Daily Rounds: Massaging Psychology Data; Progress On Electronic Health Records; Autism Prevalence Questioned; Postponing Aging

Fraud Seen As Red Flag For Psychology Research (The New York Times) "The scandal, involving about a decade of work, is the latest in a string of embarrassments in a field that critics and statisticians say badly needs to overhaul how it treats research results. In recent years, psychologists have reported a raft of findings on race biases, brain imaging and even extrasensory perception that have not stood up to scrutiny. Outright fraud may be rare, these experts say, but they contend that Dr. Stapel took advantage of a system that allows researchers to operate in near secrecy and massage data to find what they want to find, without much fear of being challenged."

Mass. doctors making progress on "meaningful use" - Boston Medical News - White Coat Notes - ( "Hospitals and individual physicians must meet a long list of requirements to qualify for up to $44,000 in incentive payments from Medicare for adopting the records systems. The list includes the ability to input certain demographic and medical information about patients, exchange data with other providers, give patients access to their own records, and submit disease data to public health agencies."

The prevalence puzzle: Autism counts : Nature News "If the rise in autism can be explained mainly by increased awareness, diagnosis and social factors, then the contributing environmental factors will always have been present — perhaps an ill-timed infection in pregnancy or some kind of nutritional deficit. If the increase can't be explained away — and at least part of the rise is 'real' — then new factors must be causing it, and scientists urgently need to find them." (

Purging Senescent Cells May Postpone Diseases of Aging, Study Finds - "In a delicate feat of genetic engineering, a research team led by Darren J. Baker and Jan M. van Deursen at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., has generated a strain of mouse in which all the senescent cells can be purged by giving the mice a drug that forces the self-destruction of just these cells.Rid of the senescent cells, the Mayo Clinic researchers reported online Wednesday in the journal Nature, the mice’s tissues showed a major improvement in the usual burden of age-related disorders. Mice that had been cleansed of senescent cells from weaning onward did not develop cataracts, avoided the usual wasting of muscle with age, and could exercise much longer on a mouse treadmill. They retained the fat layers in the skin that usually thin out with age and, in people, cause wrinkling." (

This program aired on November 3, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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