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List of archives

Fraudulent Trials in Systematic Reviews – A Major Public Health Problem

"Now I'm seriously skeptical about all the systematic reviews I've ever done".[1]

This is horrifying, but also speaks directly to our mission to reflect "accepted knowledge". If systematic reviewers are skeptical of their reviews, where does that leave us, who regularly look to such reviews as the gold standard? Alexbrn (talk) 08:25, 13 July 2021 (UTC)

Shocking! - Thanks for posting, I hope everyone takes/makes the time to watch this. CV9933 (talk) 10:14, 13 July 2021 (UTC)
It's more than an hour long. Maybe someone could post an outline of the key points? WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:24, 13 July 2021 (UTC)
Background listening. Some points:
Systematic review editors trust papers are not fraudulent, outsourcing verification to journal editors who do not do due diligence.
Fraudulent research exists and has got into systematic reviews and influenced medical policy. The example of a revoked NHS guideline is given, and one of the speakers who wrote systematic reviews, gives examples of having discovered fraud in a paper he wrote.
Editors are non-responsive at times and not doing due diligent to prevent this. Speakers give example of nonresponse and "losing" data when requests are written
Some suggestions are made. Anonymized data should be recorded and available, a reputation economy where journals and individuals are ignored if fraudulant papers are written.
Examples are given where there are "open secrets" that work is fraudulent, but this does not show up in literature or retractions.
Some speakers cite fear of litigation as a reason that fraudulent work is not challenged. Talpedia (talk) 18:24, 13 July 2021 (UTC)
Interesting stuff. They are kind of asserting that more than 1% of papers results are fraudulent... I'm not sure I believe this. I think there's a bit of conflation of "bad methodolgy" with "fraud" going on at times. This issues affects *all* academic publication - it's just these people are helpful trying to solve it for systematic reviews, to avoid propagating the errors in reviews.
I think there's a bit of "don't go in the sausage factory" going on here - insofar as the results presented by systematic reviews may still be "mostly alright".
This reminds me of the "Bad Science" stuff that Ben Goldacre has been going on about forever.
A few thoughts come to mind here: the idea that there might be knowledge of "good paper/ bad paper" the floats around the scientific community, but is hidden from other people. I wonder how wikipedia could get access to this, and note that it is a recipe for bias. I note that the "completeness" of systematic reviews ties editors hands here - historically they might just "magically" decide to omit bad papers for unknown reasons. I guess they might still be able to magically say "bad methodology". Books and more theoretical works might avoid some of the problems of systematic review, since they represent the views of authors more than reviews.
I find the fear of litigation particularly interesting... Talpedia (talk) 14:41, 13 July 2021 (UTC)
I watched the first 50 minutes at 1.5x speed. I agree it is shocking. It sounds like there is a real problem with fraudulent research and most journals making no effort whatsoever to detect it or to investigate for themselves, and not responding professionally to anyone questioning things. Even basics of phoning up the lead author's institution and asking whether or not they actually work there and whether they did such-and-such a trial. Data can be relatively easily statistically analysed for fabrication -- surely that could be outsourced to some team at low cost. One presenter suggested a checklist of things to look out for. I read "The Checklist Manifesto" recently and would agree that is a good idea. -- Colin°Talk 17:27, 13 July 2021 (UTC)
Someone posted this paper a while ago:
Else, Holly; Van Noorden, Richard (2021-03-25). "The fight against fake-paper factories that churn out sham science". Nature. 591 (7851): 516–519. doi:10.1038/d41586-021-00733-5. ISSN 0028-0836.
and I suppose this is the obvious consequence: if fraudulent papers get published, then the fraudulent results will make their way into systematic reviews. The systems might be resilient enough to cope with a small amount of fraud, but eventually, it could take over the system. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:22, 13 July 2021 (UTC)
