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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Purdue University Mounted a Child Nutrition Study. It Went Very, Very Wrong. – UNDARK (Amy Gastelum | November 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on December 26, 2017

Camp DASH was supposed to be a gold-standard study of diet-mitigated hypertension in adolescents. Instead, it became a venue for chaos.

ON JULY 18, an adolescent girl participating in a camp-like nutrition study at Purdue University went to the bathroom at the school’s Tarkington Hall dormitory to take a shower. Soon after, her peers told her there was a video of that shower on social media. The events that followed eventually shut down an $8.8 million research study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and left one of the nation’s top research institutions circling the wagons as it scrambled to investigate what had gone wrong.

The girl was one of 78 participants in a study called Camp DASH — short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension — which was being led by Purdue’s Department of Nutrition Science. Researchers, assessing the effects of a low sodium diet on 11- to 15-year-old boys and girls with elevated blood pressure, were set to host the children in campus housing for seven weeks over the summer.

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Funding debate over paper quality vs quantity – Nature Index (Dyani Lewis | September 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on December 23, 2017

Researchers disagree over whether performance-based metrics adversely affect publication behaviour.

Not specifically on research ethics or research integrity, but it does attempt to identify the way that metrics might have an impact on pressure to publish and publication outlet choices.

New analysis of Australian data adds fuel to the argument over the effects of linking university funding to publication output. The study, led by researchers in the Netherlands, challenges earlier assertions that allocating funding based on paper counts rewards quantity over quality.

In 1995, the then Australian Department of Employment, Education and Training began incorporating publication data — along with research income and postgraduate student numbers — in the formulae used to allocate funding for research and training at Australian universities. Few countries, most of them in Europe, have a national evaluation system to determine university funding, and fewer still — New Zealand, Spain, Norway and Belgium — incorporate publication metrics.

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Research reveals de-identified patient data can be re-identified – The Melbourne Newsroom (December 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on December 19, 2017

University of Melbourne researchers have found that confidential patient data can be re-identified, without decryption, prompting calls for improved and strengthened algorithms for protecting individuals’ online privacy.

A report, published today by Dr Chris Culnane, Dr Benjamin Rubinstein and Dr Vanessa Teague from the University’s School of Computing and Information Systems, outlines how de-identified historical health data from the Australian Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) released to the public in August 2016 can be re-identified using known information about the person to find their record.

“We found that patients can be re-identified, without decryption, through a process of linking the unencrypted parts of the record with known information about the individual such as medical procedures and year of birth,” Dr Culnane said.

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Renowned cancer scientist was paid by chemical firm for 20 years – The Guardian (Sarah Boseley | December 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on December 19, 2017

A world-famous British scientist failed to disclose that he held a paid consultancy with a chemical company for more than 20 years while investigating cancer risks in the industry, the Guardian can reveal.

Sir Richard Doll, the celebrated epidemiologist who established that smoking causes lung cancer, was receiving a consultancy fee of $1,500 a day in the mid-1980s from Monsanto, then a major chemical company and now better known for its GM crops business.

While he was being paid by Monsanto, Sir Richard wrote to a royal Australian commission investigating the potential cancer-causing properties of Agent Orange, made by Monsanto and used by the US in the Vietnam war. Sir Richard said there was no evidence that the chemical caused cancer.

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It is perhaps tempting to editorialize this case, especially given the amount of money allegedly involved, but cases like this illustrate how even illustrious careers can be tarnished by undisclosed conflicts of interest.