Research Fraud in Sleep Apnea Study

Another article on research fraud, this time from an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.

Link and excerpt:

http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2009/04/10/researcher-falsified-data-in-sleep-study/

Robert Fogel, a former assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, fabricated and falsified data in a study of sleep apnea in severely obese patients, the Office of Research Integrity at HHS said.

The journal Sleep has retracted the 2003 study, titled “Anatomic and physiologic predictors of apnea severity in morbidly obese subjects.” The research-integrity office said Fogel’s changed or falsified nearly half of the sleep data “so that those data would better conform to his hypothesis.” He also fabricated about 20% of anatomic data that supposedly came from CT scans, the office said, based on information that Fogel volunteered.

Fogel, who worked at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at the time but later moved on to work at Merck, told a former supervisor in 2006 that he had falsified the data, the Scientist reports.

“What I did was obviously horrendously wrong,” Fogel told the Scientist, adding this was the only paper on which he’d done this.

“I moved numbers around to make the data look like there was something there,” he said. “I never really thought through the consequences, and once I did this I got myself into a loop that I found I couldn’t get out of.”

Here is a link to the story as reported in Science magazine: (you will have to register for free access to the article)

http://www.the-scientist.com/templates/trackable/display/blog.jsp?type=blog&id=55606&o_url=blog/display/55606
Fogel voluntarily agreed to exclude himself from Public Health Service-funded research for a period of three years unless he is under active supervision. “If I hadn’t come clean, this probably never would have come to light,” he said. “I hate to say it, but this probably happens more often than we think.”

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