One of the speakers on the video said clinical guidelines had been updated to give advice that actually harmed patients. There doesn't appear to be any "resilience" at all. Rather than being able to "trust" the results of a systematic review, the whole system is actually built on assumed trust in the good indentions and competence of those conducting the trials. The process for systematic review totally assumes the data is right but merely insufficient on its own. That amassing enough of the right kind of data can be analysed to generate a statistical confidence in the result. But if the data is wrong (fictitious or manipulated) then it completely breaks down. The whole idea of a systematic review is that one has to collect all the data that matches the defined algorithm, to avoid bias. That idea is broken, though I don't know to what degree. We might actually be at a stage in some fields where a review that cherry picks studies from institutions and researchers one personally trusts and knows, is a safer approach.
On the other hand, one speaker cautioned that companies that wish to destroy research that goes against their commercial interests (nutrition, tobacco, global warming, etc) already put considerable effort in questioning the papers they don't like. So efforts to improve the checks and requirements needed to publish will get exploited.
That people will try to publish invented or fraudulent papers is not surprising: scientists are as human as anyone else. The number of fraudulent texts and phone calls I get, and the rise of ransomware attacks, are testament that there is no shortage of people who lack a moral compass. What is surprising is that journal editors and peer reviewers appear to lack the inclination or ability to perform basic checks. -- Colin°Talk 11:48, 14 July 2021 (UTC)
Doing effective in-depth anti-fraud reviews for a couple dozen papers every month would probably be expensive. Some would be easy to catch, but you'd have to do the full investigation on all of the good papers (and hope that a genuine, natural "data anomaly" isn't mistaken for fraud).
(Was the harmful clinical guideline example about the PACE trial by any chance? My impression of that was that there was no fraud involved, just poor methodology and disputed definitions of what's "actually" ME/CFS.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:24, 14 July 2021 (UTC)
No, nothing like PACE - this is in a different ballpark, starting with Mannitol for head injuries. If you're just going to watch a few minutes (and it's worth it), start at 4 minutes in. Alexbrn (talk) 17:36, 14 July 2021 (UTC)
Blind faith in reviews has never been a good thing. However it is cultivated even in some areas here. If you ever scrutinized the flood of reviews by Brian Morris fanatically advocating circumcision you would throw out most of them. What we need is a critical attitude towards all reviews. --Saidmann (talk) 18:13, 14 July 2021 (UTC)
Well, this is the flip side as covered in the presentation: advocates with an agenda (like this editor) invoking research fraud to challenge research that doesn't serve their purposes. Fortunately the circumcision topic, as well as being comparatively trivial, has a very wide and mixed research base and a plethora of reviews. Alexbrn (talk) 19:02, 14 July 2021 (UTC)
WhatamIdoing, it doesn't appear that an "in-depth anti-fraud review" is even approaching the level of sophistication needed to catch the cheats. A straightforward ID check on the lead author would be a start. There are organisations that do that sort of thing all the time as part of employee recruitment processing, so I'm sure that could be built into the process. They had an author of many papers who claimed to work at an institution that was just some PO box and not somewhere patients were treated, and the hospital that supposedly ran the trial had never heard of him nor the trial. And then there were the additional authors on the paper who didn't actually know they were authors on the paper till it got published. So those are some very cheap and quick checks.
Secondly, the data itself was obviously corrupt. I'm no statistics expert but the same rules that the tax authorities use to spot people fiddling the books can be used to spot invented data. I think this is elementary stuff that could be outsourced, as everything is these days, to somewhere that labour is cheap.
Then with the trials themselves, they got cases where the numbers recruited and the numbers appearing in various tables didn't add up. And that surely is part of any peer review. And trials where you'd expect a certain degree of mortality or drop outs but where the numbers were suspiciously abnormal. A checklist would ask reviewers to confirm those things. It really does actually make one wonder what the peer review process is checking at all.
I agree with Alex - skip the into speaker and watch it at 1.5x.-- Colin°Talk 09:02, 15 July 2021 (UTC)

