Bogus homeopathy data published in top journal sparks outcry, facepalms

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Enlarge / Seriously, it's enough to make researchers cry. (credit: Getty | Peter M Fisher)

Editors at a respected scientific journal are reconsidering their decision to publish a study, which claims that a homeopathic dilution of poison oak can reduce pain in rats, after online critics pointed out that the study is rife with bogus, sloppy, and low-quality data.

The study—titled “Ultra-diluted Toxicodendron pubescens attenuates pro-inflammatory cytokines and ROS-mediated neuropathic pain in rats”—was published September 10 in Scientific Reports, an open-access journal run by the Nature Publishing Group. Now, the online manuscript runs with an editor’s note at the bottom, stating:

Readers are alerted that the conclusions of this paper are subject to criticisms that are being considered by the editors. Appropriate editorial action will be taken once this matter is resolved.

The criticisms began mounting last month as independent scientists—rightly skeptical of homeopathy’s pseudoscientific principles—took a closer look at the paper.

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