Three months ago, the prestigious medical journal The Lancet published, and then later retracted, a study on the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19. The retraction was prompted by questions that were subsequently raised about the integrity of the data used for analysis from a database called Surgisphere, especially when it turned out that none of the co-authors had actually seen the Surgisphere data themselves. Now, more than ever, solid science is needed to help move through this pandemic. The Lancet’s newly-published policies are welcome, although the fact that these review mechanisms were not already in place is still surprising and disappointing.
“Editors will ensure that at least one peer reviewer is knowledgable about the details of the dataset being reported and can understand and comment on its strengths and limitations in relation to the research question being addressed. For studies that use very large datasets, editors will ensure that in addition to statistical peer review, a review from an expert in data science is obtained. Finally, we will explicitly ask reviewers if they have concerns about research integrity or publication ethics regarding the manuscript they are reviewing.”
Kara Fitzgerald, ND, received her doctor of naturopathic medicine degree from the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. She completed the first Counsel on Naturopathic Medicine-accredited post-doctorate position in nutritional biochemistry and laboratory science at Metametrix Clinical Laboratory under the direction of Richard Lord, PhD. Her residency was completed at Progressive Medical Center, a large, integrative medical practice in Atlanta, Georgia.
Dr. Fitzgerald is the lead author and editor of Case Studies in Integrative and Functional Medicine and is a contributing author to Laboratory Evaluations for Integrative and Functional Medicine and the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM)’s Textbook for Functional Medicine. With the Helfgott Research Institute, Dr. Fitzgerald is actively engaged in clinical research on the DNA methylome using a diet and lifestyle intervention developed in her practice. The first publication from the study focuses on reversal of biological aging and was published 04-12-2021 in the journal Aging. She has published a consumer book titled Younger You as well as a companion cookbook, Better Broths and Healing Tonics and has an application-based Younger You Program, based on the study.
Dr. Fitzgerald is on the faculty at IFM, is an IFM Certified Practitioner and lectures globally on functional medicine. She runs a Functional Nutrition Residency program, and maintains a podcast series, New Frontiers in Functional Medicine and an active blog on her website, www.drkarafitzgerald.com. Her clinical practice is in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.
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