Study Linking Autism to ‘Male Brain’ Retracted, Replaced


From Medscape Psychiatry: “The authors of a study that claimed to find a link between typical male brain anatomy and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have retracted it and replaced it with a dramatically changed version after finding an error in their methodology.

The article, published in April 2017 in JAMA Psychiatry and reported by Medscape Medical News at that time, contained ‘serious errors,’ writes lead author Christine Ecker, PhD, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, in a letter published in the journal today. […]

In the letter, Ecker wrote that she and her coauthors had ‘identified a problem with the script that was used for the prediction of biological sex in male and female individuals with ASD based on their respective neuroanatomy in our original sample.’

That meant that ‘the probabilities we assumed to be indicative of the default (male) category in the female individuals with ASD, as shown in Figure 1B of our article, were flipped and in fact reflect the probabilities for the category of biological female individuals.'”

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  1. I posted the following comment on the original Medscape article; doubt it will get published

    The former editor of the New England School of Medicine resigned because she claimed that over 50% of the medical literature is junk science funded by industry.. According to ProPublica, MedScape receives HUGE funding from industries that profit from pharmceuticals and medical technology companies so I’m skeptical of everything on this site.What I would like to know is if the author would have brought attention to this major mistake without outside pressure? In other words, was her mistake outed by another scientist? At least Medscape published the retraction which probably won’t happen with the other downstream fake news articles that cited this terrible study. At least this author took responsibility for the error unlike the author of 329 the ghost written article written by SmithKline downplaying the adverse effects of paroxetine on adolescents, a study with glaring conflicts of interest which was never retracted by the journal (JAACAP) to my knowledge. The thing that slays me is even though I hate Trump, he is right. A lot of news is fake news. Everywhere gullible readers are exposed to media stories cut and pasted from PR firms press releases about miraculous new advances in neurobiology and psychiatry and most of it is JUNK. Researchers like this one give credence to claims of people like Trump. and his claims of fake news

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