Home / Science / Letter on vaping science paper earns expression of concern because author made up a degree – Retraction Watch

Letter on vaping science paper earns expression of concern because author made up a degree – Retraction Watch

Letter on vaping science paper earns expression of concern because author made up a degree – Retraction Watch

by way of Wikimedia

Leonard Zelig, meet Zvi Herzig.

The journal Circulation has issued an expression of concern about a 2015 letter, putatively written by Herzig, wherein the author poked holes in a evaluation article about e-cigarettes. 

According to the EoC, nonetheless, Herzig, like Zelig, could also be a bit of a chameleon.

As we’ll see, Herzig does cop to renew doctoring. The masters of public well being degree after his identify is bogus — however he has a proof for why it appeared. His affiliation could also be lower than meets the attention, too. But his critiques seem like legitimate, and have drawn reward by different researchers for his or her acuity. 

The letter in query was titled “Letter by Herzig regarding article, ‘Electronic cigarettes: a scientific review.” That article had been revealed in 2014 by a group led by Stanton Glantz, of the University of California, San Francisco. (Last week, a journal retracted a paper by Glantz and a co-author linking use of e-cigarettes to coronary heart assaults after critics discovered errors that had been deadly to their evaluation.)

In his letter, Herzig, who’s listed as being with the Uvacharta Bachayim Institute in Jerusalem — good luck discovering something about it on-line — ranges a number of criticisms of the evaluation. 

The EoC states

The Editors of Circulation are issuing an Expression of Concern relating to article, “Letter by Herzig Regarding Article, ‘Electronic Cigarettes: A Scientific Review’” which appeared within the February 10, 2015, problem of the journal (Circulation. 2015;131:e341. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.012089).

The Editors acquired correspondence associated to Mr Herzig’s degree and institute affiliation. The Editors tried to contact Mr Herzig about this correspondence, however haven’t acquired a response from Mr Herzig.

Since the Editors have been unsuccessful in verifying Mr Herzig’s acknowledged degree and affiliation, the Editors are posting this Expression of Concern.

It’s unclear who alerted the journal to the problem. Joseph Hill, the highest editor at Circulation, wouldn’t remark on the EoC however handed our queries alongside to the press workplace of the American Heart Association, which publishes the journal. Michelle Kirkwood, the AHA’s director of National Science Media Relations, quoting representatives of the journal, instructed us: 

As acknowledged within the EOC, the journal acquired correspondence associated to Mr. Herzig’s credentials, and the journal has tried to contact him by the data supplied when the article was submitted; nonetheless, we’ve not but acquired a response from him. We can not speculate on any extra particulars; we hope to listen to from Mr. Herzig quickly.

A Google search turns up no contact info of any variety for an Uvacharta Bachayim Institute in Israel or anyplace else. Nor does Herzig seem to have a web-based presence, apart from because the author of a number of letters to the editor about e-cigarette analysis and as a tipster for bloggers who write in regards to the subject. A “Zvi Herzig” commented on this 2019 Facebook submit, and left a hyperlink to a Google doc about nicotine. But the identify isn’t linked to an account. The solely itemizing for him in PubMed is the EoC in Circulation

In different phrases, Herzig seems to be many locations, and nowhere in any respect.

‘I am a real person’ 

Igor Burstyn, a public well being researcher at Drexel University, in Philadelphia, was on the receiving finish of a Herzig correction for his 2014 article in BMC Public Health, “Peering through the mist: systematic review of what the chemistry of contaminants in electronic cigarettes tells us about health risks.” In a follow-up letter to his paper, he wrote

I’m grateful to Dr. Zvi Herzig for noticing an error in items in a single outcome reported within the paper (Burstyn, 2014).  The sentence “Assuming excessive consumption of the liquid per day by way of vaping (5 to 25 ml/day and 50-95% propylene glycol within the liquid), ranges of propylene glycol in inhaled air can attain 1–6 mg/mthree” ought to learn “… ranges of propylene glycol in inhaled air can attain 1–6 g/mthree”.  This strengthens the acknowledged conclusion that “… estimated levels of exposure to propylene glycol … warrant concern.”  The corrected calculation was one of a number of that had been used to attract this conclusion. It was a worse-than-worst-realistic-case situation and must be reconciled with measurements of emissions, and thus shouldn’t be thought-about a reasonable quantification until additional measurements change our evaluation of what constitutes a reasonable situation.  The corrected estimate suggests higher warning is warranted than the unique estimate, however remains to be not trigger for alarm. It implies that we must be doing extra energetic analysis to grasp the results of inhalation publicity to propylene glycol at ranges increased than these which were studied up to now, if the anticipated exposures are certainly verified by measurements.

I sincerely apologize to my readers for the error and am grateful for such attentive readership.

We requested Burstyn in regards to the expression of concern and his interplay with Herzig. He instructed us: 

Mr Herzig emailed me and I can guarantee you that he’s good at discovering errors in math.

Burstyn stated he by no means had any purpose to doubt that Herzig was a actual individual, and that he discovered the journal’s expression of concern weird “as it does not articulate anything to be concerned about.”

Burstyn was variety sufficient to go alongside a message from us to Herzig, and we acquired this reply by way of a Gmail account: 

I’m an anti-smoking activist. The affiliation is an anti-smoking org (some of my advocacy is famous on Israel’s parliamentary web site).

I’m a actual individual and was doing my finest to appropriate the scientific document on an necessary public well being problem.

Herzig admitted that he doesn’t have an MPH and that he included the credential to get his letter revealed: 

I discovered critical flaws in a evaluation suggesting that e-cigarettes stop tobacco cessation. The journal required a degree to submit correspondence. Should I’ve let issues go and allowed people who smoke to die because of the misinformation?

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