NPR science correspondent and author of the new book,“Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions,” Richard Harris has shined a light on the many issues that plague the world of scientific research — and he’s exposed a dark industry secret: Many studies are actually totally worthless junk. According to Harris, thousands of breast cancer studies are totally useless because they were conducted using the wrong type of cells. Rather than using breast cancer cells, researchers had been using wrongly identified cells that were actually melanoma cancer cells — meaning thousands of papers had investigated and experimented with the wrong disease.
“It’s impossible to know how much this sloppy use of the wrong cells has set back research into breast cancer,” Harris stated. But breast cancer studies are not the only ones that are affected by this dilemma — virtually every area of scientific research is plagued by the malady of junk studies with findings that cannot be replicated. (more…)