper already published online a year ago, but assigned to the February 2021 issue of Personality and Individual Differences, an Elsevier/Science Direct journal. The paper builds upon a popular — but not scientific — YouTube video in which men are advised to only date women who are “hot and not too crazy”, and women are believed to only want to marry rich guys.

Figures 1 and 2 of the paper — taken from this video but without giving credit — are presented in this paper as scientific data. Of course, I have concerns.

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Hollywood doctor treats COVID-19 patients with his brother’s miracle cocktail

A COVID-19 related preprint – that quickly disappeared and reappeared after being discussed on social media – was brought to my attention by Dr. Kevin C Klatt via Twitter.

This preprint, authored by Robert Huizenga, is called Dramatic clinical improvement in nine consecutive acutely ill elderly COVID-19 patients treated with a nicotinamide mononucleotide cocktail: A retrospective case series.

In the study, Dr. Huizenga describes nine COVID-19 patients whom he treated with a mixture containing nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN).

Unfortunately, Robert Huizenga failed to disclose that this mixture is sold by a company founded by his brother, Joel Huizenga. He also treated these patients without the approval of an institutional review board (IRB).

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The Journal of Brouhaha

The Journal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents (JBRHA) is a puzzling scientific journal. It published the now-withdrawn bizarre paper on 5G and Coronavirus that caused a lot of commotion (“brouhaha“, meaning commotion or uproar). It is indexed in PubMed, giving it the appearance of a true, National Library of Medicine-approved scientific journal. But the editorial board consists mainly of dead people, the Editor in Chief’s affiliations are unclear, and the content of the journal is mainly empty. We might as well call it the JBRouHAha.

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A Dermatology journal issue that might make your skin crawl

A group of authors has found a way to crank up the number of papers on their resumes. The complete “Global Dermatology” September 30, 2019 issue of the Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences is filled with papers from the same group of authors, headed by Torello Lotti and Massimo Fioranelli, both from the University of G. Marconi in Rome, Italy.

Some of these papers contain photos of patients without consent, others contain duplicated images, and some papers are full of extraordinary claims without any evidence. Just a bunch of pretty diagrams.

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#MedBikini paper will be retracted

This week, a scientific paper published in the Journal of Vascular Surgery resulted in a heated discussion on Twitter, with the hashtag “#MedBikini” trending among medical professionals on Twitter.

In the paper, “Prevalence of unprofessional social media content among young vascular surgeons“, Hardouin et al., DOI: 10.1016/j.jvs.2019.10.069, three male authors screened young students’ social media posts for “unprofessional” behavior.

After creating an outcry on Twitter, the journal announced that the paper will be retracted.

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Low dose of hydroxychloroquine – but lots of questions

Last week, a new retrospective study from Tongji Hospital in Wuhan was published in Science China Life Sciences (a Springer Link journal). The study found 47% fatalities in critically ill #COVID19 patients that were given regular treatment, and only 19% fatalities in patients treated with low doses of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ).

These results sound amazing.

But I took a closer look. And I have lots of questions.

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