Det hevder i alle fall det tyske tidsskriftet Laborjournal Online. Litt kjapp tilbakespoling: I 2005 publiserte et tysk forskningsteam en artikkel som konkluderte med at GSM-type elektromagnetiske felt var tilstrekkelig til å skade DNA. Man hadde dermed en mulig biologisk virkningsmekanisme for å hevde de skader (e.g. kreft) enkelte har hevdet for mobiltelefoner. Resultatet viste […]
Det hevder i alle fall det tyske tidsskriftet Laborjournal Online.
Litt kjapp tilbakespoling: I 2005 publiserte et tysk forskningsteam en artikkel som konkluderte med at GSM-type elektromagnetiske felt var tilstrekkelig til å skade DNA. Man hadde dermed en mulig biologisk virkningsmekanisme for å hevde de skader (e.g. kreft) enkelte har hevdet for mobiltelefoner. Resultatet viste seg å ikke være reproduserbart i en senere undersøkelse av andre, men et nyere studie av samme gruppe gjentok resultatet.
Det viste seg imidlertid å være noen små problemer:
At the beginning of April, the German research magazine Laborjournal anonymously received a manuscript written by Alexander Lerchl, a biologist from Bremen, Germany, that had been accepted by Int Arch Occup Environ Health. In the meantime, it has been published online. Lerchl, a member of the German Radiation Protection Board of the Ministry for Environment, has been investigating biological effects of electromagnetic fields for decades. Lerchl took a close look at the paper by Schwarz et al. and concludes in his paper, «The critical analysis of the data given in the figures and the tables furthermore reveal peculiar miscalculations and statistical oddities which give rise to concern about the origin of the reported data.» Among others, Lerchl was concerned about the following facts:
* The coefficients of variation (CV) of the CTF values are on average 2.9% and never exceed 5%. This, he writes, is «truly remarkable for this kind of biological experiment with a huge number of possible confounders and methodological inaccuracies, among them differences in the cells’ status and cycle, possible differences in cell culture conditions (from at least 15 independently performed experiments), differences in exposure to EMFs and UV, variations during electrophoresis and staining and, most importantly, differences in microscopic examination and manual classification.»
* Even more surprising, according to Lerchl, is the fact that the CVs are even lower at higher CTF values (exposed cells and positive controls). Here, the CVs were between 1.2 and 2.6% whereas the CVs of negative (incubator) controls and sham-exposed samples were 3.9 and 4.1%, respectively. This is especially curious since the CVs of the SAR values of the exposed cells were, according to Schwarz et al., at 26%. The CVs reported by Speit et al. were in the order of 30 to 40%.
* The inter-individual differences of the CTF values are in contrast to previous work from the same group.
* The CVs of the numbers of E cells of the sham-exposed cultures and the negative controls were more than ten times as high as the CVs of the comet tail factors. However, the high impact of E cell numbers, due to their high calibration factor, should have resulted in much higher CVs of the respective slides.
* The cross sum of average values given in Table 2 should always result in 500 since this was the number of cells being counted. In positive and negative controls, there are consistent deviations from 500 (e.g. 502.5 or 513 or 514.6).
* Schwarz et al. explain their small CVs with the high numbers (500) of cells as follows: «Due to the scoring of 500 cells, being about ten times the cells usually processed by computer-aided image analysis, standard deviations become very low.» These 500 cells, however, were only counted to get one CTF value. If 500 instead of 50 cells are counted, the average will be more precise but there is only little, if any, effect on the variations between the slides / cultures which is more influenced by variations of the SAR values. If more slides per group were counted, the standard deviation would not be necessarily lower, but again it would be more precise. Not the standard deviation but the standard error decreases with the number of independent experiments.
For å nevne noen av poengene. Resten finner du her(pdf).
Et par uker etterpå, forteller Laborjournal kom beskjeden fra rektor ved Universitetet i Wien: dataene var fabrikkert:
Von so einer Geschichte träumt jeder Wissenschaftsjournalist: Man bekommt einen Tipp, mit den Daten eines bestimmten Papers könne etwas nicht stimmen. Man geht der Sache nach und stellt fest: «In der Tat, da ist etwas faul». Man schreibt darüber, ohne allerdings – aus juristischen Gründen – Fälschungsvorwürfe zu erheben. Ein paar Wochen später kommt von höchster Stelle die Bestätigung: Jawohl die Daten waren fabriziert.
Laborjournal har noen ytterligere betraktninger, med en lett ironisk slutt. Det har forekommet (og forekommer fortsatt) forskningsfusk av ulik art med utgangspunkt i selvbeskyttende industrier. Og det kunne tenkes – slik eksponenter for strålingsfrykt hevder – at mobilprodusenter og andre bedrev dette. (Det er vanskeligere å forestille seg at de kunne være så effektive i slikt virke, men det er en annen sak.) da er det kanskje lett ironisk at:
During my inquest into this case I was told repeatedly that Alexander Lerchl is a lobbyist for the mobile phone industry. I could find no proof of this allegation. The following is, however, interesting:
The second senior author, Franz Adlkofer, is a member of the foundation board and CEO of the Verum foundation, the successor of the research board on smoking and health, which was founded by the tobacco industry association and supported by this organisation until 2001. According to Thilo Grüning (Stern interview from Dec 16, 2005) Verum supports research which «should deflect from damages by smoking and which should detect other causes for cancer» (translated). Grüning sees electromagnetic fields from mobile phones as a typical example for this kind of strategy. The non-smoker and mobile phone user Adlkofer was, between 1976 and 1992, head of the scientific department of the tobacco industry association. Spiegel (49/2005) wrote: «Franz Adlkofer, organiser of German tobacco research, assured his colleagues in the USA that one study about the role of nicotine as a cause for cancer would be ‘hidden’ and another study would ‘definitively not be published'» (translated). Franz Adlkofer told Laborjournal, he is not at all on the side of the tobacco industry but on his own side. He supported Schwarz et al. verbally and financially. He was also involved in the data analysis. He fully supports the reply by his co-author Rüdiger, although he would have used even stronger words. The discrepancy between Lerchl’s aggressivity and his arguments, Adlkofer says, is incomprehensible.
Who is actually being paid by industry?
Jo, det ville være lettere ironisk.
Et godt sted å starte for å lese det meste av denne historien er herfra.
(Takk til ama (Aribert?) for tips.)