The Oyster War: Part 3 — Scientific Misconduct

Over the past month, I posted on this blog a pair of short reviews of the new book The Oyster War by Summer Brennan, focusing on whether she told the true story in defending the government’s misrepresentations of science to support the ideological decision to remove the 80-year old oyster farm from Drakes Estero.

Several people have written posts in defense of Brennan. Adam Turner disputed my conclusion that the National Park Service falsified the findings of its own independent harbor seal expert, Dr. Brent Stewart. Brennan herself has now posted a lengthy blog accusing me of “libel,” and again defending the Park Service’s use of science. I respond to Turner and Brennan here. This response, in turn, further shows that officials in the Department of the Interior committed scientific misconduct, and that Interior still needs to implement a meaningful scientific integrity policy.

In my review, I reported that the Park Service falsified the findings of its own harbor seal expert, Dr. Brent Stewart, by transforming his finding that there was “no evidence” that the oyster farm disturbed harbor seals into the false conclusion, in the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), that the farm was causing serious harm to harbor seals.

Turner defended the Park Service by asserting that Stewart did not work alone in analyzing the Park Service photos, but rather was part of a team. That is misleading. Stewart was contracted by Interior and was the sole author on a May 2012 Report, concluding that there was “no evidence” of disturbance by the oyster farm. When I began to point out the contradiction between his report and the final EIS, the government went back to Stewart in December 2012 and asked him — and him alone — to re-analyze certain —> Read More

Knee and hip replacements may be bad for the heart

Contrary to recent reports, Boston-based researchers found that osteoarthritis patients who had total knee or hip joint replacement surgery, known as arthroplasty, were at increased risk of heart attack (myocardial infarction) in the early post-operative period. However, findings published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology, indicate that long-term risk of heart attack did not persist, while the risk for venous thromboembolism — blood clot in veins and lungs — remained years after the procedure. —> Read More

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