Ideological contributions to articles on sex and gender, including intersex/DSD articles

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A small number of editors are making radical changes to a range of articles, including articles within the scope of this project, aligned with views that presuppose that gamete size is the sole determinant of sex. Sex determination is far more complex in cases of intersex/DSD. Changes relevant to this project have been made to intersex, disorders of sex development, 5α-Reductase deficiency‎ and true hermaphroditism. Changes made in other associated pages include hermaphrodite, gynandromorphism, sex, sex and gender distinction, sex differences in humans, and also LGBT-focused pages such as non-binary gender and queer. The modus operandi appears to impose a narrow view of sex determination as uncontested and incontestable, remove all content on social, cultural or human rights aspects, and add material on gender and LGBT issues to make them as contestable and even be perceived as ridiculous as possible (such as an attempt to add 'xenogender' to non-binary gender.

These changes are associated with narrow views about medicine and the diverse global settings where people with relevant traits - and Wikipedia readers - live. For example, recent changes to 5α-Reductase deficiency‎ have been justified on the talk page by an assertion that all infants go through sex chromosome testing that can identify whether or not that infant has the trait. That editor has just proposed a RfC on this little-watched talk page.

I would very much appreciate a wider range of eyes on these articles. Thank you. Trankuility (talk) 00:59, 14 July 2021 (UTC)

That RfC is somewhat confusing. XOR'easter (talk) 01:09, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
The RFC is at Talk:5α-Reductase deficiency#RfC about sex specificity of 5α-Reductase deficiency. It may get re-written/re-started, but if you go into it with the general idea that we're trying to decide whether the article should say something like "5α-Reductase deficiency can result in males having female genitalia at birth" or "5α-Reductase deficiency can result in genetic males having female genitalia at birth", and you actually look for MEDRS sources to see what kind of language they use, then we might still be able to get somewhere with the current question. However, it might prove more effective to shut it down and start over to run as a clear-cut vote, so if you do (please do!) comment, please check back in a few days to see if you need to repeat your comments.
Also, the sourcing in the article is lousy – stuff from the previous century, case reports from developing-world journals, etc. It'd be a real service to the world if anyone found a decent source and did a quick update. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:02, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
What's the status of "Endotext" [2] vis-à-vis MEDRS? Also, I found this from Application of Clinical Genetics, which is a Dove Medical Press journal; it looks like they were iffy in the past, but the review in question is more recent than the troubles. XOR'easter (talk) 05:21, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
@XOR'easter, sorry that we didn't reply earlier. Endotext is probably okay. Dove Medical Press is ...maybe okay. In particular, since we're talking about a rare disease, it's really important to be practical about sources. You're not going to get a handful of review articles in top-tier journals for every rare disease (there are about 7,000 of them) every year. The hope is that articles will present mainstream views, and a reasonably complete (if sometimes vague or hedged) overview, even if that means citing a less-than-ideal source. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:26, 24 July 2021 (UTC)
Update: The RFC was re-written, but not with the question that had been discussed. I have started a Talk:5α-Reductase deficiency#Straw poll. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:19, 25 July 2021 (UTC)

Sex determination is far more complex in cases of intersex/DSD. Changes relevant to this project have been made to intersex, disorders of sex development, 5α-Reductase deficiency‎ and true hermaphroditism. you have no idea how complex it can get. There are species with ZW sex determination and some species don’t even have sex chromosomes.

The modus operandi appears to impose a narrow view of sex determination as uncontested and incontestable, remove all content on social, cultural or human rights aspects, and add material on gender and LGBT issues to make them as contestable and even be perceived as ridiculous as possible (such as an attempt to add 'xenogender' to non-binary gender.

Just to make things clear Wikipedia is not a place to advocate a particular view. Please read on WP:ADVOCACY. Look here on Wikipedia fringe views are looked down upon in general. If a certain view by an group is considered fringe to the scientific community then we shouldn’t include it all. I mean we don’t include fringe views from religious groups in articles about religion so it makes no sense for us to give fringe views by certain groups special treatment.

These changes are associated with narrow views about medicine and the diverse global settings where people with relevant traits - and Wikipedia readers - live. Sure views regarding topics like this are indeed broad but, one view is clearly more reliable than the other.CycoMa (talk) 05:59, 15 July 2021 (UTC)

Per WP:FRINGE, we do write about views and groups that the scientific community considers fringe, if reliable sources indicate that those views or groups are significant and provide us with details we can use to write about them. Fundamentally, it's not the views that we ask to be "reliable", but the sources which document those views. Fringe religious beliefs get their mentions at Noah's Ark, and we have multiple articles on different types of creationism. We simply try to find the best sources available for each aspect of a topic. If the aspect is something that needs to be investigated in a lab, WP:MEDRS guides us on how to find and evaluate sources; for other aspects, we might turn to WP:SCHOLARSHIP, for example. XOR'easter (talk) 06:30, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
Okay but should we treat views from activists groups the same way we treat views from the scientific community?CycoMa (talk) 06:46, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
"The same"? No. "Appropriately?" Yes, absolutely. There was a proposal (years ago now) to elevate the scientific viewpoint above all others, and it was rejected. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:04, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
And of course, depending on the topic, "activist groups" and "the scientific community" might not diverge so much. Activists can be up-to-date on the science, while those defending the status quo might be a generation or two behind, or have a habit of passing off the oversimplifications taught to schoolchildren as the final word. Furthermore, neither side of that supposed dichotomy is actually monolithic. Geneticists who work with Petri dishes might hold on to terminology that pediatric endocrinologists have learned to move beyond. XOR'easter (talk) 17:15, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
Or you will find different perspectives. A scientist might see severe congenital deafness as a disease, and a Deaf person might see it as a difference that confers advantages. The scientist's view should generally be preferred for describing objective/physical situations, but a scientist has no advantage over anyone else when it comes to interpreting it as "good" or "bad" or how facts relate to various human values. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:49, 15 July 2021 (UTC)

Well here’s the thing tho, sometimes activists groups may have information that’s problematic. For example many intersex articles cited the study that claimed 1.7% of people are intersex. However, I and other found a good amount of reliable sources that pointed out why this statistic was problematic. Like the biggest problem with that 1.7% statistic was that it included LOCAH as intersex however, individuals with this condition have phenotypes that clearly match up with their sex chromosomes and don’t have ambiguous genitalia. Not to many of the conditions Anne Fausto Sterling labeled as intersex were never once considered intersex from a medical perspective.CycoMa (talk) 17:54, 15 July 2021 (UTC)

