Scientists Behaving Badly (Corrupt Practices; Evil Experimentation)


Gone But Not Forgotten
May 15, 2002
Jonas said that studies of homeopathy may have produced mixed results because of biases the researchers brought to their studies. Many investigators have likely set out to either prove or disprove the benefits of the practice, he noted, and may have discarded any work that did not fit their theory.

SOURCE: Annals of Internal Medicine 2003;138:393-399.

Shoorly not a mainstream scientist admitting that such a thing could happen. My favourite example of this is the Milliken lab book. For those who don't know Milliken performed a magnificent experiment at the start of the last century to measure the charge of the electron. His lab book of the experiment is full of results with notes alongside saying "something wrong with this one, disregard". The strangest thing is that he finished up with a pretty accurate result even after all the fudging of the results.
tzb57r said:
For those who don't know Milliken performed a magnificent experiment at the start of the last century to measure the charge of the electron. His lab book of the experiment is full of results with notes alongside saying "something wrong with this one, disregard". The strangest thing is that he finished up with a pretty accurate result even after all the fudging of the results.
It's called 'rule of thumb.' It concerns the sublime subtleties of human judgement and discernement and should not be disregarded. Or, leant on too much.

Master artists and craftsmen have it, why not a scientist absorbed in their work?
Fudging results...

Isn't there also some evidence that Gegor Mendel might have fudged some of his results and that there was some wishful thinking in his experiments on heredity in pea plants?

Funnily enough, genetics seems to work despite this.
Scientists behaving badly

Journal editors reveal researchers' wicked ways.

4 March 2004


They lie, they cheat and they steal. Judging by the cases described by a group of medical journal editors, scientists are no different from the rest of us.

Last week's annual report1 of the Committee on Publishing Ethics details the misdemeanours that the group of journal editors grappled with in 2003. Although the number of cases - 29 - is tiny compared with the tens of thousands of papers published in medical journals every year, the cases cover a wide range of unethical activity, from attempted bribery to potential medical malpractice.

Many of the tricks will be familiar to schoolchildren. Two complaints concern cases where researchers were accused of copying someone else's work. When editors investigated, they agreed that the papers were almost identical versions of previously published material, and that plagiarism was the most likely explanation.

Confronted with the evidence, researchers behind one paper insisted that their paper contained only 5% overlap with the original. Another author, when eventually reached by mobile phone, admitted some similarities; but at that point the call ended abruptly.

Duplicate publication, where the same paper is printed twice in different journals to boost publication records, is the most common offence, accounting for seven of 29 cases. This fits with previous studies of the practice.

A 2003 survey of opthalmology journals estimated that at least 1.5% of all papers are duplicates2. Some researchers seem to have perfected the art: a study released last month identified two papers that had each been published five times3.

Compulsory action

Conflicts of interest also rear their head in the report. One journal ran a paper on passive smoking from authors who omitted to mention that they had received funding from the tobacco industry. Further probing revealed that the author had received tobacco company money throughout his career and even lobbied for the industry.

In cases where the misconduct concerns medical treatments, the report becomes more disturbing. The editors discuss several studies where medical procedures were run by researchers who did not have proper ethical clearance.

One paper revealed that blood samples were taken from healthy babies to set up a control group for a study. This was a painful procedure that the paper's authors later said wouldn't normally be sanctioned for research purposes. The nature of their ethical approval for the procedure was never cleared up.

When confronted with such issues, journal editors usually contact the researchers' employers or ethics committees, who may take action. But this is not compulsory.

The publishing committee wants to formalize this course of action in a code of ethical conduct for editors. It has published a draft of such a code alongside its report, and a final version should be ready in the next few months. The committee wants all editors of medical journals, including its 180 or so members, to sign up to the code and agree to be bound by the associated disciplinary procedures.

Such a code should clarify editors' duties. It should also make clear, if it is not already, which activities are inappropriate. The report describes one bid to persuade an editor to accept a manuscript, in which an anonymous caller offered to buy 1000 reprints of the published paper. "And," the caller added, "I will buy you dinner at any restaurant you choose."


The Cope Report 2003, (2003). |Article|

Mojon-Azzi, S. M. et al. Nature, 421, 209, doi:10.1038/421209a (2003). |Article|

von Elm, E. et al. J. Am. Med. Assoc, 291, 974 - 980, (2004).
We are but human. And this article doesn't even begin on the fabrication of results which end up in theses!

Mind you, we have a webcam on trial being passed around the labs at the moment; it's currently up in the parasite lab, where they have it trained on a petri dish of maggots with the label Maggot Cam!
U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings

More than 200 Fish and Wildlife researchers cite cases where conclusions were reversed to weaken protections and favor business, a survey finds.

By Julie Cart
Times Staff Writer

February 10, 2005

More than 200 scientists employed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say they have been directed to alter official findings to lessen protections for plants and animals, a survey released Wednesday says.

The survey of the agency's scientific staff of 1,400 had a 30% response rate and was conducted jointly by the Union of Concerned Scientists and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

A division of the Department of the Interior, the Fish and Wildlife Service is charged with determining which animals and plants should be placed on the endangered species list and designating areas where such species need to be protected.

More than half of the biologists and other researchers who responded to the survey said they knew of cases in which commercial interests, including timber, grazing, development and energy companies, had applied political pressure to reverse scientific conclusions deemed harmful to their business.

Bush administration officials, including Craig Manson, an assistant secretary of the Interior who oversees the Fish and Wildlife Service, have been critical of the 1973 Endangered Species Act, contending that its implementation has imposed hardships on developers and others while failing to restore healthy populations of wildlife.

Along with Republican leaders in Congress, the administration is pushing to revamp the act. The president's proposed budget calls for a $3-million reduction in funding of Fish and Wildlife's endangered species programs.

"The pressure to alter scientific reports for political reasons has become pervasive at Fish and Wildlife offices around the country," said Lexi Shultz of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Mitch Snow, a spokesman for the Fish and Wildlife Service, said the agency had no comment on the survey, except to say "some of the basic premises just aren't so."

The two groups that circulated the survey also made available memos from Fish and Wildlife officials that instructed employees not to respond to the survey, even if they did so on their own time. Snow said that agency employees could not use work time to respond to outside surveys.

Fish and Wildlife scientists in 90 national offices were asked 42 questions and given space to respond in essay form in the mail-in survey sent in November.

One scientist working in the Pacific region, which includes California, wrote: "I have been through the reversal of two listing decisions due to political pressure. Science was ignored — and worse, manipulated, to build a bogus rationale for reversal of these listing decisions."

More than 20% of survey responders reported they had been "directed to inappropriately exclude or alter technical information."

However, 69% said they had never been given such a directive. And, although more than half of the respondents said they had been ordered to alter findings to lessen protection of species, nearly 40% said they had never been required to do so.

