A new paper from a group of American neurologists makes the case that Hitler suffered from Parkinson’s disease for much of his life, and that some of his most fateful decisions were influenced by the neurological disorder.
A misleading piece of statistical rhetoric has appeared in a paper about an experimental antidepressant treatment. The study is published in the Journal of Affective Disorders. JAD is a respectable mid-ranked psychiatry journal – yet on this occasion they seem to have dropped the ball badly.
In the wake of the Michael LaCour scandal, there’s a renewed debate over the degree to which scientists who published a paper with a co-author, who turned out to be a fraudster, ought to be held responsible.
If I agree to write a paper with you, based on your fake data, that I believe to be real, am I to blame for not detecting the fraud?
The ‘million monkey’ scenario is a well-known thought experiment. Supposing a million monkeys were randomly tapping at the keys of a typewriter. Would one of the monkeys eventually happen to type out the text of a Shakespeare play?
Over any realistic time scale, it turns out that the probability of them reproducing even one page of Shakespeare is rather small, although given an infinite amount of time (or infinite monkeys), the monkeys would succeed an infinite number of times.
Being a neuroscientist, I wanted to explore what would happen if, instead of monkeys typing, we assumed that random letters were generated by the spike activity of human neurons.
Could a neuron be likened to a monkey with a typewriter? And if so, how long would we have to wait before one of the neurons in a human brain ‘typed’ a given text?
25% of papers published in cancer biology journals contain signs of ‘data duplication’, which can be a sign of scientific errors or even misconduct.
That’s according to a remarkable paper just published in Science and Engineering Ethics by a Norwegian cancer researcher, Morten P. Oksvold.
Yesterday a new scientific journal appeared on PubMed, the standard index of the biomedical literature. That journal is called the Journal of Reward Deficiency Syndrome (JRDS). The first issue is here, indexed on PubMed here. (EDIT: It seems the journal is not exactly indexed on PubMed, although the papers appear there. See end of post.)
I spotted JRDS yesterday. I soon noticed a few strange things about it.
The brain shrinks over the course of the day, ending up smaller in the evening – before returning to its full size the next morning. That’s according to a neat new study based on an analysis of almost 10,000 MRI scans. It’s published today in Neuroimage.
The hottest story in science over the past couple of weeks has been the accusations of fraud against UCLA political science PhD student Michael LaCour.
The allegations were posted online on May 19th and they concern one of LaCour’s papers, published in Science, called When contact changes minds: An experiment on transmission of support for gay equality. On May 28th the paper was retracted on the request of LaCour’s co-author, Donald Green, but LaCour stands by the data and disagreed with the retraction.
There have been lots of twists and turns in this case – LaCour has admitted lying about some aspects of the data collection. In this post however I’ll focus on the data and on LaCour’s rebuttal to the original accusations, which he posted on May 29th.
A new paper examines how the brain keeps track of positive and negative outcomes: No unified reward prediction error in local field potentials from the human nucleus accumbens