In a little-noticed article over at The New York Times late last week, Benedict Carey noted how one of Columbia University’s premier research centers — the Kreitchman PET Center — had to halt all of its research studies because researchers were caught cutting corners. Not just once, but over and over again.
We’re not talking about flubbing up statistical data here. We’re talking about creating and administering improper, impure drugs to research participants. Drugs that may not only harm patients, but could even impact the researcher’s findings. (And researchers then wonder why it’s so hard to get research subjects…)
What is the Kreitchman PET Center? It is (or was) the nation’s leading research organization using positron emission tomography (PET) for psychiatric research. This is the cream of the crop when it comes to using PET scans in an effort to unlock the secrets of the brain to better understand it.
Worse yet, it wasn’t just a matter of researchers having lax quality control and not correcting it because they didn’t know about it — they knew about it and continued administering drugs in an unethical and unsafe manner to patients. Then they worked to cover up their behavior.
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