Sally Stefferud, a biologist who retired in 2002 after 20 years with the agency, said Wednesday she was not surprised by the survey results, saying she had been ordered to change a finding on a biological opinion.

"Political pressures influence the outcome of almost all the cases," she said. "As a scientist, I would probably say you really can't trust the science coming out of the agency."

A biologist in Alaska wrote in response to the survey: "It is one thing for the department to dismiss our recommendations, it is quite another to be forced (under veiled threat of removal) to say something that is counter to our best professional judgment."

Don Lindburg, head of the office of giant panda conservation at the Zoological Society of San Diego, said it was unrealistic to expect federal scientists to be exempt from politics or pressure.

"I've not stood in the shoes of any of those scientists," he said. "But it is not difficult for me to believe that there are pressures from those who are not happy with conservation objectives, and here I am referring to development interest and others.

"But when it comes to altering data, that is a serious matter. I am really sorry to hear that scientists working for the service feel they have to do that. Changing facts to fit the politics — that is a very unhealthy thing. If I were a scientist in that position I would just refuse to do it."

The Union of Concerned Scientists and the public employee group provided copies of the survey and excerpts from essay-style responses.

One biologist based in California, who responded to the survey, said in an interview with The Times that the Fish and Wildlife Service was not interested in adding any species to the endangered species list.

"For biologists who do endangered species analysis, my experience is that the majority of them are ordered to reverse their conclusions [if they favor listing]. There are other biologists who will do it if you won't," said the biologist, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Another longer report:

Wildlife scientists feeling heat

Species-protection data suppressed, many report

Zachary Coile, Chronicle Washington Bureau

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Washington -- Scientists in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say they've been forced to alter or withhold findings that would have led to greater protections for endangered species, according to a survey released Wednesday by two environmental groups.

The scientists charge that top regional and national officials in the agency suppressed scientific information to avoid confrontations with industry groups or to follow the Bush administration's political policies.

The mail-in survey by the Union of Concerned Scientists and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility -- which drew responses from 414 of 1,400 biologists, ecologists, botanists and other scientists -- was not a scientific poll. But the two groups said the large number of responses reflect concern by of many Fish and Wildlife Service employees that political appointees are inappropriately influencing the science that drives decisions to list species and protect their habitat.

A spokesman for the agency said he could not comment on the report until agency officials have had time to review it.

But an Interior Department official said the survey results reflect the natural tension between agency scientists and managers in making tough decisions about protecting species.

"There's nothing inappropriate about people higher up the chain of command supervising the work of people below them and reaching different scientific conclusions," said Hugh Vickery, an Interior Department spokesman.

"These (decisions) should get scrutiny. That's what they pay these folks for," he said. "The question at hand is, are they doing their job properly and in accordance with the law? The answer is yes. Does everyone like it? No. But they are doing it properly."

The results were released a day before Republican leaders in Congress, led by House Resources Chairman Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, were scheduled to announce their strategy to pass a major overhaul of the Endangered Species Act, which critics say is failing to save species from extinction.

Two senior House Democrats who oppose the proposed changes to the act sent a letter to Interior Secretary Gale Norton on Wednesday urging her to respond to the charges of political interference by agency officials.

"The Fish and Wildlife Service's credibility rests on its scientific integrity," wrote Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, and Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W. Va. "If political agendas are allowed to overrule science, that credibility will be compromised."

Forty-four percent of the scientists who responded to the survey said they have been asked by their superiors to avoid making findings that would require greater protection of endangered species.

One in five agency scientists reported being directed to alter or withhold technical information from scientific documents.

And more than half of the respondents -- 56 percent -- said agency officials have reversed or withdrawn scientific conclusions under pressure from industry groups.

The sponsors of the survey, who often have criticized President Bush's environmental policies, said the results are part of a broader effort by administration officials to mold scientific findings to support their policies.

Last week, the inspector general of the Environmental Protection Agency reported that the agency has failed to fully assess the health impacts of mercury pollution because political appointees have intervened and compromised scientific practices. EPA officials denied the charge.

"The political manipulation of science is an ongoing problem with this administration," said Lexi Shultz of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Nearly 30 percent of the Fish and Wildlife Service scientists queried responded to the survey -- a high rate, especially since several regional offices had urged employees not to reply. An official in the Great Lakes regional office asked the staff, in a memo, not to fill out the survey "in the office or from home."

Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Mitch Snow said officials in Washington had directed employees only to not answer any unauthorized surveys during working hours.

The written comments reflect a view shared by many agency scientists that politics have clouded decisions on whether to list species as endangered and designate areas of critical habitat.

One scientist from the Pacific region, which includes California and five other western states, reported being involved in two decisions to list species as endangered that were reversed, allegedly due to political pressure.

"Science was ignored -- and, worse, manipulated to build a bogus set of rationale for reversal of these listing decisions," the scientist wrote.

Another scientist from the Pacific region concluded: "I have never seen so many findings and recommendations by the field be turned around at the regional and Washington level. All we can do at the field level is ensure that our administrative record is complete and hope we get sued by an environmental or conservation organization."

The survey gave no specifics about which agency decisions were changed because of politics. The survey's sponsors said many scientists did not cite specific cases for fear they would be identified and would face retaliation for speaking out.

Sally Stefferud, a scientist who worked for 20 years at the agency before retiring three years ago, said that in the past political pressure affected only a few high-profile decisions but that now it is affecting almost all agency actions on endangered species.

Stefferud, who helped prepare the study, noted that field scientists in the Southwest region who study the impact of grazing on federal lands are now accompanied by the grazing permit holders, who she said are unlikely to show researchers any potential harm to endangered species.

"The data can become very easily distorted," Stefferud said.

The survey's sponsors said many scientists did not cite specific cases for fear they would be identified and would face retaliation for speaking out.
Does this send shivers down your spines?
Is the US turning into the old style Soviet Union?

With creationism attacking science from one side, and the government attacking it from the other, the future does not look good in the US of A.
I sent the first article to a friend, who replied:

Awful - but unsurprising. It's not like they're not contemptuous of
expertise - especially scientific expertise.
rynner said:
Does this send shivers down your spines?
Is the US turning into the old style Soviet Union?

YAY!!!!! Someone else has noticed. thank God, I've been running down the motorway in the middle of the night screaming "they're coming!" for the last ten years and I haven't slept a wink since!

More problems for American science:

Posted on Sun, Feb. 20, 2005

Panelists decry Bush science policies


Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The voice of science is being stifled in the Bush administration, with fewer scientists heard in policy discussions and money for research and advanced training being cut, according to panelists at a national science meeting.

Speakers at the national meeting of the American Association for Advancement of Science expressed concern Sunday that some scientists in key federal agencies are being ignored or even pressured to change study conclusions that don't support policy positions.

