Critical Comments on DNA Breakage by Mobile-Phone Electromagnetic Fields
Wilhelm, Adalbert F.X.
Mutation Research 2010 March 29; 697(1-2): 60-65
In a publication that appeared in 2005 (Diem et al., Mutat. Res. 583:178-183)  harmful effects (DNA breakage) were reported to occur in rat and human cells after exposure to mobile-phone electromagnetic fields. The extremely low standard deviations in this paper, and in another publication by the same group of authors, prompted Vijayalaxmi to write a critical comment [Mutat. Res. 603 (2006) 104-106] . An investigation by the Medical University of Vienna (Austria) was initiated by a letter by the first author of the present paper, based on the data contained in the reply by the authors [Rüdiger et al., Mutat. Res. 603 (2006) 107-109] . The University published three press releases, stating that "the data were not measured experimentally, but fabricated" and that the Mutation Research paper and another, published by the International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health (IAOEH) in 2008, should be retracted. So far, neither of these papers has been retracted. Only a Letter of Concern by the Editors of IAOEH, and an Editorial by Mutation Research were published. Here we describe the statistical methods used to identify the evidence of data fabrication. The major point is the small variation in the reported data, which is below the theoretical lower limit derived from multinomial distributions and also lower than those derived from detailed simulations. Another reason for doubt was the highly significant non-equal distribution of last digits, a known hint towards data fabrication. In view of the results of the University's investigation and the evidence presented in this paper, the Diem et al. (2005)  publication should be retracted, with or without the authors' agreement.
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