Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Opportunity For the World-Wide Research Community: Spend 15 Minutes to Counter Falsified Research in the Journal of the American Heart Association

The Journal of the American Heart Association on June 5, 2019, published a bogus research article, “Electronic cigarette use and myocardial infarction among adults in the US Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health [PATH],” by Dharma N. Bhatta and Stanton A. Glantz (here). 

Drs. Bhatta and Glantz used PATH Wave 1 survey data to claim that e-cigarette use caused heart attacks. However, the public use data shows that 11 of the 38 current e-cigarette users in their study had a heart attack years before they first started using e-cigarettes.

The article misrepresents the research record; presents a demonstrably inaccurate analysis; and omits critical information with respect to (a) when survey participants were first told that they had a heart attack, and (b) when participants first started using e-cigarettes.  The article represents a significant departure from accepted research practices. 

I provided the JAHA editors with details about the false results on July 11 and July 18, and I urged them to consider an investigation and retraction.  They failed to provide a substantive response (here).

As the JAHA editors apparently need further encouragement to retract this article, I invite researchers at 776 ICPSR-member universities, government agencies and other institutions to conduct their own investigation of the article’s false claims. 

Investigate and Take Action on the Bhatta-Glantz False Findings in Three Easy Steps

1.  Download the PATH Wave 1 public use dataset from ICPSR (here) using your preferred software (5 minutes).  The data is available in the popular programs SPSS, SAS, STATA or R.

2. Identify participants who are current users of e-cigarettes and who report having had a heart attack, then run a simple crosstabulation of the age range at which they had the heart attack and the age range at which they first used e-cigs (5 minutes).  Here are easy-to-follow programming codes for SPSS, SAS, STATA and R.* 

The resulting table will reveal that 11 of the 38 current e-cigarette users were first told that they had a heart attack years before they started using e-cigarettes.

3. Send an email to the JAHA editors, asking them to retract the article (5 minutes).  Here are their email addresses:

Barry London, Editor-in-Chief 
Daniel T. Eitzman, Deputy Editor 
Janice Weinberg, Statistical Editor

Thank you for your assistance in correcting the scientific record on e-cigarettes and heart attacks.

*You can download these programs with confidence.  I developed them with trusted colleagues.

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