A study just published in Circulation, flagship journal of the American Heart Association (AHA) has been flagged with an Expression of Concern, reports Retraction Watch.
The study, mRNA COVID vaccines dramatically increase endothelial inflammatory markers and ACS risk as measured by the PULS cardiac test: a warning, was presented at the AHA’s 2021 Scientific Sessions in mid-November.
The author was Steven Gundry, a cardiac surgeon by training who now sells dietary supplements on his website. Gundry also sees patients at the Center for Restorative Medicine and International Heart & Lung Institute in California and offers advice on YouTube.
After an outcry, Circulation flagged the published poster with the following notice:
Soon after publication of the above abstract in Circulation, it was brought to the American Heart Association Committee on Scientific Sessions Programʼs attention that there are potential errors in the abstract. Specifically, there are several typographical errors, there is no data in the abstract regarding myocardial T-cell infiltration, there are no statistical analyses for significance provided, and the author is not clear that only anecdotal data was used.
We are publishing this Expression of Concern until a suitable correction is published to indicate that the abstract in its current version may not be reliable.
When Retraction Watch asked Circulation how the “slipshod work made it past reviewers in the first place,” it was told by Michelle Kirkwood, an AHA spokesperson, that: “Abstracts are considered preliminary research and represent the beginning of a scientific conversation on the findings, which may then, ultimately, result in a full manuscript published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. … The Association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability.”
Retraction Watch writes that it has now received a follow-up email from Kirkwood indicating that the society is reconsidering how it fulfills its role as gatekeeper.
“The standard of practice for developing abstract programming for any scientific meeting is one intended to prompt scientific discourse, not to evaluate scientific validity. The submitting researcher(s) must always attest to the validity of the abstract. Abstracts are then curated by independent review panels – blinded to the identities of the abstract authors – and are considered based on the potential to add to the diversity of scientific issues and views discussed at the meeting. The Association never makes any representation or guarantees as to the accuracy or reliability of abstracts. Statements and conclusions are always solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the Associationʼs institutional policy or position.
“The Expression of Concern about the abstract will remain in place until a correction is accepted and published. The Association is currently reviewing its existing abstract submission processes in its ongoing efforts to ensure a robust, inclusive scientific exchange focused on novel ideas to improve patient outcomes and ultimately end heart disease and stroke.
“The Association regrets any confusion regarding the Associationʼs position on COVID-19 vaccines, especially among the lay public who may be unfamiliar with scientific meetings. The American Heart Association itself has been unequivocal in its belief in and support of vaccination as the best available public health strategy to address the pandemic. The American Heart Association continues to fully support the CDCʼs COVID-19 vaccination recommendations.”
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