Scientists, too, may have "information that's problematic". (Just browse Retraction Watch if you want a visceral sense of that.) And when it comes to definitions, things get truly slippery. Anne Fausto-Sterling and coauthors published a peer-reviewed article in a scientific journal laying out a specific definition of "intersex", adding up the percentages while noting how they depend upon the inclusion criteria, and noting that not all conditions "usually call for surgical intervention". They also observe that earlier estimates that intersexual births might run as high as 4% are unwarranted, except in populations in which a particular genetic condition occurs with high frequency. That's all just part of the scientific process: propose a hypothesis or a definition and see what follows. The revision of diagnostic criteria and of the classification of conditions is likewise part of the medical-scientific process. Why shouldn't Klinefelter syndrome, Turner syndrome, and late onset congenital adrenal hyperplasia fall under the general DSD rubric? (After all, they treat Kleinfelter and Turner with hormone replacement therapy, and T blockers are one of the medications for LOCAH.) It's not an easy judgment call to make in either direction. You have all the problems of deciding what counts as a species or as a planet, with the added difficulty that the goal is to provide the best standard of care to actual patients. Activists are, of course, entitled to quote the higher percentages, particularly if they see themselves as representing all those stigmatized by sex/gender abnormality, rather than being an exclusive club for carriers of a specific mutation. Intersex Human Rights Australia takes this line, for example, with substantial and interesting caveats for all their numbers. XOR'easter (talk) 18:52, 15 July 2021 (UTC)
That's fair, I guess that's how the scientific method works. We have scholars debating with each until a consensus emerges.CycoMa (talk) 20:21, 16 July 2021 (UTC)

Getting some eyes on Sensory integration therapy

I came across our article on Sensory integration therapy and noticed it needs a lot of work. It appears overly promotional of the therapy and doesn't provide appropriate context, such as the lack of evidence that supports the therapy. Brief searches online have uncovered this highly cited systematic review from 2012 [3] which says that SIT is not evidence-based. I'm hoping someone with better expertise at writing articles and who is more knowledgeable about this kind of topic would be able to adjust this article to better reflect SIT's status. Chess (talk) (please use {{reply to|Chess}} on reply) 06:44, 16 July 2021 (UTC)

It looks like this might benefit from a little more focus on what it is. There's almost nothing in the article that gives you a sense of what this therapy looks like: whole-body movement (swings, rocking chairs, spinning), scented objects, textured toys, etc.
If someone's interested in the subject, it might be faster to ignore what's there and re-write from scratch. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:45, 17 July 2021 (UTC)

Research fraud - addendum on ivermectin

On the various ivermectin pages a number of med editors have (with some difficulty) been holding the line to exclude numerous recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses showing ivermectin's benefit for COVID. This could be done, apparently flying in the face of MEDRS, because there were documented published concerns about the underlying data and because all the major health organizations were saying, effectively, "not enough evidence".

Now this ("the most consequential medical fraud ever committed"?) whereby it seems that one piece of obviously suspect research has been in large part responsible for a hefty portion of the world's population being treated for with an apparently ineffective drug, sometimes in lieu of vaccination.

I'm not sure where this all leaves us/MEDRS, or if anything has changed. I am increasingly wondering whether any bold claims of medical benefit (or harm) should always be treated as WP:EXCEPTIONAL when it comes to sourcing. Alexbrn (talk) 08:22, 16 July 2021 (UTC)

Thank you, I am holding the line in de-Wiki and used that information there.
This is similar to Vitamin D, we should only rely on high-quality sources (Cochrane, NIH, NICE,...). --Julius Senegal (talk) 09:34, 16 July 2021 (UTC)
There's a good article in today's Guardian about this, which links to this article by the medical student they spoke to. As we discussed above wrt meta analysis, it demonstrates a broken system unable to detect and reject fraud. The student says "Thousands of highly educated scientists, doctors, pharmacists, and at least four major medicines regulators missed a fraud so apparent that it might as well have come with a flashing neon sign". The fraud outlined doesn't require fancy maths and algorithms to detect. A basic checklist would spot many of these. -- Colin°Talk 11:07, 16 July 2021 (UTC)
Fwiw (very much just just a imho impression :), actually I suspect overreliance on checklists could sometimes actually be part of the problem; if individuals are being required exclusively to apply standardized checklists to screen studies and extract data (in a quasi-algorithmic manner), it's not hard to envisage how even quite striking tell-tale detail may be slipping through the net. (talk) 17:20, 18 July 2021 (UTC)
I suspect we are both speculating, but you may be right that they could give a false sense of security. I wonder though, that if there are checklists, then the are built with the assumption that the scientists submitting papers are decent chaps and not Bernie Madoff wannabes. I haven't seen any comment that the fraud was hard to detect. -- Colin°Talk 20:21, 18 July 2021 (UTC)

Feedback needed on Costochondritis

Hello Wikipedians, I'm a new editor trying to improve an article that need TLC and a bold human. I've been working on costochondritis.

