Lerchl Bags Another Trophy
A paper on the effects of a mobile phone on the reproductive function of adult male rabbits, has been withdrawn by the International Journal of Andrology. In an advisory posted on March 14, the journal's editor-in-chief, Ewa Rajpert-De Meyts, states that Nader Salama, the lead author of the paper, requested its withdrawal. She cites three reasons: (1) "Lack of approval" by Salama's coauthors at the Tokushima School of Medicine in Japan; (2) "Lack of evidence to justify the accuracy of the data" in the paper: and (3) "Overlap" with two other papers by the same group. Salama is affliated with both the Tokushima medical school and the Alexandria Faculty of Medicine in Egypt.
Soon after the paper was posted by the International Journal of Andrology in December 2008, Alex Lerchl of Jacobs University and Christian Bornkessel of IMST, both in Germany, expressed "severe concerns about the validity of the exposure conditions and the reported biological effects" in a letter to the journal (open access). Though Salama and his Japanese colleagues stood by the paper in their response to Lerchl and Bornkessel (not open access), they have apparently now changed their minds.
Lerchl tells Microwave News that "other retractions will follow soon." In recent years, Lerchl has taken up the role of policing the EMF and RF literature to weed out what he believes is bad science and misconduct, with special if not exclusive attention to work that reports weak field effects. His most high-profile campaign was against Hugo Rüdiger's findings of RF-induced DNA damage, carried out in Vienna as part of the EC's REFLEX project. In this case, Lerchl failed to get Rüdiger's papers withdrawn (see "Three Cases of Alleged Scientific Misconduct").
The now retracted paper by Salama and colleagues is only a small part of the growing literature implicating mobile phone radiation in fertility problems (see "Keep That Phone Out of Your Trouser Pocket!").