More Korean research problems

In the latest of a long line of developments, Columbia University appears to have withdrawn its name from a linkurl:2001 study;http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=11584476&query_hl=7&itool=pubmed_docsum in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine co-authored by Korean researcher Kwang Yul Cha. During the study, prayer appeared to boost the success of in vitro fertilization (IVF), even though infertile couples weren?t aware of the intervention.

By | February 16, 2006

In the latest of a long line of developments, Columbia University appears to have withdrawn its name from a linkurl:2001 study;http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=11584476&query_hl=7&itool=pubmed_docsum in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine co-authored by Korean researcher Kwang Yul Cha. During the study, prayer appeared to boost the success of in vitro fertilization (IVF), even though infertile couples weren?t aware of the intervention. Columbia?s Rogerio Lobo, formerly the last author, linkurl:withdrew his name;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15149/ from the paper in November, 2004 after critics raised questions about the study?s methodology and conclusions. Another co-author, Daniel Wirth, is currently in prison for defrauding the Adelphia cable company of more than $2 million. Since we linkurl:covered;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/20040614/04/ the story, Bruce Flamm, an obstetrician/gynecologist based at Kaiser Permanente and the University of California, Irvine, has tirelessly contacted officials at Columbia, asking them to explain why they affiliated themselves with the work. It appears his efforts have paid off. Now, Flamm sees comparisons between the fertility study and the discredited stem cell research led by the Korean Hwang Woo-Suk. In a linkurl:recent article;http://english.ohmynews.com/english/eng_section.asp?article_class=8 in OhMyNews International, Flamm notes that both studies were conducted in South Korea, and senior US authors pulled out as soon as the work was questioned. Additionally, Flamm says that Hwang and Cha have collaborated on previous work, and their names appear together on "at least five published studies." I agree that there are some tenuous connections between the Cha and Hwang studies. And I also agree that every study matters, and deserves careful scrutiny when questioned. But most scientists would likely think very critically about research touting the health benefits of prayer, even without Flamm?s efforts. And as a reporter, I can?t help but be skeptical and question Flamm?s motives for pursuing this story so diligently. Is the desire to maintain the integrity of the scientific record enough to drive someone to spend years on a campaign questioning one paper?

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