Editors of The Journal of the American Medical Association, better known as JAMA, can be a little thin-skinned when it comes to outsiders taking issue with studies published in the prestigious medical journal.Seth’s blog nails it. It is amazing to read what JAMA still has to say in defense of blackballing Leo for some legitimate criticism.
Jonathan Leo, a professor of neuro-anatomy at tiny Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn., posted a letter on the Web site of the British Medical Journal this month criticizing a study that appeared in JAMA last spring. The study concerned the use of the anti-depressant Lexapro in stroke patients. In addition to identifying what he said was an important omission in the paper — that behavioral therapy worked just as well as the drug when compared head to head in the study — Leo also pointed out that the lead author had a financial relationship with Forest Laboratories, the maker of Lexapro, that was not disclosed in the study.
Leo says he received an angry call from JAMA executive deputy editor Phil Fontanarosa last week, shortly after Leo’s article was published on the BMJ Web site. “He said, ‘Who do you think you are,’ ” says Leo. “He then said, ‘You are banned from JAMA for life. You will be sorry. Your school will be sorry. Your students will be sorry.”
The JAMA author was quoted in the press:
I hope I don't have a stroke, but if I do, I would certainly want to be on an antidepressant.Leo pointed out two problems with this claim: the study did not show that anti-depressant drugs had any statistically significant advantage over non-drug therapy, and the author had an undisclosed conflict of interest.