Category Archives: Publication

Recent letter to the editor is perfect anecdote for our new PNAS paper on errors



Issues with data and analyses: Errors, underlying themes, and potential solutions

Andrew W. BrownKathryn A. Kaiser and David B. Allison

There is a sense of irony that our paper about issues with data and how to prevent and correct errors came out just after our letter to the editor attempting to correct a misanalyzed cluster randomized trial was dismissed by the authors. Perhaps had we been able to share our article describing these errors and a variety of ways to prevent and correct them, the response would have been different.

Given our experiences with other attempts to correct the literature, though, that is doubtful.

In our letter, we lay out that the authors prespecified the appropriate analysis, ignored the correct analysis for certain comparisons in their paper, and then used the misanalyzed results as the focus for their press-releases. Although we offered to work with the authors in private because we believe collaboration can be more constructive than letters back and forth, the authors turned us down. In turn, their reply to our letter did not acknowledge their error. In fact, they doubled down by claiming that because others made the mistake in the past it was okay. Ted Kyle with ConscienHealth describes it more.

Our PNAS article describes challenges such as these and others we faced when trying to identify and correct the literature.
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Bias study recommended for Faculty of 1000, receives great media coverage

Access the recommendation on F1000Prime Our recent study investigating the influence of distorted research reporting on the belief in the presumed effect of breakfast on obesity has been recommended for the Faculty of 1000! “F1000Prime is an in-depth directory of top articles in biology and medicine, as recommended by our Faculty of more than 5,000 expert scientists and clinical researchers, assisted by their designated associates.”

Our study has also received media coverage from such excellent news outlets as NPR, The New York Times, Slate, and other great information outlets.

Breakfast, bias, and obesity: Distorted research reporting contributes to beliefs beyond scientific evidence

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and other such maxims reflect a moral and health-related halo surrounding breakfast. Breakfast is purported to instill numerous health benefits to those who consume it, not the least of which is weight loss and weight maintenance. However, the scientific literature does not necessarily support a causative role between skipping breakfast and obesity. Yet, information sources including blogs, popular health icons, and government agencies have made statements that eating breakfast will help control weight. In our new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, we quantify ways in which the scientific community may be contributing to these premature causal claims.
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