  • I am nervous about the lead section, I tried to update it to reflect everything else based on what's under the <--> things but it feels empty and naked now.
  • The last two paragraphs in the causes section I did not edit. They're primary sources, and I can't really find this information in the recent resources I have.
  • Tried my best to wrap my brain around pathogenesis, as many articles are saying this and that regarding the etiology, causes, pathogenesis, and pathophysiology of costochondritis. It was all mixed up/jumbled and it made me more confused.
  • The diagnoses was basically a list before, I expanded on it A LOT. The image in the section doesn't quite make sense to me because it's mostly muscle related. Does anyone know of any better images that could be used?
  • The treatment section had a lot of the Mayo Clinic cited. I put all these things that I couldn't find elsewhere in recent reviews at the end with the original citation. I was unsure if it should stay or be removed.
  • There are 3 links at the end in external links to Mayo Clinic, MedicineNet, and Patient.Info. I don't know if these are appropriate to keep in the article?
  • The article definitely needs some people to review it, making sure everything is grammatically correct and all.
  • Additionally, the article is rated as Start-class. Can it be re-rated after the improvements I made, and how do I go about getting it done?

This is the first article I have decided to be bold on. I made a talk section on the page to discuss things if anyone has/had any concerns. Thank you. :) Jebbles (talk) 16:44, 19 July 2021 (UTC)

very well done (as to your last point...Wikipedia:Content assessment and as to the 'cause' section this review... Sakran, Waheeb; Bisharat, Naiel (September 2011). "Primary chest wall abscess caused by Escherichia coli costochondritis". The American Journal of the Medical Sciences. 342 (3): 241–246. doi:10.1097/MAJ.0b013e31821bc1b0. ISSN 1538-2990. Retrieved 19 July 2021....though a little old may help)--Ozzie10aaaa (talk) 22:48, 19 July 2021 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply! I believe that one is cited already, but I worry about it because the way they talk about costochondritis, to me it seems like they might have got Tietze and costochondritis confused? Which is pretty common in research, especially older ones. So I'm very iffy on it. I made some other improvements to the article for the time being, hopefully maybe someone with more experience would want to contribute and improve the gaps in the areas I wasn't able to improve on. Jebbles (talk) 17:19, 20 July 2021 (UTC)

Transgenerational trauma

Also called "inherited trauma". This article needs to be cleared of a lot of non-MEDRS sources, and then rewritten using MEDRS if they exist. Sunrise (talk) 21:33, 19 July 2021 (UTC)

Since this isn't necessarily a biological process, I wouldn't expect too many classic MEDRS-style sources to exist. This is more like "if the previous generation of your community survived the Holocaust/forced assimilation of indigenous people/chattel slavery/etc., things aren't going to be normal for you, either". Compare the current contents against what the article said five years ago. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:26, 20 July 2021 (UTC)
Most of the article is still making direct statements about medical conditions, and if we don't have the necessary sources then the associated content needs to be removed. There are even sections with the specific titles "Symptoms", "Affected groups", "Transmission", and "Treatment". I think you may be interpreting the term "trauma" metaphorically? But even if the "transmission" is not biological, the effects being discussed definitely are, and besides the way that people get specific conditions requires MEDRS sourcing regardless. Sunrise (talk) 15:03, 20 July 2021 (UTC)
It may not be quite metaphorical, since Complex post-traumatic stress disorder is a possibility for individuals in any of the generations. But it's a sort of group diagnosis, which isn't the DSM's view of the world.
I think the people who added all this stuff about epigenetics were actually looking for Epigenetics of anxiety and stress–related disorders. For this subject, it's enough that you grew up in a community deeply traumatized by a past event, to the point that it affected their everyday behaviors. Think "it's hard to have a normal relationship to food, or broader society, if your parents and grandparents were nearly starved to death by that same broader society", rather than "if a pregnant woman experiences severe stress, that might affect the baby's DNA". WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:54, 20 July 2021 (UTC)

Multiple sclerosis

... is getting hit by edits that don't reflect knowledge of Wikipedia policies and guidelines; more eyes would be useful. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:17, 20 July 2021 (UTC)

Years in science

Just came across this, the latest in a series of "year in science" articles, which list "significant scientific events". The thing is, looking at the medical listings there is a lot of terrible sourcing for biomedical assertions: lay press, primary sources and even preprints. So Wikipedia says for example

A large trial of semaglutide, a drug already used for type 2 diabetes, shows that it can also offer a 15% reduction in body weight, more than any other obesity drug on the market so far.