The speakers also said that Bush's proposed 2005 federal budget is slashing spending for basic research and reducing investments in education designed to produce the nation's future scientists.

And there also was concern that increased restrictions and requirements for obtaining visas is diminishing the flow to the U.S. of foreign-born science students who have long been a major part of the American research community.

Rosina Bierbaum, dean of the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment, said the Bush administration has cut scientists out of some of the policy-making processes, particularly on environmental issues.

"In previous administrations, scientists were always at the table when regulations were being developed," she said. "Science never had the last voice, but it had a voice."

Issues on global warming, for instance, that achieved a firm scientific consensus in earlier years are now being questioned by Bush policy makers. Proven, widely accepted research is being ignored or disputed, she said.

Government policy papers issued prior to the Bush years moved beyond questioning the validity of global warming science and addressed ways of confronting or dealing with climate change.

Under Bush, said Bierbaum, the questioning of the proven science has become more important than finding ways to cope with climate change.

One result of such actions, said Neal Frank of Rice University, a former director of the National Science Foundation, is that "we don't really have a policy right now to deal with what everybody agrees is a serious problem."

Among scientists, said Frank, "there is quite a consensus in place that the Earth is warming and that humans are responsible for a considerable part of that" through the burning of fossil fuels.

And the science is clear, he said, that without action to control fossil fuel use, the warming will get worse and there will be climate events that "our species has not experienced before."

Asked for comment, White House spokesman Ken Lisaius said, "The president makes policy decisions based on what the best policies for the country are, not politics. People who suggest otherwise are ill-informed."

Kurt Gottfried of Cornell University and the Union of Concerned Scientists said a survey of scientists in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that about 42 percent said they felt pressured to not report publicly any findings that do not agree with Bush policies on endangered species. He said almost a third of the Fish and Wildlife researchers said they were even pressured not to express within the agency any views in conflict with the Bush policies.

"This administration has distanced itself from scientific information," said Gottfried. He said this is part of a larger effort to let politics dominate pure science.

He said scientists in the Environmental Protection Agency have been pressured to change their research to keep it consistent with the Bush political position on environmental issues.

Because of such actions, he said, it has become more difficult for federal agencies to attract and retain top scientific talent. This becomes a critical issue, said Gottfried, because about 35 percent of EPA scientists will retire soon and the Bush administration can "mold the staff" of the agency through the hiring process.

Federal spending for research and development is significantly reduced under the proposed 2005 Bush budget, the speakers said.

"Overall the R&D budget is bad news," said Bierbaum.

She said the National Science Foundation funds for graduate students and for kindergarten through high school education has been slashed.

NASA has gotten a budget boost, but most of the new money will be going to the space shuttle, space station and Bush's plan to explore the moon and Mars. What is suffering is the space agency's scientific research efforts, she said.

"Moon and Mars is basically going to eat everybody's lunch," she said.

Frank said Bush's moon and Mars exploration effort has not excited the public and has no clear goals or plans.

He said Bush's moon-Mars initiative "was poorly carried out and the budget is not there to do the job so science (at NASA) will really get hurt."


SIS Press Release 25/02/05

ISIS Report -

Which Science or Scientists Can You Trust?


Michael Meacher told a public conference on Science,
Medicine and the Law in the strongest terms that we need
independent science and scientists who take the
precautionary principle seriously and sweeping changes are
needed in science funding and scientific advice to the
government that ensures the protection of independent

Which scientists?

Nobody disagrees that debate over whether we should go ahead
with new technologies should be conducted on the basis of
science, but which science? Independent science or
industrial science? Let me test out a few examples on you.

Fifteen years ago a lorry driver accidentally tipped 20
tonnes of aluminium sulphate into the public drinking supply
in north Cornwall – nearby residents and local doctors are
convinced they were poisoned; but two Government enquiries
found no evidence. Whom do you believe?

There are childhood leukaemia clusters in villages down the
Cumbrian coast – local residents and independent scientists
think it is the consequence of chronic exposure to low-level
radiation from nearby Sellafield; but the Department of
Industry (DTI) and British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) think it is
nothing to do with local nuclear power stations – their best
explanation is that it is caused by high levels of inward
and outward migration. Whom do you believe?

Mark Purdey, a Somerset farmer turned epidemiologist, has
produced detailed evidence to show that BSE was caused by
farmers spreading Phosmetz, an organohosphate (OP), over the
backs of cattle as a prophylaxis, but the Government's MRC
Toxicology Unit - funded by the pharmaceutical company
Zeneca - apparently refuted this theory. Which company held
all rights over the production of Phosmetz? Zeneca. Whom do
you believe?

Gulf War Syndrome has been a persistent disabling, and
sometimes lethal, condition since the first war in Kuwait in
1991. Both UK and US soldiers and their independent
scientific advisers are convinced that the soldiers were
poisoned by the OP insecticides that they were liberally
sprayed with. But the MOD and chemical companies insist
there is no evidence for this. Whom do you believe?

Well, if you have any doubts, look at what has actually
happened in the past when Government, in the teeth of
overwhelming evidence, have often finally been forced to
back track from entrenched positions that they always said
were supported scientifically.

Science can quite often get things wrong.

Which science?

Government biologists initially refused to accept that power
stations in Britain or Germany could kill fish or trees
hundreds of miles away in Scandinavia; later the idea of
acidification caused by SO 2 was universally accepted.

Government scientists originally did not agree that
chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were destroying the ozone layer;
but during the 1987 negotiations on the Montreal Protocol
the industry – ICI and Du Pont – abruptly changed sides, and
ministers and scientists soon fell into line alongside them.

The Lawther working party of Government scientists roundly
rejected any idea that health-damaging high levels of lead
in the blood came overwhelmingly from vehicle exhausts, only
to find that after lead-free petrol was introduced, blood-
lead levels fell 70%.

The Southwood committee of BSE scientists insisted in 1990
that scrapie in cattle could not cross the species barrier,
only to find by 1996 that it did just that. And there are
many more examples.

Scientific uncertainty and the precautionary principle

The only way to deal with these problems is by applying the
precautionary principle. Perhaps the classic formulation of
the precautionary principle was at the Rio Summit in 1992
principle 15: “in order to protect the environment, the
precautionary approach shall be widely applied by states
according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of
serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific
certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-
effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.”

That principle survived renegotiation attempts during the
Johannesburg Summit in September 2002, and was reaffirmed in
the Plan of Implementation that resulted from the Summit.

Why has this not been adopted by scientists and policy-
makers? There can be only one reason: cynicism of not
disturbing powerful political and economic interests.

It is highly disturbing to realise how long it takes for
poisonous chemicals to be banned after scientific evidence
emerged that they were harmful.

