Stanford University medical researchers used incorrect data on 11 scientific papers and have been ordered to clarify, correct or withdraw them, it was disclosed.
All the papers were written under the direction of Dr. Philip A. Berger, a psychiatrist who resigned from Stanford amid controversy and secrecy in May, 1987.
Provost James Rosse, in a report released Tuesday, said there was, “at best, a serious lapse in scientific judgment,” but there was no evidence of intentional fraud and he was not blaming any individuals.
The papers relied on data collected by Stanford’s Mental Health Clinical Research Center, which was headed by Berger.
The National Institute of Mental Health, which has given the center more than $5 million in grants, is conducting an investigation.
The research in the disputed articles sought links between psychiatric illnesses and the concentrations of nerve transmitter chemicals in patients’ spinal fluid.
According to Stanford’s findings, the papers erred by including among their normal “controls” samples of spinal fluid drawn from 14 people who, in a previous study, had been described as suffering from senile dementia.
The school said the practice was “a serious departure from acceptable scientific procedure because patients could not be both normal” and suffering from senile dementia.