Sourced to the RCT (which reports an "association") and Live Science.

Is this a concern? Alexbrn (talk) 14:41, 20 July 2021 (UTC)

Yes, it's a concern. I removed that particular assertion since it's not exactly news (I can personally recall a specific instance of weight loss being used as a selling point for semaglutide back in 2018) and the sourcing is poor. TompaDompa (talk) 16:55, 20 July 2021 (UTC)

When is something a review or lit survey, hence secondary?

I was just wondering if the terms literature review or survey which are characteristic of certain types of published papers which can then be used as WP:SECONDARY sources in Wikipedia articles, are well-defined terms or not?

Consider the article Cultural Components of Sex Differences in Color Preference in Child Development by J. Davis, et al. (This question arises in the context of my searching for more secondary sources for the WP article Gendered associations of pink and blue, which has a lot of primary sources in the #Academic research section.) The journal article starts out with a long intro, summarizing and linking dozens of other studies, and anecdotally commenting on their conclusions, and drawing some groups of opinion out of the collection. But about 1/3 of the way down, the article switches gears to describing the study which was carried out by the authors, involving disparate populations in Peru, Congo, Vanuatu, and Australia; the rest of the article is similar to any published study, and clearly WP:PRIMARY in the Wikipedia sense.

But what about that long intro, listing and evaluating all those other studies? Does that make it a "survey" thus WP:SECONDARY as well, and thereofre a better choice for inclusion in Gendered associations of pink and blue than some of the PRIMARY studies already cited there? What qualifies an article as a "survey" or a "literature review"? Is it the absence of any primary study results by the author(s) being reported, and sole attention on other studies, accompanied by an attempt to standardize the disparate data so they can be reanalyzed collectively as a whole? Thanks, (please {{reply to}} on reply; thanks!) Mathglot (talk) 03:02, 21 July 2021 (UTC)

@Mathglot, you won't be surprised to hear that this has come up before. The general conclusion is that this is, indeed, technically secondary content. However, it's usually secondary content that's being selected to prove a particular point. That point, and the selected content, might be perfectly fair (many times it really is), but there is a risk that it's not. Consequently, while that section is technically SECONDARY, if you rely on it, the end result might not be DUE.
Having said that, if that's one of the best sources you can find, then "better" is better than "worse", and we do not want to make perfect be the enemy of the good. If you're using the best sources you can find (more recent, more scholarly, more secondary, more independent, etc.), and you're being careful about how you use them, then that might be the best approach to that rather narrow and culture-dependent subject. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:34, 21 July 2021 (UTC)
Pierre-Auguste Renoir's son Jean sewing (1900)
@WhatamIdoing:, thanks for the nuanced response. I couldn't help thinking, while reading Davis et al., what went into their choice of narrative, and how they were evaluating results of other researchers' studies, and whether there was cherrypicking going on (or cherry-evaluating?). In the Gendered associations of pink and blue article, I think we're exactly in the situation you describe: we have very little in the way of recent secondary reviews, so we may have to gingerly use some of this one qua secondary, and hope for the best, till something more solid comes along. For this article, the Jo Paoletti book is widely respected, afaict, but it dates to 2012 and a lot has happened since then; but I am also interested in the generalized question, which I think you've addressed as well, so thank you for that. If others want to chime in with their ideas or experiences, I'm all ears. Mathglot (talk) 04:43, 21 July 2021 (UTC)
I haven't taken a look at the article at all. With that caveat, I expect that (if you haven't already) it would be useful to look for sources about non-Anglophone/non-Western/non-Christian countries (non-Christian because Marian blue had gendered connotations in Europe). If you grew up with "pink is for girls", then it might be surprising to discover that most of the world didn't follow that model. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:00, 21 July 2021 (UTC)
Not surprised. Also, it already has some (non-western Christian), and should have some more, but has to follow the studies that are out there. Mathglot (talk) 08:02, 22 July 2021 (UTC)
Mathglot, do you remember the "research" back in 2007 that claimed women evolved to identify and love pink cause they were out looking for berries or needed to best determine skin flushing as a social signal. Covered by The Guardian, New Scientist, BBC News and Scientific American among many others. The original paper is here. Those were the days when The Guardian's own science journalists lived in fear of being thoroughly mocked by Ben Goldacre, and sure enough he lets rip. -- Colin°Talk 08:41, 22 July 2021 (UTC)
I've been thinking about precisely this question for a while, thanks for asking it. In some fields, it seems to the the case that you don't have reviews and paper introductions are picking up the slack (I'm thinking about the machine learning field here).
The other thing I was thinking about at the same time as thinking about this was large epidemiological studies and whether these actually show up in reviews and whether they constitute a different kind of paper Talpedia (talk) 09:12, 22 July 2021 (UTC)

