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Scientist leaves UPenn in disgrace over claims he FAKED traumatic brain injury research which saw piglets 'tortured' with drills: Medical journals were forced to retract five studies that 'could not be substantiated'

ACTION ALERT:

Contact:

Alexander Runko, Ph.D.
Division of Investigative Oversight
Office of Research Integrity
Via email: [email protected] [email protected]

Dr. Runko,

Fraudulent research must not be tolerated. You must convict William Armstead, formerly of the University of Pennsylvania, of Research Misconduct for the five fraudulent publications, which were retracted because "it was discovered that the data in the article could not be substantiated by the source data.

This is not anything that even roughly resembles science; it is nothing but fraud. Armstead must be convicted of Research Misconduct, and he must receive the maximum penalty.

 

Scientist leaves UPenn in disgrace over claims he FAKED traumatic brain injury research which saw piglets 'tortured' with drills: Medical journals were forced to retract five studies that 'could not be substantiated'

From Keith Griffith, DailyMail.co.uk, September 7, 2022

A research professor has departed the University of Pennsylvania under a cloud after five of his studies involving inflicting traumatic brain injuries on young pigs were retracted due to 'substantive questions' about the validity of their findings.

William M. Armstead 'is no longer a faculty member at Penn, has closed his lab and ended his animal research activities' the university told the Philadelphia Inquirer in a statement on Tuesday.

It follows a mounting controversy and a reported federal investigation into Armstead's research, which involved drilling into the skulls of juvenile pigs and striking their brains with fluid-filled pistons to study their injuries and test various treatments.

The scandal boiled over last month when the medical journal Pediatric Research issued a retraction for one of Armstead's articles from 2017, the fifth such retraction related to his brain injury research.

The retraction notice for the article states: 'The author has retracted this article. After publication, it was discovered that the data in the article could not be substantiated by the source data.

Also retracted in recent months were one article in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine and three in the Journal of Neurotrauma.

All five retracted articles were originally published between 2016 and 2019, and some had been cited repeatedly by other researchers.

The retraction notices specify that the articles were retracted at Armstead's request, but note the lack of details provided by the author about the potential issues with the research.

Typical is a notice from the Journal of Neurotrauma, which states that Armstead asked for a full retraction because 'substantive questions have arisen regarding the findings, presentation and conclusions reported in the paper that could not be answered with available source data.'

The journal's editors added that they had contacted Armstead three times for additional information about the problems with his study, but received no response.

Armstead and a UPenn spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment from DailyMail.com on Tuesday night.

UPenn told the Inquirer in a statement: 'When a journal made us aware of inconsistencies in data submitted by Dr. Armstead, we evaluated the concerns in accordance with our process and reported our findings to all appropriate agencies.'

'Dr. Armstead is no longer a faculty member at Penn, has closed his lab and ended his animal research activities,' the statement added.

It's unclear when Armstead departed UPenn. As of June, the school's website said he 'may no longer be affiliated' with the university's Perelman School of Medicine.

The university website currently lists him as 'retired'.

Following the retraction of Armstead's latest study, which was funded in part by federal grants, the federal Office of Research Integrity (ORI) opened a probe into potential research misconduct, according to The Guardian.

Such reviews can cover a range of misconduct, including cases of plagiarism, falsification or outright fabrication in carrying out research.

The scientific watchdog publication Retraction Watch helped draw attention to the wave of retractions of Armstead's research.

'Subjecting baby pigs to brain damage (before killing them) may have some justification in research, if subjected to the right oversight,' the outlet noted in its latest article.

'Having to scrap the project because someone decided that fabricating the data was a good idea seems far less justifiable,' it added.

The animal rights group Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) has also repeatedly and publicly called for a federal investigation into the matter.

According to the group, the National Institutes of Health-funded at least some of Armstead's experiments on piglets with nearly $2 million in grant money.

SAEN described Armstead's research as 'gruesome, multimillion-dollar tax-funded experiments'.

It said that the research had 'inflicted traumatic head injuries on dozens of newborn piglets.'

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