In this issue of JAMA, Ascherio and colleagues1 request retraction of their article titled “Multiple
Sclerosis and Epstein-Barr Virus,”2 which
was published in the March 26, 2003, issue. As the authors explain in their
letter to the editor,1 an inadvertent error
occurred in sorting of one of the data files used in their nested case-control
study. This error led to incorrect matching of the serologic findings from
the laboratory analysis and the clinical data, including incorrect assignment
of several dates of blood collection. Once the authors discovered this error
and reanalyzed the data with the correctly matched samples, it was apparent
that many of the data points reported in the original article were incorrect.
Even though the main finding of the study was essentially unchanged, correcting
the data errors completely would have required publication of an extensive
correction, including republication of correct data points in the abstract
and throughout the text, along with republication of corrected tables and
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