* Benzene was demonstrated as powerful bone marrow poison in

* Acute respiratory effects of asbestos was identified 1898

* The ability of PCB to induce chloracne was documented in

But it was not until 1960-70s that significant progress was
made in restricting damages caused by these agents.

Independent scientists vilified

Efforts were made to discredit independent critics, as in
the case of Richard Lacey and Mark Purdey in BSE, & Arpad
Pusztai in GM food, and too many other examples.

Data and reports have been regularly suppressed or
publishers intimidated, as in the Great Lakes chemical case.

The Southwood Committee on BSE believed a ban on the use of
all cattle brains in human food chain might be justified,
but considered that politically unfeasible.

There was also incompetence: the Department of Health was
not informed by MAFF (the then Ministry of Agriculture,
Fisheries and Food, now disbanded) about the emergence of
new disease (BSE) until 17 months after MAFF was first

Pervasive mistrust of science and scientists

No wonder that there is a pervasive mistrust of science and
scientists. But the roots for this go deep.

First, the Rothschild revolution under Thatcher made the
funding of science much more subservient to business
interests. Over the past two decades, getting finance for
scientific inquiry inimical to the commercial and political
establishments has become increasingly difficult. The
science is owned by a tiny number of very large companies
and they only commission research which they believe will
further their own commercial interests. And when that turns
out not to be the case, as when research turns up results
which may be embarrassing to the company, they are most
often dubbed “commercially confidential” and never

In addition, companies have learned that small investments
in endowing chairs, sponsoring research programmes or hiring
professors for out-of-hours projects can produce
disproportionate payoffs in generating reports, articles,
reviews and books, which may not be in the public interest,
but certainly benefit corporate bottom lines. The effects of
corporate generosity - donating millions for this research
laboratory or that scientific programme – can be subtly
corrosive. Other universities regard the donor as a pote
ntial source of funds and try to ensure nothing is said
which might jeopardise big new cash possibilities. And
academics raising embarrassing questions (as they should) -
such as who is paying for the lab; how independent is the
peer review; who profits from the research; is the
university's integrity compromised? – would soon learn that
keeping their heads down is the best way not to risk their
career, let alone future research funding. The message is
clear: making money is good, and dissent is stifled.
Commerce and the truth don't readily mix.

A second reason why there is such pervasive mistrust of
science and scientists is that the scientists staffing the
official advisory committees and Government regulatory
bodies in a significant number of cases have financial links
with the industry they are supposed to be independently
advising on and regulating. A recent study found that of the
five scientific committees advising ministers on food and
safety, 40% of committee members had links with the
biotechnology industry, and at least 20% were linked to one
of the Big Three – Monsanto, AstraZeneca, or Novartis. Nor
is that an accident. The civil servants who select
scientists for those bodies tend to look for a preponderant
part of the membership, and particularly the chairperson, to
be ‘sound', i.e., can be safely relied on not to cause
embarrassment to the Government or industry if difficulties

Third, the culture of spin and intimidation is far more
pervasive than should ever be allowed. The shocking sacking
and vilification of Dr Arpad Pusztai, when he produced GM
research results inconvenient to the Government, bio-tech
industry and the Americans, was no doubt, deliberately
intended as a warning to others if they stepped out of line.
And the threats and insinuations made clear to the only two
independent scientists on the UK Government's GM Science
Panel, Dr Carlo Leifert and Andrew Sterling, demonstrates
all too clearly how viciously the Establishment will fight
to safeguard its own interests.

And on spin, how many times have we heard the false argument
that is still regularly deployed by ACRE, the Government's
main GM advisory committee, when it announces that, “there
is no evidence that this GM product is any greater risk to
human health than its non-GM counterpart”. In fact they have
not sought such evidence directly, merely relied on the
biotech companies telling them that their GM product was
‘substantially equivalent' to its alleged non-GM analogue.

Fourth, science is not, and never has been, a value-free
search for the truth. It is a social construct influenced by
a variety of rules, peer group pressures, and personal and
cultural expectations. It is developed, like all human
thought, from preconceived built-in judgements, assumptions
and dogmas, the more powerful because they are often
unconsciously held.

So what is to be done?

What all this means is that science can only be fully
trusted if it is pursued with the most rigorous procedures
that guarantee total independence and freedom from
commercial and political bias. That is far too often not the
case today. The implications for policy are clear.

One, if the Government truly wants independent research, it
has to be prepared to pay for it, not lay down, as it has,
that 25% of finance for publicly funded research should come
from private sources, thus forcing the universities into the
hands of corporate sponsors.

Two, the Government should also require that no member of
its advisory committee or regulatory bodies should have any
current or recently past financial or commercial link with
the industry concerned.

Three, contributors to scientific journals should be
required to make full disclosure of current and prior
funding sources, so that any conflicts of interest can be
exposed and taken into account.

Four, we need above all a Government with the political
gumption to stand up to the United States and those
demanding calls from the White House, to stand up to the
biotech companies, and to stand up to big business, and make
clear that there will be no succumbing to dominant political
/economic interests, e.g. no growing of GM crops in this
country until proper, systematic, independent, peer-reviewed
research, which is totally absent at present, has been
carried through and made public which demonstrates beyond
any reasonable doubt whether GM foods are safe or not.

We should never forget the words of Winston Churchill, who
said “Science should be on tap, not on top”.

This is an edited version of Michael Meacher's keynote
address to the Green Network Conference, Science, Medicine
and the Law, 31 January to 2 February 2005, Royal Institute
of British Architecture, London, UK, which will be published
in issue 26 of Science in Society ( )

This article can be found on the I-SIS website at

If you like this original article from the Institute of
Science in Society, and would like to continue receiving
articles of this calibre, please consider making a donation
or purchase on our website


The whole global warming thing shows another side of this debate. At first there was debate about whether there was GW...

Then more and more scientists accepted that GW is real...

Now it seems the consensus is swinging towards accepting that man-made carbon emissions do play a major part in GW...

But still some gubmints refuse to accept this consensus, and will wheel out whatever reactionary scientists they can find to prop up their view (which is, of course, to preserve the status quo of their industrial base, even though it may end up killing us all...)

(To discuss GW, please go to
rather than hijack this thread!)
In a perfect world, science is just a tool and no scientists have pet theories on which their funding and/or careers depend. That universe is probably also teeming with lawyers for whom justice is paramount and so on and so forth.

Unfortunately, in this world there will always be people who claim the title "scientist" yet are quite capable of ignoring the damned data if it doesn't suit their paymasters. Sad, innit?

