Is Tau dispensable?

The heart provides energy to the circulation system. In terms of cardiac function assessment, we really want to know how powerful it is. Unfortunately, direct measurement of pressure is not available in an Echo lab. Tau is closely related to the active relaxation of LV. Now, we know the formulas to calculate Tau. This new vision has already led us to the universal Tau and "Symmetry". More adventures await you.

A Brief History of Tau with Links You Might Need!

A Brief History of Tau

1976, Tau was born in John Hopkins.
1992, the first non-invasive try, Harvard.
1992, the first formula, with four assumptions, Harvard.
1993, another non-invasive try with decent data, Mayo Clinic.
1995, a similar strategy applied to AI patients, Japan.
1995, I published a MR based formula with one assumption.
1997, the Harvard formula was validated in Cleveland.
2005, Langer presented a non-zero asymptote model.
2008, I improved my MR based formulas, without assumption.
2008, I did a similar deduction for AI based Tau.
2008, Chen developed program for my formulas, free download.
2008, my poster in ASE 19th Annual Scientific Sessions.
2009, my poster in CSE forum.
2009, DF guideline (ASE) recommended Harvard formula.
2009, I gave my opinion about the guideline recommendation.
2009, "Response to Bai" from guideline writing group. It motivated me to create this Blog.
2010, Dr Wang and me presented general Tau.
2011-11-29, I gave a talk in National Capital Echo Round (Ottawa)
2016-03-29, I gave a talk at the Heart Institute, the North Hospital (Shenyang, China)
2016-04-01, I gave a talk at the Cardiac Function Dept., the 1st Clinical College, Chinese University of Medicine. (Shenyang, China)
2016, Symmetry inspired by the approach of Tau.
2017, Calculation of LAP (based on my formulas) got a Chinese Natural Science Founding.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

The Harvard Method of Tau Papers Should be Retracted

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:


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. 

No comments:

Post a Comment