The Harvard method was invented in 1992 by Dr James Thomas from Harvard and got a brief experimental verification.
Thomas JD, Flachskampf FA, Chen C, Guererro JL, Picard MH, Levine RA, Weyman AE. Isovolumic relaxation time varies predictably with its time constant and aortic and left atrial pressure: implications for the noninvasive of ventricular relaxation. Am Heart J. 1992;124:1305–1313. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
All the seven authors are living Echo gods. Fact is, except for the corresponding author Dr Thomas, all the other six authors don’t believe in this method. Google Scholar tells all.
Five years later, the method was clinically verified at Cleveland and the result was published in Circulation.
Scalia GM, Greenberg NL, McCarthy PM, Thomas JD,Vandervoort PM. Noninvasive assessment of the ventricular relaxation time constant in humans by Doppler echocardiography. Circulation. 1997;95:151–155. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
For more than two decades, quite a few projects were based on this method. However, it is easy to prove it wrong.
For a math-savvy Echocardiographer, the details of the formula deduction process is more reasonable:
For a sober logic thinker, it is good enough to know that logic flaws are unacceptable at any circumstances: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6558577/pdf/jgc-16-05-429.pdf
Not math-savvy, don’t like logic, but have common sense, people can still good enough to know why the Harvard method is incorrect. Fact is nobody measures Tau clinically with Harvard method; in the whole year just passed no researchers had used the Harvard method to measure Tau in their projects, even if the diastolic research is such a hot topic and Tau is the best index of it.
We can safely draw the conclusion here; the Harvard method is not working.
Early this year, there was a special issue of JACC about non-invasive imaging for diastolic function assessment. Influential Echocardiographers were invited; Dr Thomas was among them but mentioned nothing of his Tau formula. It sent a strong message that even Dr Thomas gave up the Harvard method.
However, when other researchers try to publish their Tau papers, the Harvard method will bite. The damage is serious because the Harvard Tau is closely related to top professors, top institutions and top journals. This is why I am seeking the Harvard Tau papers retraction on behalf of some Tau researchers.
Quote from the Retraction guidelines of COPE (The Committee on Publication Ethics), “Editors should consider retracting a publication if they have clear evidence that the findings are unreliable, either as a result of major error (eg, miscalculation or experimental error), or as a result of fabrication (eg, of data) or falsification (eg, image manipulation)
We know now the theory of the Harvard method is incorrect by any standard. Problem is the theory is VERIFIED both experimentally and clinically. Can we happen to get “good” data by unintentional errors? Probably not.
Some people might argue why the Harvard method was “successfully ” used in quite a few projects over the past two decades. This is exactly the ugliness. Several years ago, there was a Harvard cardiac stem cell therapy scandal, thousands of papers had been published all over the world, all claimed to be able to repeat the test. Manipulation of data is very epidemic, especially when influential researchers are followed.
So, I emailed Am Heart J about the retraction request. Got this answer
“I understand you have a scientific difference with other investigators about the “Harvard method of Tau” calculation but this is not a basis for asking for a retraction. Scientific differences/debates/disputes are not a basis for retracting papers.”
Obviously, this is not a “scientific differences/debates/disputes”. Further argument simply hit the wall.
I also emailed Circulation and got negative reply for retraction. Appeal once, declined.
I emailed Dr Thomas several times, never got reply.
I emailed Dr Vandervoort twice, no reply.
I put it on PubPeer, nobody cares. Hopefully, PubPeer got some teeth in the future.
Without retraction of the Harvard Tau papers, the current situations are:
- 1) Clinically, Tau is dead, at least in North America;
- 2) In research, though nobody used the Harvard method in the whole year just passed, in the future, some researchers will pick it up again to “make” papers. I bet ya;
- 3) There is no space for true Tau research to survive.
You are welcomed to give any advices to set Tau free.