And again...
Top US biologists oppose biodefence boom
11:38 01 March 2005 news service
Debora MacKenzie
Efforts to defend the US against bioterrorists - by throwing money at research - are backfiring, says a 750-strong group of top scientists

The US has poured billions of dollars into biodefence research since its anthrax attacks in 2001. More than half of the US scientists studying bacterial diseases have this week written to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) - their main funding agency - charging that the largess has created "a crisis for microbiological research".

"We are staging a no-confidence vote," says Richard Ebright of Rutgers University in New Jersey, who organised the protest. In an open letter to Elias Zerhouni, head of the NIH, 750 of the 1143 scientists the agency funded to study bacterial and fungal pathogens charge that the agency's emphasis on biodefence research since 2002 has diverted researchers away from potential breakthroughs in basic research.

The US has poured money into researching potential bioweapons such as the bacteria that cause anthrax, plague and tularaemia, and viruses such as Ebola, Marburg and smallpox. Biodefence funding at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) - the part of the NIH that deals with pathogens - jumped from $53 million in 2001 to $1.4 billion in 2004 with a projected $1.5 billion in 2005.

But the letter's signatories say this has diverted research away from germs that - unlike putative weapons agents - already cause significant disease. While biodefence grants jumped fifteen-fold between 1998 and 2005, they claim that the number of grants for work on non-biodefence disease germs fell 27%, while grants for studying model bacteria such as Escherichia coli fell by a whopping 41%.

Widespread perception
Anthony Fauci, head of NIAID, says those numbers are a misinterpretation of the agency's complex grants database. "Funding has been steady for all non-biodefence-related research from 2000 through to 2004," he told New Scientist. "Not only that, but the funding increases for non-biodefence research in NIAID each year have been the same as, or better than, the funding increases for all research across NIH, including all kinds of disease."

Yet this is clearly not a widespread perception. The letter was open only to scientists funded under the NIAID sections for bacteria and fungi, says Ebright, to see what proportion of a defined group responded.

"We got the majority of the nation's top microbiologists," he says. This includes people who benefit from biodefence funding, such as the heads of two biodefence research centres, and anthrax researchers. The current president of the American Society of Microbiology and five past presidents have also signed.

Biological models
The scientists point out they are on the verge of making major breakthroughs in model systems of bacteria, which could then be transferred to more obscure germs such as potential bioweapons agents.

"Everyone agrees we are just on the point of making significant breakthroughs in basic research on bacteria, because we can now analyse gene expression patterns and complex biomolecular networks," says Richard Gourse of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, another organiser of the letter.

"It will be much more difficult to make the same basic discoveries working on the biothreat agents than with model systems," notes Stanley Falkow of Stanford University in California, a prominent biodefence researcher. "We can't find new vaccines and treatments for bioweapons as Congress demands," he says, "unless we understand the basic biology behind host-pathogen interactions".

The concerned scientists want Zerhouni to create a new funding category for basic microbial science, or include more basic research under biodefence funding.
Survey: Scientific Misbehavior Is Common

NEW YORK - It's not the stuff of headlines, like fraud. But more mundane misbehavior by scientists is common enough that it may pose an even greater threat to the integrity of science, a new report asserts.

One-third of scientists surveyed said that within the previous three years, they'd engaged in at least one practice that would probably get them into trouble, the report said. Examples included circumventing minor aspects of rules for doing research on people and overlooking a colleague's use of flawed data or questionable interpretation of data.

Such behaviors are "primarily flying below the radar screen right now," said Brian C. Martinson of the HealthPartners Research Foundation in Minneapolis, who presents the survey results with colleagues in a commentary in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.

Scientists "can no longer remain complacent about such misbehavior," the commentary says. But "I don't think we've been complacent," said Mark S. Frankel, director of the Scientific Freedom, Responsibility & Law Program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Frankel, who wasn't involved in the survey, said its results didn't surprise him. But he said that the survey sampled only a slice of the scientific community and shouldn't be taken as applying to all scientists.

The survey included results from 3,247 scientists, roughly 40 percent of those who were sent the questionnaire in 2002. They were researchers based in the United States who'd received funding from the National Institutes of Health. Most were studying biology, medicine or the social sciences, with others in chemistry and a smaller group in math, physics or engineering.

Of the 10 practices that Martinson's study described as the most serious, less than 2 percent of respondents admitted to falsifying data, plagiarism or ignoring major aspects of rules for conducting studies with human subjects. But nearly 8 percent said they'd circumvented what they judged to be minor aspects of such requirements.

Nearly 13 percent of those who responded said they'd overlooked "others' use of flawed data or questionable interpretation of data," and nearly 16 percent said they had changed the design, methods or results of a study "in response to pressure from a funding source."

Martinson said the first question referred to other researchers in their own lab, and the second question referred to pressure from companies funding their work.But David Clayton, vice president and chief scientific officer at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which focuses on biomedical research, said he found both questions worded so vaguely that they could be referring to perfectly acceptable activities.

Clayton also says it's not clear whether the behaviors addressed in the survey have been increasing or declining over time.
I'd 'misbehave' if I got paid enough by tobacco/junk food/companies/govenment.

Classic problem with any human endevour, religion, science, philosophy...

Its a weary world
Scientists under the microscope

SPARRING PARTNERS: Jo Handelsman and Daniel Lee Kleinman

Daniel Lee Kleinman and Jo Handelsman first sparred in 1995, when the University of Wisconsin, Madison sociologist spent six months as a guest in Handelsman's plant pathology lab. The sociologist's goal was to find out how financial incentives - say, profits from selling microorganisms as therapeutics - might shape the day-to-day workings of a laboratory.

Immersing himself in lab culture, Kleinman did some experiments of his own, looking for an antibiotic resistance gene in bacterial samples. In his interactions with Handelsman and her research team, he was struck by a disconnect between the work scientists do and its social implications. During lab meetings, for example, he remembers when Handelsman would segue from a discussion on a public scientific debate by asking her group to turn to the science itself. At the same time, he documented his observations on the scientists' motivations.

At the end of the six months, when Kleinman passed out an article preceding the book he would later write from the experience, Impure Cultures, he recalls Handelsman looking horrified. For one thing, she thought he hadn't fairly captured their passion for the science. In the margin of one manuscript, Kleinman found a scribbled note from one of her graduate students: "So you think except for the bacteria, we're all a bunch of moneygrubbers?"

He wasn't surprised. Anyone might bristle under the cool scrutiny of a sociologist, but Kleinman says that scientists, raised on the merits of individual achievement, may be particularly sensitive to charges that their work is influenced by social and economic forces beyond their control - the idea that grant funding sources help determine research directions, for instance.

But Kleinman talked through their concerns, incorporating some perceived omissions (including their passion for discovery) into the final book. And while he pushed their buttons, Handelsman says they needed to be pushed. "This was just a fabulous experience for my students," says Handelsman, "because whether he was right or wrong, or his work was good or bad, or they liked it or they didn't, there was no question that he provoked graduate students in the biological sciences to think differently about who they were as scientists, and what objectivity in science is and what external forces shape what we do." Several picked up books by science philosophers, says Kleinman, and elevator rides prompted conversations about how the scientific method differs from social science approaches.

