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Was lernen wir aus dem Fall Scott Reuben?

Wissenschaftliches Fehlverhalten in der Anästhesiologie

What can we learn from the Scott Reuben case?

Scientific misconduct in anaesthesiology

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Zusammenfassung

Im Februar 2009 erfuhr die Öffentlichkeit, dass insgesamt 21 klinische Studien des amerikanischen Schmerzforschers Dr. S. Reuben, die über einen Zeitraum von 15 Jahren publiziert worden waren, als Fälschung identifiziert wurden. Plötzlich erschienen viele vermeintlich gesicherte Erkenntnisse der postoperativen Akutschmerztherapie als fragwürdig. In dieser Übersichtsarbeit wird dargestellt, welche Lehren Anästhesisten aus diesem Fall ziehen können. Allerdings zeigt diese Arbeit auch, dass es für den Leser – und auch den erfahrenen wissenschaftlichen Gutachter – nahezu unmöglich ist, gefälschte Studien zu erkennen. Dennoch gibt es Warnhinweise, die beim kritischen Lesen wissenschaftlicher Literatur beachtet werden sollten. Diese lassen sich auch retrospektiv in einer Vielzahl der Studien von Reuben nachweisen. Zudem wird anhand von Beispielen dargelegt, in welchem Ausmaß die Sekundärliteratur – Leitlinien, Metaanalysen, Übersichtsarbeiten und Vorträge – durch Fälschung in ihrer Aussagekraft entwertet werden kann.

Abstract

In February 2009 a major case of scientific misconduct was discovered. The American pain researcher Dr. S. Reuben had published 21 papers over a period of 15 years that were found to be fraudulent. Suddenly many advances in postoperative pain therapy which had been assumed to be correct seemed questionable. In this review article the lessons which can be learnt from this case are described. This review also reveals that it is almost impossible for reviewers or readers of scientific journals to detect scientific fraud. However, several warning signs can be identified that might be useful when reading clinical papers. In retrospect many of these signs were detectable in Reuben’s studies. Based on the fraudulent papers of Reuben it will be shown how and to what extent falsified results can affect other types of literature, such as practice guidelines, meta-analyses, review articles and oral presentations.

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Correspondence to A. Brack D.E.A.A..

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Rittner, H., Kranke, P., Schäfer, M. et al. Was lernen wir aus dem Fall Scott Reuben?. Anaesthesist 58, 1199–1209 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00101-009-1637-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00101-009-1637-6

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