“This should be a real cautionary tale. How on earth could we have spent 20 years and hundreds of millions of dollars studying pure noise?”
Great summary by of et al.'s smack-down about serotonin transporter research, which includes a very important point -- people like have been warning that maybe the whole field is noise FOR 14 YEARS.
Our work showing historical candidate genes are unrelated to depression covered in the Atlantic (). It's not enough to just say, "Oh well," and move along. What about the scientific process needs to change so that this doesn't happen again in the future?
Decades of early research on the genetics of depression were built on nonexistent foundations. How did that happen? by
"People are rewarded for being productive rather than right, for building ever upward instead of checking the foundations. These incentives allow weak studies to be published. And once enough have amassed, they create a collective perception of strength…"
“People are rewarded for being productive rather than being right, for building ever upward instead of checking your foundations.”
Decades of early research on the genetics of depression were built on nonexistent foundations. How did that happen? asks - via
"We're told science self-corrects. The candidate gene literature shows that it often self-corrects very slowly & wastefully, even when the writing has been on the wall for a very long time" to as the SLC6A4 house of cards collapses
“This should be a real cautionary tale,” Keller adds. “How on earth could we have spent 20 years and hundreds of millions of dollars studying pure noise?”
It’s been seven years (!) since we published the same finding with respect to IQ: candidate gene studies are not reliable and should generally be ignored ()
"You would have thought that would have dampened enthusiasm for that ... gene, but not at all. Any evidence that the results might not be reliable was simply not what many people wanted to hear.” Oh my, does this read like it's about polygenic risk?
.: Institutions & funders that supported candidate-gene work should be asking themselves hard questions. “They need to recognize that even those who think they are elite are not immune to poor reproducibility, which leads to a huge amount of waste"
Very fitting art on this piece about a breakthrough in depression research—the basis for hundreds of papers over the last two decades—that turned out to be wrong
A blockbuster discovery about depression genes launched an entire field of research. But now researchers have found that the genes that have been most commonly linked to depression are not more common in people with the disease, writes
Decades of early research on the genetics of depression were built on nonexistent foundations. How did that happen?
"People are rewarded for being productive rather than being right, for building ever upward instead of checking the foundations." About why researchers have spent 20 years and hundreds of millions of dollars studying pure noise
A very interesting read for those doing empirical research. Tl;dr How datasets with low statistical power derailed almost a decade of genetics research on the factors/genes that trigger depression.
Perverse incentives "allow weak studies to be published. And once enough have amassed, they create a collective perception of strength that can be hard to pierce."
An ugly truth about research: "People are rewarded for being productive rather than being right...These incentives allow weak studies to be published. And once enough have amassed, they create a collective perception of strength that can be hard to pierce"
I would love to know how many gene-phenotype or gene-environment associations in conservation genetics and molecular ecology stand up to increased sampling, replication, or external validation of some kind.
The "biggest and most comprehensive" study on the genetic basis of depression found that "no candidate gene influenced depression risk in any environment".
A blockbuster discovery about depression genes launched an entire field of research. But now researchers have found that the genes that have been most commonly linked to depression are not more common in people with the disease, writes
An interesting example of a scientific edifice based on a false premise for over 20 years: “Any evidence that the results might not be reliable was simply not what many people wanted to hear.”
"People are rewarded for being productive rather than being right, for building ever upward instead of checking the foundations. These incentives allow weak studies to be published." 🔥 via
A victory for big data - and warning for big data! Two decades and $100s millions in research on depression based on 1995 study w/ mere 1k patients - but new study of 100k patients shows it's only statistical noise. More data is crucial, but used carefully
As someone who spent most of their PhD examing candidate genes in depression and finding nothing, this public debunking evokes a mixture of emotions
A Waste of 1,000 Research Papers : Decades of early research on the genetics of depression were built on nonexistent foundations. (via )
Decades of early research on the genetics of #depression were built on nonexistent foundations. How did that happen? by via #mentalhealth #genomics
The evidence that fruits and vegetables are healthy, and that eating red or processed meat causes cancer (at least in some populations) is like the evidence that the SLC6A4 gene causes depression (at least in some circumstances). There's no real evidence.
“What bothers me isn’t just that people said [the gene] mattered and it didn’t. It’s that we built whole imaginary edifices on top of this idea of [it] mattering.”
