Here’s a news article about a major scandal rocking the psychiatric world this month:
Want bogus data, million-dollar fraud allegations and a scientist on the lam? We give you Alain Malafosse.
The British Journal of Psychiatry has retracted a June 2013 paper by Malafosse and his colleagues on the genetics of bipolar disorder in children because Malafosse allegedly fabricated key data in the study.
The article, “Childhood maltreatment and methylation of the glucocorticoid receptor gene NR3C1 in bipolar disorder,” purported to find that people with bipolar disorder who had experienced more, and more severe, abuse early in life were more likely to show epigenetic changes.
Even more interesting, an arrest warrant has been issued for the doctor/fraudster:
The British Journal of Psychiatry has retracted a June 2013 article purporting to find a higher incidence of epigenetic changes in people with bipolar disorder who experienced traumatic abuse in early life, as Swiss authorities pursue an arrest warrant against the leader of the research team that produced the paper.
Alain Malafosse, formerly director of the genetic psychiatry unit at the University Hospitals of Geneva, is accused of embezzling Swiss government research funds and of fabricating data. An international arrest warrant issued in February by Geneva canton’s public prosecutor cited criminal complaints from the University of Geneva and its hospital network accusing Malafosse of sending 1.7 million Swiss francs (£1.1m; €1.4m, $1.8m) to an outside laboratory in Montpellier that was actually the address of a relative of his, also a doctor.
The rest is here (but you will need to pay to see it): http://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g5543
Anyhow, if you were one of those who thought that childhood trauma led to you having brain defects (as a result of having read news related to this ‘research’ in the past), you can breathe a bit easier.