Doctor bets against traditional Chinese medicine

Doctor bets against traditional Chinese medicine

A sceptic of traditional Chinese medicine is challenging practitioners of the age-old craft to prove themselves by putting his own money on the line. One has accepted the challenge. At stake is the claim that practitioners can discern whether a woman is pregnant by her pulse.  Read more

Genetic tests suggest STAP stem cells ‘never existed’

Reports of a new kind of stem cell, produced by simply stressing mature mouse cells, kicked up a storm of controversy soon after their publication in Nature on 30 January. Duplicated and manipulated images as well as plagiarism were found in the two papers, which led to a verdict of misconduct for the lead author, Haruko Obokata of the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan. There have also been calls for a retraction (which, for at least one of the papers, looks increasingly likely). But the controversy has left open a key question: does the phenomenon, known as stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency, or STAP, exist?  Read more

Lead author agrees to retract controversial stem-cell paper

Reports in Japan suggest Haruko Obokata, of the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, has agreed to retract one of two controversial papers in which she claimed to have created a new type of stem cell, known as stimulus-triggered activation of pluripotency (STAP) cells. The development means that the path may now be clear for the full retraction of one of the biggest science papers of the year.  Read more

US and UK scientists dominate the ‘Hong Kong Nobels’

US and UK scientists dominate the 'Hong Kong Nobels'

The Hong Kong-based Shaw Prize Foundation announced the winners of the annual Shaw Prize today. Three prizes, in astronomy, life science and medicine, and mathematical sciences, each carry US$1 million. It’s the 11th year the prizes were awarded.  Read more

Investigator of controversial stem-cell study resigns

The head of a Japanese committee investigating claims that stem cells could be made using mechanical stress or acid resigned from the committee today over anonymous allegations that at least one of his own papers contained problematic data. He says he resigned out of concern that the incident could complicate the current investigation.  Read more

Biologist claims controversial stem-cell method might work

A Hong Kong developmental biologist says he has succeeded in reproducing a method of reprogramming cells to an embryonic like state by applying mechanical stress. The surprising new development, which the author describes as a “megatwist”, took place on 1 April, the same day that the Japanese researcher who invented the method was found guilty of scientific misconduct. The new claim, however, has been greeted with scepticism.  Read more