Another major edifice of the modern psychiatric narrative crumbles. Depression-Gene Studies Were Built on Shaky Foundations - The Atlantic
"A Waste of 1,000 Research Papers"
Great article. Adapted it: "[Crypto folks] prefer flashy studies that make new discoveries over duller ones that check existing work.. This allows weak studies to be published. And once enough have amassed, they create a collective perception of strength"
Over 450 studies reported on the candidate gene for depression SLC6A4, costing >$100 million over 20 years. But these studies were just on hundreds of people and the new genome wide studies of >10K people show this and other candidate genes don’t replicate
"People are rewarded for being productive rather than being right, for building ever upward instead of checking the foundations." A phenomenon that journalism is especially vulnerable to
Nice intro to the problems with candidate gene studies. They're mostly being supplanted by GWAS.
WASTE OF 1000 PAPERS? Depressing summary from The Atlantic for - No Support for Gene or Gene-by-Interaction Hypotheses for Major Depression #MentalHealthMonth
Décadas de investigación en genes candidatos para encontrar las causas de trastornos mentales comunes han sido simplemente dinero tirado al basurero. Si Chile quiere hacer algún progreso en el área debe detener el financiamiento de este tipo de estudios
“But we have colleagues in other sciences who had no idea that there was even any question about these genes, and are doing this research to this day”. YES. Depression-Gene Studies Were Built on Shaky Foundations - The Atlantic
State of science:“Beyond a few cases of outright misconduct, these practices are rarely done to deceive. They’re an almost inevitable product of an academic world that rewards scientists, above all else, for publishing papers in high-profile journals...”
More coverage from ⁦⁩ on the Border et al paper from the ⁦⁩ on “genes for” depression resulting from years of candidate gene studies. Depression-Gene Studies Were Built on Shaky Foundations - ⁦
"[Scientists] are rewarded for being productive rather than being right."
In genetics, we are all basically still Jon Snow: We know nothing. We need so much more data, and we need to compensate people fairly for the data they provide. #blockchain #genomics $DNA
I think the article answers its own question with a well known explanation —> “People are rewarded for being productive rather than being right.”
“This should be a real cautionary tale,” says psychiatric geneticist in “How on Earth could we have spent 20 years and hundreds of millions of dollars studying pure noise?”
This reminds of a lot of hype in the 90s around d2 dopamine receptor and problem drinking. But worse.
The Atlantic: A Waste of 1,000 Research Papers. #MakeResearchTrue #medlibs
Worth thinking about in all fields
A waste of 1,000 research papers #depression
Cautionary tale: No convincing evidence that a candidate genes thought to be associated with #depression have any connection at all with the disease by HT
A sobering reminder that our appetite for mechanistic explanations of psychiatric illness often leads us astray
A Waste of 1,000 Research Papers | Decades of early research on the genetics of depression were built on nonexistent foundations. How did that happen? | RT ⁦
New research on the genetics of depression is debunking decades of scientific literature that emphasized the importance of the SLC6A4 gene.
Good article from about the flimsy results of candidate gene studies--and how scientists tried for decades to tease meaning out of Type I error.
A house of cards come crashing down.
“We’re told that science self-corrects, but what the candidate-gene literature demonstrates is that it often self-corrects very slowly, and very wastefully, even when the writing has been on the wall for a very long time," says : by
⁩ in The Atlantic: “People are rewarded for being productive rather than being right.” Goodhart’s law rules everything around me. And candidate genes only steal your money and then break your heart.
I feel like the transformation of candidate gene research into the equivalent of astrology is the soc of science diss that's begging to be written. Here's a starter reference: Gieryn (1983)
Decades of early research on the genetics of depression were built on nonexistent foundations. How did that happen?
Another example of how bits of meaningless correlation, combined with groupthink, create entire schools of worthless scientific “findings” in academia. This time scientists studied non-existent “depression genes” for decades.
Depression-Gene Studies Were Built on Shaky Foundations - The Atlantic
New study suggests that there isn’t a ‘a smidge of evidence’ that the most common genes linked to depression are linked to depression: (via )
“How on Earth could we have spent 20 years and hundreds of millions of dollars studying pure noise?”
