Category Archives: Allergy

So many asthma papers under fire

As an avid PubPeer reader, I found a  new  entry  by Elisabeth Bik recently about Andreas Pahl of Heidelberg Pharma who has already one retracted and several more papers under scrutiny.

Unfortunately there are now also many asthma trash papers from paper mills. Another example was identified by @gcabanac, distributed by @deevybee and published at Pubpeer.

In total there are 386 asthma entries at PubPeer. What is  really happening in this field? When I started the field there was just one misconduct case – Ranjit Kumar Chandra. That’s an increase from 1 to 386…

What makes it even more complicated that there is no border anymore to predatory journals if also respected scientists drop their names at predatory journals.  Only recently I received an email addressed to one of my former technical assistants as “professor” inviting her to send a paper…


Eine Fußnote zu Fußnoten

Schön jedenfalls die vielen juristischen und historischen Einordnungen in diesem Twitter Thread. Es fehlt dabei nur Grafton

Die Fußnote, besonders die deutsche, wird oft für den Inbegriff langweiliger Wissenschaft, für einen Geheim-Code trockener akademischer Gelehrsamkeit gehalten. Doch das heißt, sie als Tummelplatz der Leidenschaften, als Schlachtfeld intellektueller Kämpfe zu verkennen. Anthony Grafton ist es unter Einsatz von zahlreichen Fußnoten gelungen, neues Licht auf ihr Schattendasein zu werfen und ihre dramatische Bandbreite darzulegen.

und die FAZ Fußnote zu Grafton

Geisteswissenschaftler lächeln gerne über den vermeintlich naiven Objektivismus der Naturwissenschaftler. Dabei ist die Geschichte der Naturwissenschaft der geisteswissenschaftlichen Konkurrenz in der Kritik der wissenschaftlichen Denkformen weit voraus. Thomas Kuhn regte Chemiker und Physiker an, nach der Geschichte von Versuchsanordnungen und Beweisverfahren zu fragen.

Hygiene hypothesis hyperbole

Having written about the hygiene hypothesis, I missed a PNAS News feature even some years ago.

Again: The hygiene hypothesis was not born by David Strachan and well, there are more cracks of the hygiene hypothesis.

“The trouble is, as soon as you use the words ‘hygiene hypothesis,’ the word hygiene prejudges what the cause is,” says Bloomfield. To the public, “hygiene” is interpreted as personal cleanliness: washing hands, keeping food clean and fresh, sanitizing the home. However, because the hypothesis has been largely uncoupled from infections, the idea that we need to be less hygienic is wrong. Relaxing hygiene standards would not reverse the trend but only serve to increase the risks of infectious disease, says Bloomfield. The term “hygiene hypothesis” also fails to incorporate all of the other factors now linked to the increase in immunoregulatory diseases.

I expect that five years after mandating “super hygiene” during COVID-19 we can finally bury the hygiene hypothesis.

Not too bad: Citation Gecko

Just tried on a topic that I have been working on for 2 decades. It will find rather quickly the source  paper, much faster than reading through all of it. Unfortunately reviews are rated to be more influential than original data as Citation Gecko picks articles with many references.

This error does not affect the results or conclusions

Please see also an earlier comment on image duplications: While results do not change if authors are repeating images of the same object without notice, this is not providing independent evidence and  therefore affecting the conclusions.

JACI – retractions overdue

JACI is the journal with the poorest experience  that I ever encountered as an author and  as a reviewer.  The editors never adequately responded to numerous errors in an earlier paper where I sent a long letter describing all details.

And it is a nightmare – even now with more than 100 corrigenda in this journal – as the editorial office  even modified correctly submitted images.  Yes, the JACI editor published also falsified data.

Only recently I also found another strange retraction note

The Publisher regrets that this article is an accidental duplication of an article that has already been published in J Allergy Clin Immunol

while the link of this retraction note goes to which is, however, a different paper.

It seem that the journal already lost the overview…

Parental allergy history at farms

A recent paper on the bias of farming studies did not discuss a  healthy worker although this is being a reasonable explanation.

So let’s have a more detailed look here at farm parents. It is an important question if parents are also “protected” (or if some affected parents just moved away).

AFAIK there are 7 studies dealing with this question. Continue reading Parental allergy history at farms

Every morning he begins his work with hope, and every evening he ends in despair

Bertrand Russell about Ludwig Wittgenstein…

His disposition is that of an artist, intuitive and moody. He says every morning he begins his work with hope, and every evening he ends in despair.



Allergy research – waste of time?

A waste of time – has been said about other fields but applies to allergy research also when reading the review request of “Allergy” today. I have to keep the content confidential but not the comment of  AI expert Jeremy Howard

It’s a problem in science in general. Scientists need to be published which means they need to work on things that their peers are extremely familiar with and can recognize an advance in that area. So, that means that they all need to work on the same thing. The thing they work on… there’s nothing to encourage them to work on things that are practically useful so you get just a whole lot of research which is minor advances and stuff that’s been very highly studied and has no significant practical impact.

Eine Insel der Vernunft

Jens Kersten. Die dritte Revolution. Plädoyer für ein ökologisches Grundgesetz.

Für die notwendige ökologische Transformation unserer Gesellschaft genügt es jedoch nicht, neue ökologische Grundrechte zu schaffen und die Rechte der Natur anzuerkennen. Damit die ökologischen Rechte im politischen Prozess auch aktiv wahrgenommen und effektiv umgesetzt werden, ist es notwendig, auch die zweite Ebene des Grundgesetzes ökologisch auszugestalten – das Staatsorganisationsrecht. Das klingt zwar technisch, ist aber politisch von zentraler Bedeutung. Denn nur wenn das parlamentarische Regierungssystem für ökologische Rechte sensibilisiert ist, werden diese nicht schlicht in den weiten gesetzgeberischen Abwägungsspielräumen „verpuffen“.

Um die ökologische Sensibilität unseres Staatsorganisationsrechts zu erhöhen, muss zunächst die Ökologie als Staatsfundamentalnorm in Art. 20 Abs. 1 GG verankert werden: Die Bundesrepublik Deutschland ist ein demokratischer, sozialer und ökologischer Bundesstaat.[22] Damit gehört die Ökologie zur verfassungsrechtlichen DNA unserer Staatsorganisation, sodass sie die Arbeit der drei demokratischen Gewalten – Legislative, Exekutive und Judikative – bestimmt.


Real collaborations

I have taken part in so many collaborations – on institute level, on a national and on EU level. But usually these collaborations are mainly there on getting monies not in getting any real progress.

So I am very much intrigued by a project in a completely different area – sound localization in the brain – that is simply based on common interest. It includes a great description including a video, Python notebook, discussion forum and is open to everybody who wants to contribute. I wish this would have been possible also in allergy research (where not even published data of the consortium are available for reanalysis).

Why recent allergy congresses failed

Maybe allergy societies, journal editors and conference organizers never grasped the idea of unconferences

An academic conference is a traditional platform for researchers and professionals to network and learn about recent developments and trends in a particular academic field. Typically, the organizing committees and sponsors decide the main theme and sub-topics of the conference and select the presenters based on peer-reviewed papers. The selected speakers usually share their research with a large audience by means of presentations and posters. However, the most stimulating discussions generally take place over coffee breaks when attendees can interact with each other and discuss various topics, including their own research interests, in a more informal manner, while expanding their own professional networks. An emphasis on facilitating such informal/networking interactions is a central focus of “unconventional conferences”—or “unconferences.” Continue reading Why recent allergy congresses failed