Bristol University Research Scandal - Esther CrawleyWatch this thread
There's a wide range of problems with Esther Crawley's work.
She decuded to use children as the participants in the SMILE trial, the first trial of Phil Parker's quacky 'Lightning Process ". While she has still failed to publish results from this trial (although the trial registration state the recruitment end date as being 31/03/2013) she is now recruiting for MAGENTA. Both of these trials were nonblinded with subjective self-report questionnaires for their primary outcomes (although originally SMILE had been intended to use objectively verified school attendance), meaning that results could never be reliable.
Prof Coyne blogged on these here: http://blogs.plos.org/mindthebrain/2...be-considered/
Crawley failed to seek appropriate ethical approval for some of her research on children: http://www.virology.ws/2017/08/28/tr...absence-study/
Crawley has been a key promoter of the PACE trial, a seriously flawed piece of research which recently led to a special issue being published by the Journal of Health Psychology: http://journals.sagepub.com/toc/hpqa/22/9
Over a hundred academics and patient groups have called for the retraction of a paper which used spun and inaccurate statistics to claim the PACE showed a recovery rate of 22% for the researcher's prefered treatments: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/18/o...-syndrome.html
Crawley made even more exaggerateed and indefensible claims, publishing a paper which stated that PACE "indicated a recovery rate of 30-40% one year after treatment." http://www.centreforwelfarereform.or...ial/00296.html
Are any of Bristol's students aware of these problems? Any way of raising concern about these matters to try to stop them from getting worse?
David Tuller has written two explanations of the problems with the trial and the way it was promoted:
James Coyne has also had two guest comments on his blog:
Is conducting a study to assess the efficacy of a healing process created by someone who claimed to have developed an “ability to step into other people’s bodies over the years to assist them in their healing with amazing results” then it might be best to be cautious and rigorous in ones approach. Instead, Crawley seems to have used her usual low standards for her research.
Perhaps the most enlightening quote is from one of Prof Crawley's supporters:
“I don’t want to come down like a ton of bricks on Esther Crawley because I think she’s doing her best,” she said, but she was concerned about a “a mega-placebo effect”.
There is also a serious concern that no-one at Bristol University really understands Crawely's research or why it is being criticised. A number of senior Bristol Professors are on the peripherary of all this, but their public comments seem to indicate that they have little understanding of the real issues, and instead are being guided by faith in Crawley, and prejudices against her critics. Instead of encouraging open debate, Bristol appear to be trying to apply pressure behind the scenes to get critics shut up. They also seem unwillng to comment upon their own tactics:
Meanwhile Nature has an article on the required 'reboot' for CFS researcher:
It mentions criticism of PACE, but doesn't go into any detail on it.
Also, it seems that in order to make problems with one of Crawley's studies seem less serious than they are, a journal editor submitted a misleading summary of the issue to the Committee on Publication Ethics: http://www.virology.ws/2018/01/02/tr...udy-revisited/
Also, MP for Gaslgow North West and member of Parliament's Science and Technology Committee, Carol Monaghan, has secured a Westminster Hall debate on the problems surrounding the PACE trial. Esther Crawley described this international embarassment as a "great, great trial". I hope that she does not instil such low standards in her students. http://www.carol.monaghan.scot/2018/02/07/pace-trial/