So when Kleinman called her six years later with an idea for a book series, one that sought to expose scientists to the plurality of opinions on science and technology issues, she was immediately on board. Without understanding all the arguments, says Handelsman, researchers can't enter a debate. It didn't hurt that the two had become close friends.

The first volume, Controversies in Science & Technology - From Maize to Menopause, tackled everything from smallpox and bioterrorism to hormone replacement therapy. The second book, scheduled for release early next year, will explore the NASA space program and the genetics of gender. Though the book is meant to be accessible to laypeople, Kleinman bills it as something of a primer for scientists who "don't have the time or the intellectual space to think about the social implications of their work" and a demonstration of how a single body of data - say, on global warming - can be interpreted in multiple ways by different scientists and policymakers.

For a section on stem cell research, contributors included a priest, a rabbi, and an Islamic scholar, as well as a developmental biologist and managing director and staff writer for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. In late March, during an impromptu visit from this chapter's Catholic voice - biologist-turned-priest Tadeusz Pacholczyk - the argument was lifted off the page into real life when he, Handelsman, and other essay contributors exchanged harsh words over a breakfast gathering: Father Pacholczyk accused stem cell researchers of "committing evil acts," according to Handelsman, while she called his biological arguments inconsistent.

It was the kind of uncomfortable but important difference in opinions that Handelsman and Kleinman have come to appreciate. Says Kleinman: "The key word is understanding rather than duking it out."
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By Laura Buchholz

The naked truth
Chemist and playwright Carl Djerassi throws back the curtain on the scientific establishment to reveal truths that arent always flattering
[Published 10th November 2006 04:28 PM GMT]

In his new play, "Phallacy," world-renowned chemist Carl Djerassi dramatizes the age-old lovers' quarrel between art and science, using a bronze statue of a naked young man as the focal point of the furor. While the scientist and the art historian at the center of the story don't have much common ground, they do share at least one attribute: enormous egos.

At a recent reading of the play at the City University of New York Graduate Center, Djerassi said that in writing the piece, he wanted to dramatize a fatal flaw often found in scholars of art and science: a tendency to believe that their own hypotheses are so beautiful that they simply cannot be wrong.

Djerassi himself is no stranger to egocentricity. After all, you don't get your face on an Austrian stamp by being shy and insecure. Now 83, Djerassi is perhaps best known as the mother of the birth-control pill (to Djerassi, the pill's parents are chemists and biologists, with chemists playing the female role and biologists playing the male). He is also a pioneer for environmentally friendly insect control, the author of five books, and, of course, a playwright.

Djerassi describes his theatrical genre as "science-in-fiction," which is not to be confused with science fiction. He explores the cultural habitat of scientists, and writes as an insider, throwing back the curtain on the scientific establishment in a way that is not always flattering. In "Phallacy," he tells the tale of an art historian smitten with a favorite sculpture. Believing the sculpture to be a Roman original, she is unhinged when a chemist's analysis suggests it is actually a Renaissance-era reproduction. When she rebuffs the chemist's offer of a collegial solution to the conundrum, the academic warfare begins in earnest.

According to Djerassi, some scientists read his plays and fiction and think he's airing their dirty laundry in public. After all, his characters tend to be egocentric workaholics hungry for name recognition. "It does get dirty, and we shouldn't apologize," Djerassi told The Scientist.

And if Djerassi doesn't back down in the face of uncomfortable peers, neither does he back away from the potential discomfort of his audience. As we might expect from a play entitled "Phallacy," Djerassi uses the penis as a recurring motif: At one point, the art historian derides her chemist rival as "cocksure;" later we are treated by an underling chemist character to a list of the many synonyms for the organ. And, of course, the naked bronze man in question sports a sexual organ of his own, the significance of which can only be discovered by going to see the play at New York City's Cherry Lane Theater in May 2007.

The play will be produced by Redshift Productions, whose mission is to connect audiences intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually to science.

"Our tribe gives no brownie points for communicating with the public," Djerassi told The Scientist. But by his early sixties, having amassed an enormous number of brownie points in the science world, Djerassi turned his energies to literary pursuits, writing everything from poetry to short stories to novels and plays.

In 1999, Djerassi co-wrote the play "Oxygen" with poet and Nobel Laureate chemist Roald Hoffmann, who teaches at Cornell University and also hosts the monthly "Entertaining Science" night at New York City's Cornelia Street Café. Hoffmann said he considers science to be a "wonderful system for gaining reliable knowledge," but that it's "sad that the system often requires scientists to repress their own human nature." As an undergraduate at Columbia, Hoffmann nearly went into the humanities. "And I would have," he told The Scientist, "had I been more courageous."

Courage is something Djerassi does not appear to lack, as he is now plunging ahead into his sixth play. "The egocentricity of science is related to the nourishment and poison of ambition," Djerassi told The Scientist. And if nothing else, that makes for good drama.

Laura Buchholz
[email protected]

Links within this article:

B. Spector, "ACS Selects Stanford's Carl Djerassi As Recipient Of 1991 Priestley Medal," The Scientist, July 22, 1991

Carl Djerassi

C. Djerassi, "Illuminating Scientific Facts Through Fiction," The Scientist, July 23, 1990

D. Moreau, "3 Dynamos Behind Syntex's Success," The Scientist, Jan. 11, 1988

Redshift Productions

A.J.S. Rayl, "Oxygen: Putting a Human Face on Science," The Scientist, Oct. 15, 2001

R. Hoffman, "Art, Science Offer Freedom But Entail Responsibility," The Scientist, Sept. 28, 1992

J. King, "Nobelist Roald Hoffmann: Chemist, Poet, Above All A Teacher," The Scientist, Dec. 11, 1989

Roald Hoffmann
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'Junk science' as front-page fact criticised ... 66_pf.html

Tue, Jul 28, 2009

THE FABRICATION of public falsehoods is a form of censorship that can be at its sharpest in what sometimes passes for science journalism, a leading judge has argued.

Lord Justice Stephen Sedley of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, who last night gave the Law Society’s annual Human Rights lecture, said not a week passed without “another piece of junk science reaching the front pages as scientific fact”.

With little scientific research being either conclusive or easy to interpret, the major scientific journals had press officers whose jobs were to publicise what they were publishing “and which to this end have been known to dumb down scientific work to the point of misrepresentation”, he suggested.

“Others use PR firms with no scientific credentials at all. With or without such encouragement, there is today a tally in the British press of supposedly scientific news stories which not only misinform or disinform but sometimes do demonstrable harm.”