Lung cancer on the Main Page

@Gog the Mild says that Lung cancer will appear on the Main Page on 4 August 2021: Wikipedia talk:Featured article candidates/Lung cancer#TFA blurb review

If you'll be around then, please put the article on your watchlist. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:16, 6 July 2021 (UTC)

Have watched. I note that this is a 2007 promotion not reviewed since that isn't marked satisfactory at WP:URFA/2020 and which Sandy's sand[y]box thinks needs further review. Can someone more adept with cancer than me take a look through? (Been some recent discussion on my talk about out-of-shape cancer FAs.) Vaticidalprophet 07:42, 7 July 2021 (UTC)
Unfortunately, none of the main editors, especially User:Axl, have edited the article very recently. It doesn't seem in tooo bad shape though. Johnbod (talk) 12:31, 7 July 2021 (UTC)
It looks like there are about five sources from the 1990s, one that claims to be from 1980 but isn't (because it's a webpage, and the World Wide Web didn't exist in 1980), and a lot from 2006 and 2007. Some updating would help. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:25, 7 July 2021 (UTC)
The Doll British Doctors' Survey ref should remain. Johnbod (talk) 13:17, 8 July 2021 (UTC)
I have been rather busy so I haven't made time to edit/review "Lung cancer" recently. Some historical context: I undertook a major revision to the article in 2010. This was after a change in Wikipedia's referencing guidance, specifically with respect to use of secondary sources rather than primary. In 2018, I updated the staging section, in line with the new guidance from the major medical organizations.
I shall try to make some time over the next few days to review and update the article. Axl ¤ [Talk] 13:23, 9 July 2021 (UTC)
Face-smile.svg Thank you, @Axl. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:43, 9 July 2021 (UTC)

Images dated and poor layout

Lung cancer is not in mainpage condition.

  • There are onsiderable issues with MOS:SANDWICHing of images in the Diagnosis section that need attention.
  • There are multiple instances of medical advice (WP:NOT- search for the word ‘’should’’). I haven’t looked deeper.
  • Besides the considerable issues with poor image layout, many of the images are extremely dated (eg 1997, and 2011 !!!). Unless someone more knowledgeable is able to update all of the images, several should be deleted.
  • The research section is outdated.
  • There is CONSIDERABLE dated information throughout the article.

This article is scheduled to run at WP:TFA in only a few weeks, yet it still needs attention. Having noticed the image issues initially, but seeing there is much more, I am concerned that the article needs a thorough going over and actually should be submitted to WP:FAR if issues can’t be addressed quickly. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 11:10, 21 July 2021 (UTC)

premature archival

Why is the archive time here set at only 10 days? This section should not have archived so soon. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 10:59, 21 July 2021 (UTC)

Last year, someone gave this explanation for the 10-day archiving speed: "Even with aggressive archiving, this talk page consistently approaches 200 MB." (Remember, it's 10 straight days of inactivity, not 10 days from the start of the conversation.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:14, 21 July 2021 (UTC)
You got me there :) Well, since the page is shorter now, can the days increase to 15, and go to sporadic manual archiving of truly done topics (which has always been my preference, although some folks grumbled when I did manual archiving of clearly done topics). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:15, 21 July 2021 (UTC)
Why not? It's often slower this time of year anyway. I've set it to 15 days. If it gets too big, maybe we can try 12. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:12, 21 July 2021 (UTC)
Like ... and then just manually archive anything that is clearly and undeniably ... DONE :0 SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:09, 22 July 2021 (UTC)

10 most-viewed stubby articles in this Wikiproject

Wikipedia:WikiProject Medicine/Popular pages, FYI--Coin945 (talk) 13:27, 21 July 2021 (UTC)

I wish all stubs on Wikipedia were as good as those articles! Dr. Vogel (talk) 23:38, 21 July 2021 (UTC)
Degloving doesn't have the image I expected it to have...not sure if that's for the better or the worse... Vaticidalprophet 23:57, 21 July 2021 (UTC)
Microdeletion syndrome has more sources than sentences. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:49, 22 July 2021 (UTC)
That's not unusual for a list article. -- Colin°Talk 17:20, 22 July 2021 (UTC)
It almost certainly shouldn't be a list article -- there's at least more that you can say about it than is said here. It's pretty much in my area, so I'll consider trying to expand it. Vaticidalprophet 20:32, 22 July 2021 (UTC)

Ivermectin and COVID-19

A request was inserted on my talk page to add a review paper about the use of ivermectin for COVID-19.[1] The journal is American Journal of Therapeutics and appears to be a valid medical reliable secondary source. Thoughts?

