A scientist's fraudulent studies put patients at risk

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Science  26 Oct 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6413, pp. 394
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6413.394-a

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In biomedical science, most papers that lead to retractions don't threaten anyone's life. But a troubling exception arose after investigators found fabrication and other misconduct in nearly 100 papers co-authored by German anesthesiologist Joachim Boldt. Many of those studies supported the effectiveness of intravenous solutions containing hydroxyethyl starch, or hetastarch, to stabilize the blood pressure of patients during and after surgery or trauma. U.K. medical societies relied on four of Boldt's papers in issuing guidelines about the treatments; many patients may have been put at risk by his findings. A meta-analysis that excluded them found that such fluids posed modest but statistically significantly greater risks of kidney damage and death.