In a lecture entitled The Three Wise Monkeys and the Marketplace of Ideas: Censorship in a Free Society , Lord Justice Sedley pointed to a story published this summer that reported as a fact that kidney stones affected one adult male in four – “a level of risk which might well send you to your doctor for preventive treatment, but which, it turns out, was made up by the PR firm which represents a pharmaceutical company with an interest in such treatment”.

He also referred to the common belief in Britain that National Health Service hospitals were infested with MRSA. The press’s evidence of dirty hospitals came principally from a single-self-advertised microbiologist who, it turned out, “was effectively unqualified and worked in a garden shed”.

Journalists elevated him to “Britain’s leading expert” on MRSA and denounced as a cover-up every official attempt to refute him.

“On the scale set by the 20th century, the MRSA fabrication may not rank as a grand lie, but it was a sedulously managed falsehood designed to sell newspapers,” Lord Justice Sedley remarked.

He described the fabrication of public falsehoods was “a form of censorship as unacceptable as the ministry of truth which represents the media’s – and a free society’s – ultimate nightmare. Like state censorship, it distorts or blots out known or knowable fact in pursuit of a private agenda.”
Cancer Researcher Fabricated Data ... ated-data/
Sheng Wang leaves the Boston University School of Medicine and agrees to retract two published studies.
By Jessica P. Johnson | August 11, 2011

Breast tumors
Sheng Wang, assistant professor of medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) Cancer Research Center until last month, committed research misconduct, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Research Integrity (ORI) announced last Friday (August 5). Specifically, the ORI determined that Wang fabricated data published in two 2009 papers in the journals Molecular Endocrinology (ME) and Oncogene, both of which Wang has agreed to retract.

The falsified figures show real-time PCR data—a technique used to locate genes and quantify their expression—and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)—used to determine how and where proteins interact with DNA in the cell—to support their conclusions about the HIC1 protein’s pivotal role in tumor suppression.

HIC1 (“hypermethylated in cancer 1”) is a protein known to suppress cell growth. The gene that encodes HIC1 was recently shown to be epigenetically disrupted in human tumors, and its expression has been linked to better outcomes in some breast cancers. Using both PCR and ChIP, Wang and his colleagues showed that HIC1 acts via a downstream protein called Brg1. In a follow up study, the researchers found that HIC1 is required for estrogen neutralizers—which combat certain breast cancers—to effectively suppress tumor growth.

The fabricated data affected six of the eight figures in the Oncogene paper, which has been cited 9 times, according to ISI, and six of the seven figures in the ME paper, which has not been cited. Though neither paper has yet been retracted, and neither journal could confirm whether it was considering such a move, Wang must retract them according to his agreement with the ORI. “The retraction of the articles is in accordance with the decision reached by the ORI,” Maria Pantages Ober, director of communications for BUSM, said in a statement.

But researchers say the impending retractions will not significantly impact the field’s understanding of HIC1’s role in tumor suppression, as the papers’ basic findings have been shown in other studies.

“This will not impact our paper, although it is, of course, very concerning,” Susan Cohn, professor of Pediatrics at the University of Chicago who cited the Oncogene paper, said in an email.

“Even if their conclusion [that HIC1 requires interaction with Brg1 to control cell-growth-related genes] was not correct, other studies have demonstrated that Brg1 can interact with other tumor suppressors, such as Prohibitin and TopBP,” added Danuta Radzioch, professor of medicine at McGill University in Montreal who also cited the Oncogene paper, in an email.

The details surrounding the misconduct remain murky. The ORI’s determination of research misconduct came after an investigation initiated by Boston University, according to a statement issued by Ober. The University would not release details of how suspicions first arose nor when the investigation began. According to Ober, Wang’s employment ended on July 15, but she declined to provide any further information on the circumstances of his departure or his current whereabouts. At the time of publication, Wang had not responded to The Scientist’s requests for comment. Douglas Faller, director of the Cancer Research Center at BUSM and a coauthor on both papers in question, declined to comment.

As a result of the ORI’s findings, Wang is ineligible for federal funding for 2 years. Wang’s acceptance of ORI’s sanctions is not an admission of guilt. As a common condition of ORI agreements, researchers are not required to do so, though an admission “could be considered a mitigating circumstance justifying a somewhat reduced administrative action,” John Dahlberg, ORI Division of Investigative Oversight director, wrote in an email to The Scientist.
How government corrupts science
By Arthur Robinson, Ph.D.

"Recently it was revealed that one "scientific" effort involved the change of more than 5,000 articles and complete erasure of more than 500 in the Web-based encyclopedia Wikipedia. These articles were changed because they made mention of the Medieval Warm Period, a period about 1,000 years ago when Earth temperatures were much higher than they are today and of other research data that contradicted the human-caused global warming agenda. This erasure was done by prominent climate "scientists" who created a web site specifically for the purpose of smearing and suppressing any work that threatened their empire of lavishly government funded human-caused global warming "research," called"
More junk science, a cruel hoax in this case.

IS THERE ANY more tantalizing headline than “Scientists Discover a Cure for Cancer”?

Some version of this fantastical claim has been dropped into the news cycle with the regularity of a super blood wolf moon for the better part of a century. In 1998, James Watson told The New York Times that a cancer cure would arrive by Y2K. This magazinehasn’t been immune either, running an “End of Cancer” headline a few years later. Each instance stirs up hope for patients and their families desperate to find a solution, no matter the risk or cost. And yet, here we are in 2019, with that constellation of complex, diverse diseases we lump together and call “cancer” for convenience's sake still killing one in eight men and one in 11 women, according to the World Health Organization’s latest stats.

You’d think creators and consumers of news would have learned their lesson by now. But the latest version of the fake cancer cure story is even more flagrantly flawed than usual. The public’s cancer cure–shaped amnesia, and media outlets’ willingness to exploit it for clicks, are as bottomless as ever. Hope, it would seem, trumps history.

On Monday, the Jerusalem Post, a centrist Israeli newspaper, published an online story profiling a small company called Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies that has been working on a potential anti-cancer drug cocktail since 2000. It was somewhat cautiously headlined “A Cure for Cancer? Israeli Scientists Think They Found One” and relied almost entirely on an interview with the company’s board chair, Dan Aridor, one of just three individuals listed on AEBi’s website. In it, Aridor made a series of sweeping claims, including this eye-popper: “We believe we will offer in a year’s time a complete cure for cancer.”

