In July 2018, the Integrator published a series of articles challenging a JAMA Oncology study and stunning headlines that those using complementary therapies in cancer treatment die quicker. The integrative oncology community condemned the paper – though oddly falling short of calling for retraction. (In the Integrator series, I urged retraction.) After 7 months and 193,000 downloads of this story, the JAMA Oncology finally published letters from researchers in 4 nations that led an Medscape article on the reaction to quote a scientist claiming the five letters “completely destroy(ed) the pseudoscience article.” Why is it not retracted? One wonders when the integrative oncology community will demand respect.
Not long ago researchers at Yale cast a pall over the use of complementary medicine in the care of cancer patients – a.k.a. “integrative oncology.” The negativity was based on a fundamental misclassification. Nevertheless, the wrong-headed results prompted a flurry of news accounts that suggested the users of complementary medicine “die earlier than those who didn’t.” A more expansive and deeper look at the potential values of integrative oncology can be gained via a recent Special Focus Issue on Integrative Oncology with its 6 invited reviews, 13 original research articles, 7 commentaries, and 2 editorials. The submissions came from 4 continents.
The lousy and non-collegial editorial review process that allowed JAMA Oncology to publish the erroneous data-mining article from two Yale researchers that stimulated my recent Retraction Needed? JAMA Oncology’s Bum Science Suggests People Die Faster Using Complementary Medicine continues to make waves. Many of you were interested in the topic. Here are some brief updates.
Multiple integrative oncologists question whether JAMA Oncology did the public a huge disservice in publishing the controversial data-mining, population-based research led by Skyler Johnson, MD and James Yu, MD, MHS. The study concluded that use of complementary therapies leads to shorter life spans. The New York Times was among the major media that posted the scare.