Mind the Brain

How to get a flawed systematic review and meta-analysis withdrawn from publication: a detailed example

Cochrane normally requires authors to agree to withdraw completed reviews that have been published. This withdrawal in the face of resistance from the authors is extraordinary. There is a lot to be learned from this letter and the accompanying documents in terms of Courtney calmly and methodically laying out a compelling case for withdrawal of a review with important clinical practice and policy implications.

Lessons we need to learn from a Lancet Psychiatry study of the association between exercise and mental health

The closer we look at a heavily promoted study of exercise and mental health, the more its flaws become obvious. There is little support for the most basic claims being made – despite the authors marshaling enormous attention to the study.

Using F1000 “peer review” to promote politics over evidence about delivering psychosocial care to cancer patients

The F 1000 platform allowed authors and the reviewers whom they nominated to collaborate in crafting more of their special interest advocacy that they have widely disseminated elsewhere. Nothing original in this article and certainly not best evidence!

Is risk of Alzheimer’s Disease reduced by taking a more positive attitude toward aging?

Unwarranted claims that “modifiable” negative beliefs cause Alzheimer’s disease lead to blaming persons who develop Alzheimer’s disease for not having been more positive. Lesson: A source’s impressive credentials are no substitute for independent critical appraisal of what sounds like junk science and is. More lessons on how to protect yourself from dodgy claims in press … Continue reading "Is risk of Alzheimer’s Disease reduced by taking a more positive attitude toward aging?"

Stalking a Cheshire cat: Figuring out what happened in a psychotherapy intervention trial

John Ioannidis, the “scourge of sloppy science”  has documented again and again that the safeguards being introduced into the biomedical literature against untrustworthy findings are usually ineffective. In Ioannidis’ most recent report , his group: …Assessed the current status of reproducibility and transparency addressing these indicators in a random sample of 441 biomedical journal articles … Continue reading "Stalking a Cheshire cat: Figuring out what happened in a psychotherapy intervention trial"

Was independent peer review of the PACE trial articles possible?

I ponder this question guided by Le Chavalier C. Auguste Dupin, the first fictional detective, before anyone was called “detective.” Articles reporting the PACE trial have extraordinary numbers of authors, acknowledgments, and institutional affiliations. A considerable proportion of all persons and institutions involved in researching chronic fatigue and related conditions in the UK have a … Continue reading "Was independent peer review of the PACE trial articles possible?"

Busting foes of post-publication peer review of a psychotherapy study

As described in the last issue of Mind the Brain, peaceful post-publication peer reviewers (PPPRs) were ambushed by an author and an editor. They used the usual home team advantages that journals have – they had the last word in an exchange that was not peer-reviewed. As also promised, I will team up in this … Continue reading "Busting foes of post-publication peer review of a psychotherapy study"

Sordid tale of a study of cognitive behavioral therapy for schizophrenia gone bad

What motivates someone to publish that paper without checking it? Laziness? Naivety? Greed? Now that’s one to ponder. – Neuroskeptic, Science needs vigilantes. We need to Make the world safe for post-publication peer review (PPR) commentary. Ensure appropriate rewards for those who do it. Take action against those who try to make life unpleasant for … Continue reading "Sordid tale of a study of cognitive behavioral therapy for schizophrenia gone bad"

Pay $1000 to criticize a bad ‘blood test for depression’ article?

No way, call for retraction. Would you pay $1,000 for the right to criticize bad science in the journal in which it originally appeared? That is what it costs to participate in postpublication peer review at the online Nature Publishing Group (NPG) journal, Translational Psychiatry. Damn, NPG is a high-fashion brand, but peer review is … Continue reading "Pay $1000 to criticize a bad ‘blood test for depression’ article?"

Keeping zombie ideas about personality and health awalkin’: A teaching example

Reverse engineer my criticisms of this article and you will discover a strategy to turn your own null findings into a publishable paper. Here’s a modest little study with null findings, at least before it got all gussied up for publication. It has no clear-cut clinical or public health implications. Yet, it is valuable as … Continue reading "Keeping zombie ideas about personality and health awalkin’: A teaching example"

Evolution and engineering of the megajournal – Interview with Pete Binfield

Peter Binfield wrote a nice analysis on Mega Journals over at Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand  an organisation on which I serve. MegaJournals are a recent phenomenon, that have changed the face of scientific publishing. I am an academic editor in PeerJ, as well as in PLOS ONE (PONE), “the” megajournal of the Public Library of … Continue reading "Evolution and engineering of the megajournal – Interview with Pete Binfield"

Join PubMed’s Revolution in Post Publication Peer Review

At 11 AM on October 22, 2013, the embargo was lifted and so now it can be said: PubMed Commons has been implemented on a trial basis. It could change the process of peer assessment of scientific articles forever. Some researchers can now comment on any article indexed at PubMed and read the comments of … Continue reading "Join PubMed’s Revolution in Post Publication Peer Review"