It was an especially brash move considering the company has not conducted a single trial in humans or published an ounce of data from its completed studies of petri dish cells and rodents in cages. Under normal drug development proceedings, a pharmaceutical startup would submit such preclinical work to peer review to support any claims and use it to drum up funding for clinical testing. AEBi’s PR move might be an attempt at a shortcut. ... NL 013119 (1)&utm_medium=email&utm_source=nl
The most extreme examples of "scientists behaving badly" are those in which unethical and even arguably "evil" experimentation is performed in the name of science. This recent Live Science article lists 9 examples of such evil experiments - some of which are discussed elsewhere on the forum.
9 evil medical experiments

Many evil medical experiments have been conducted in the name of science, here are nine of the most horrific. ...

Throughout history a number of evil experiments have been carried out in the name of science. We all know the stereotype of the mad scientist, often a villain in popular culture. Yet in real-life, while science often saves lives, sometimes scientists commit horrific crimes in order to achieve results.

Some are ethical mistakes, lapses of judgement made by people convinced they're doing the right thing. Other times, they're pure evil. Here are nine of the worst experiments on human subjects in history. ...
Well intentioned perhaps but carried out without consent or any real information.

Researchers are looking for South Asian women who were fed radioactive chapatis in the 1960s as part of a study looking at iron absorption.

Taiwo Owatemi MP said she was "deeply concerned" about the study in Coventry funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC).

"It seems that consent was not sought nor proper information given to women at the time they took part," she said.

A MRC spokesperson said an independent inquiry had examined questions raised.

The independent report, published in 1998, found research practice, ethics and regulation had "moved on significantly" and had "directly resulted" in new guidance, the MRC said.

The inquiry report was commissioned in response to a documentary on Channel 4 in 1995 which raised concerns about participants, including pregnant women, being able to consent to the experiments.

It was reported in 1995 that about 21 women were involved in the experiment after seeking medical help from a city GP for minor ailments. The study was carried out due to concerns of widespread anaemia among Asian women and researchers suspected traditional South Asian diets were to blame.

Chapatis containing Iron-59 - an iron isotope with a gamma-beta emitter - were delivered to participants' homes.

They would later be invited to a research facility in Oxfordshire to have their radiation levels assessed.

It was reported that the MRC said the study proved that "Asian women should take extra iron because the iron in the flour was insoluble".
Well intentioned perhaps but carried out without consent or any real information.

Researchers are looking for South Asian women who were fed radioactive chapatis in the 1960s as part of a study looking at iron absorption.

Taiwo Owatemi MP said she was "deeply concerned" about the study in Coventry funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC).

"It seems that consent was not sought nor proper information given to women at the time they took part," she said.

A MRC spokesperson said an independent inquiry had examined questions raised.

The independent report, published in 1998, found research practice, ethics and regulation had "moved on significantly" and had "directly resulted" in new guidance, the MRC said.

The inquiry report was commissioned in response to a documentary on Channel 4 in 1995 which raised concerns about participants, including pregnant women, being able to consent to the experiments.

It was reported in 1995 that about 21 women were involved in the experiment after seeking medical help from a city GP for minor ailments. The study was carried out due to concerns of widespread anaemia among Asian women and researchers suspected traditional South Asian diets were to blame.

Chapatis containing Iron-59 - an iron isotope with a gamma-beta emitter - were delivered to participants' homes.

They would later be invited to a research facility in Oxfordshire to have their radiation levels assessed.

It was reported that the MRC said the study proved that "Asian women should take extra iron because the iron in the flour was insoluble".

More on the lack of informed consent.

The daughter of a woman who participated in a radioactive chapati study says her mother believed she was getting help for arthritis.

In 1969, a group of South Asian women in Coventry were given chapatis containing a radioisotope.

The daughter, who wants to remain anonymous, said her mother's GP recommended she participate.

"I know she thought that this was somehow connected to sorting out her knee problems," she says.

Her mother, who died in 2000, moved to Foleshill, Coventry, from Punjab, in India in the early 1950s. She did not speak English or read or write, instead relying on her children to translate.

Despite two inquiries in the 1990s, the 1969 study has come under the spotlight again after concerns whether 21 research subjects had given informed consent.

Memories of the chapati study came "flooding back", the daughter says, after recent media coverage.

"Chapatis were delivered to our house," she says. "I was only 14 at the time. I didn't really question it. Every time we sat down for dinner my mum would open up her packet of chapatis."
Seeing this thread brought to mind a scandal in Guatemala that came to light a few years ago, when it was revealed that US scientists had deliberately infected Guatemalans with sexually transmitted diseases under the guise of offering healthcare. The linked articles makes grim reading - and also helps to explain the distrust of COVID vaccines that was prevalent in Guatemala.

First, Do No Harm: The US Sexually Transmitted Disease Experiments in Guatemala (National Library of Medicine)
Beginning in 1946, the United States government immorally and unethically—and, arguably, illegally—engaged in research experiments in which more than 5000 uninformed and unconsenting Guatemalan people were intentionally infected with bacteria that cause sexually transmitted diseases. Many have been left untreated to the present day.

Guatemala syphilis experiments (Wikipedia)
The Guatemala syphilis experiments were United States-led human experiments conducted in Guatemala from 1946 to 1948. The experiments were led by physician John Charles Cutler, who also participated in the late stages of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment. Doctors infected 1,300 people, including at least 600 soldiers and people from various impoverished groups (including, but not limited to, sex workers, orphans, inmates of mental hospitals, and prisoners) with syphilis, gonorrhea, and chancroid, without the informed consent of the subjects. Only 700 of them received treatment. In total, 5,500 people were involved in all research experiments, of whom 83 died by the end of 1953, though it is unknown whether or not the inoculations were responsible for all these deaths. Serology studies continued through 1953 involving the same vulnerable populations in addition to children from state-run schools, an orphanage, and rural towns, though the intentional infection of patients ended with the original study.
More on the lack of informed consent.

The daughter of a woman who participated in a radioactive chapati study says her mother believed she was getting help for arthritis.

In 1969, a group of South Asian women in Coventry were given chapatis containing a radioisotope.

The daughter, who wants to remain anonymous, said her mother's GP recommended she participate.

"I know she thought that this was somehow connected to sorting out her knee problems," she says.

Her mother, who died in 2000, moved to Foleshill, Coventry, from Punjab, in India in the early 1950s. She did not speak English or read or write, instead relying on her children to translate.

Despite two inquiries in the 1990s, the 1969 study has come under the spotlight again after concerns whether 21 research subjects had given informed consent.

Memories of the chapati study came "flooding back", the daughter says, after recent media coverage.

"Chapatis were delivered to our house," she says. "I was only 14 at the time. I didn't really question it. Every time we sat down for dinner my mum would open up her packet of chapatis."

By rights they should have transformed into bread-themed superheroes.
By rights they should have transformed into bread-themed superheroes.

But we wouldn't know - becuase they'd be keeping their superhero identities secret!
But we wouldn't know - becuase they'd be keeping their superhero identities secret!
It looks like normal bread, but as soon as it takes its glasses off...