Tag Archives: Retraction Watch

Classification system for science news

22 Sep

I have been ill for the past couple of days, so postings may be light.

Writing this blog has made me more aware of how poorly science news is often covered in the media.Here is a good post from The Gaurdian by Dean Burnett that explains some of these problems (Hat tip to Retraction Watch).

Dean Burnett is not only a neuroscientist but also a comedian!

Magnesium – Alzheimer study retracted

19 Apr

Some months ago I blogged about research that suggested that magnesium might help prevent Alzheimer’s dementia. At the time I wrote:

“This is an interesting result but please note that the research was funded by a pharmaceutical company that might have an interest in the outcome. In addition, the sample size was small. There is a recurring arc for this type of claim; initial studies with small sample sizes show large effects while later, better designed, research finds no or little effect. Best to keep an open mind but be willing to re-evaluate in the face of new evidence.”

Now the site Retraction Watch reports that The Journal of Neuroscience has retracted one of these papers. You can read the retraction statement here. The authors report methodological errors that will require them to rewrite the paper. But they claim:

“Despite these errors, the major conclusions of the paper remain substantiated”

So, in fairness, the question of magnesium role in preventing Alzheimer’s remains open. I repeat what I wrote in an earlier post:

“I certainly cannot dismiss the claims that magnesium may have cognitive benefits, but I would like to evidence independent of a researcher with a stake in the outcome.”


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