Cc'ing some folks who have edited relevant pages: Alexbrn, DMacks, WhatamIdoing

--Whywhenwhohow (talk) 04:55, 23 July 2021 (UTC)


It's been discussed at length, multiple times, on the article Talk page, and above here too. Bottom line, it's a suspicious paper[4] with undisclosed COIs, based in part apparently on fraudulent research[5] and which makes WP:EXCEPTIONAL claims that would undercut what all the major medical bodies (EMA, WHO, FDA etc) are saying. So it's not being used. Higher-quality research is underway so decent sources should be available before long. Alexbrn (talk) 05:26, 23 July 2021 (UTC)

Medical genetics of Jews

Since it also concerns medicine input at WP:FTN § Medical genetics of Jews is welcome, —PaleoNeonate – 17:55, 23 July 2021 (UTC)

thank you for posting--Ozzie10aaaa (talk) 12:24, 29 July 2021 (UTC)

Calculus (medicine)

I'm tempted to delete the text in the infobox of Calculus (medicine) (recently added by an IP), keeping only the photo and legend, as misleading; but not being a medic would welcome an (ahem) second opinion. 07:08, 24 July 2021 (UTC)

Thanks. I've shortened it. The article in general needs some work (especially the ==Treatment== section). WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:12, 24 July 2021 (UTC)
Thanks in return. So far as treatment goes, I can report that in the early 1980s, treatment for bladder stone might involve the surgical equivalent of a straightened-out paperclip. Narky Blert (talk) 17:20, 24 July 2021 (UTC)
Hopefully it also involved a good deal of anesthesia. *wince* WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:16, 24 July 2021 (UTC)

Manipulative surgery and faradism

Hi, I have just created a biography of Morton Smart (died 1956), a Scottish physician who is generally described as a "manipulative surgeon" and practised "manipulative surgery" (according to all of his obituaries). He was also an expert in faradism, which was the "use of induced rapidly alternating electric currents to stimulate nerve and muscle activity" [6]. None of these terms have Wikipedia articles. I have literally no medical or scientific training, but from what I can gather they are no longer used in the medical profession; manipulative surgery seems to have been a specific form of orthopedic medicine which entailed fixing injuries by using the hands, and faradism was apparently used to treat muscle conditions. Morton himself did not like to be called an orthopedic surgeon. Should we have articles on these topics? —Noswall59 (talk) 15:26, 24 July 2021 (UTC).

@Noswall59, this old source says that "manipulative surgeon" is the same thing as a bonesetter. This 1932 book says "Manipulative surgery may be defined simply as the art and practice of moving joints for therapeutic purposes".
You might also double-check that he was a physician and not a surgeon. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:35, 24 July 2021 (UTC)
Search for "Smart-Bristow coil" CV9933 (talk) 19:55, 24 July 2021 (UTC)
I am unsure if it is technically considered the same thing or not, but there is electrotherapy. Jebbles (talk) 20:17, 24 July 2021 (UTC)
Thanks all for these responses. His entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography calls him a "manipulative surgeon" and that was his title in the Royal Household, but then the ODNB also mentions that he "did not regard himself as an orthopaedic surgeon ... [and] practised essentially as an orthopaedic physician", so I'll add that to the article. I imagine, based on this book review in Nature (which says "the practice of manipulative surgery is almost a monopoly of the bone-setter"), that this was a sub-practice of bone-setting, in which case it might be worth a brief mention there? As for faradism, yes, he did invent the Smart-Bristow coil – I'll mention that too. —Noswall59 (talk) 07:50, 26 July 2021 (UTC).
I have added a short section at Bonesetter if anyone wishes to review it. Thanks, —Noswall59 (talk) 08:04, 26 July 2021 (UTC).


Autism is one of WP:MED’s highest viewed articles, and is a Featured article. This will require considerable collaboration; please watchlist. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:06, 25 July 2021 (UTC)

PS, while I am glad to see the long-needed rewrite underway, I am quite concerned that User:Kilopylae might not be familiar with FA standards, and is adding uncited text, and very old sources, so some guidance will be helpful. I am traveling all week, and unlikely to have time to pitch in here. The article is LONG overdue for a trip to WP:FAR, which I have held off on because WP:MED has so many other articles in need of FAR. Perhaps someone else has time to guide Kilopylae in FA standards and high quality sourcing. Tackling a medical article of this scope, and one which is so outdated, requires considerable experience, and unfortunately the main author, User:Eubulides has been long gone for many years now. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:13, 25 July 2021 (UTC)

Kilopylae this kind of bold move, with respect to a Featured article, might be better reviewed with WP:MED regulars. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:18, 25 July 2021 (UTC)