“People are rewarded for being productive rather than being right, for building ever upward instead of checking the foundations.” From ⁦
Why we need to change how we work: “If the new study is right, these genes have nothing to do with depression...How on Earth could we have spent 20 years and hundreds of millions of dollars studying pure noise?” By ⁦
A message for us all. Another "hot" research area turns out to be a house of cards. Thanks
“We have got to set up a system, or develop a culture, that rewards people for actually trying to do it right” #reproducibility #researchculture #researchintegrity
Race IAT researchers created an important national dialogue. But I can’t help think it might be the next psychological program to go down. I’ve been part of 3 unpublished null datasets & I know 2 other researchers w similar dead ends.
Research on a leading "candidate gene" for depression has been, in effect, “describing the life cycle of unicorns, what unicorns eat,[and giving] a blow-by-blow account of a wrestling match between unicorns and Bigfoot.”
“How on Earth could we have spent 20 years and hundreds of millions of dollars studying pure noise?” another article on waste in research and its adversary impact on public trust in science
Ed Yong nails it again
Depression-Gene Studies Were Built on Shaky Foundations - The Atlantic
A Waste of 1,000 Research Papers Decades of early research on the genetics of depression were built on nonexistent foundations. How did that happen?
This probably underestimates the degree of waste by several orders of magnitude. We might need something like a ratings agency for science papers. Akin to those for bonds (like Moody’s).
A Waste of 1,000 Research Papers: Decades of early research on the genetics of depression were built on nonexistent foundations. How did that happen? via
"A Waste of 1,000 Research Papers: Decades of early #research on the #genetics of #depression were built on nonexistent foundations. How did that happen?" …and pushback: sample size matters but measure quality does too #reproducibility #science
New research says specific genes don't predict depression. A good example of how a theory died hard, despite being supported by mainly weak evidence
I just cut the famous (but shaky) serotonin transporter gene work from a Psych One lecture for tomorrow. It's tough to watch "solid" findings disappear, but gratifying to know we are getting better at assessing (and disseminating) knowledge.
Covered by The Atlantic too: IMO absolutely ok to investigate further when there's a glimmer of evidence for something, but...
A blockbuster discovery about depression genes launched an entire field of research. But now researchers have found that the genes that have been most commonly linked to depression are not more common in people with the disease: #sociology
Depression-Gene Studies Were Built on Shaky Foundations - The Atlantic It’d be nice to see sociologist candidate-gene studies similarly exposed as dubious too. I do feel vindicated for having doubted the Moffitt stuff at the time. H/t
Whether we're talking about one patient or hundreds of thousands of research participants, bookends from and show us that genotype-phenotype correlation is really hard.
Plausibly credit motivation is in general good for motivating scientists, but tricky question: how does credit in academic networks scale for different *kinds* of results?
Weekend read: writing in on how spurious associations in biomedicine keep getting published because of the inherent desire + reward systems in our field to find and amplify positive results.
Amazing story. Describes an enormous research effort to study a gene linked to depression, which was later shown to be nothing more than a spurious correlation.
A Waste of 1,000 Research Papers. Decades of early #research on the genetics of depression were built on nonexistent foundations. How did that happen?
Causality as manipulative effect is part of the problem. Causality is always a field level phenom
Wait, what? 😟🤯😳 “This should be a real cautionary tale. How on Earth could we have spent 20 years and hundreds of millions of dollars studying pure noise?”
A Waste of 1,000 Research Papers [As if they’d been “describing life cycle of unicorns, what unicorns eat,all the different subspecies of unicorn,which cuts of unicorn meat are tastiest, & blow-by-blow account of wrestling match between unicorns & Bigfoot]
A Waste of 1,000 Research Papers - The Atlantic via thanks
Nice article on new study finding no evidence that SLC6A4 is linked to depression. Does malign the candidate gene approach a little bit unfairly, strictly speaking it's applying it to complex, polygenic disorders that's the problem surely
A blockbuster discovery about depression genes launched an entire field of research. But now researchers have found that the genes that have been most commonly linked to depression are not more common in people with the disease, writes
So Scott Alexander gets quoted in The Atlantic now?
A blockbuster discovery about depression genes launched an entire field of research. But now researchers have found that the genes that have been most commonly linked to depression are not more common in people with the disease, writes