Remember the ‘voodoo’ fMRI controversy? Well, I aloof came beyond a new voodoo-ish cardboard – aloof in time for Halloween.
The study, appear in Neuropsychopharmacology, comes from Franziska Plessow and colleagues of Boston. The capital affirmation is that a dosage of oxytocin bargain the acknowledgment of “reward-related aliment action academician regions” to pictures of high-calorie foods, suggesting that the hormone ability be of use in the assay of obesity.
However, I accept some questions.
In their key analysis, Plessow et al. compared the fMRI acknowledgment to high-calorie stimuli (over ascendancy stimuli) on oxytocin vs. placebo. The ‘blobs’ from this adverse aural the brain’s reward-related VTA arena can be apparent beneath as (a). The bar blueprint (b) shows the arresting extracted from the aiguille voxels of this contrast:
Here’s the description of this method:
Oxytocin-related changes were activated application contrasts that reflected the aberration in beta weights amid oxytocin high-calorie aliment images bare oxytocin non-food altar vs placebo high-calorie aliment images bare placebo non-food objects. For the primary acknowledging assay of oxytocin furnishings on VTA activation, we acclimated max voxel coordinates from the larboard and appropriate hemispheres of the accumulation akin statistical maps at the centers of 2.5 mm spheres and the beta ethics application Marsbar software.
The agitation is that this is a annular (aka ‘voodoo’) assay strategy. If we baddest the aiguille coordinates of the oxytocin-placebo contrast, the ethics extracted from these peaks (i.e. (b) above) are acceptable to appearance an oxytocin-placebo difference, but this ability aloof be a adventitious difference. So, while Plessow et al. address statistically cogent oxytocin-placebo differences in the arresting extracted from the aiguille voxels, the circularity makes these invalid.
The way to ensure that a aberration isn’t due to adventitious is to do an assay over the accomplished breadth of interest, with no alternative but adapted for assorted comparisons. As far as I can see, back Plessow et al. address blobs, these are not adapted for assorted comparisons in any way (p<0.05 uncorrected threshold.) The abstraction sample was additionally small, consisting of alone 10 adipose or ample participants.
So overall, this cardboard is a bit of a Halloween abhorrence story.
A acrid adjudication perhaps, but buck in apperception that chief columnist Elizabeth A. Lawson letters accepting a rather accordant battle of interest:
Dr Lawson is a affiliate of the accurate advising lath of OXT Therapeutics and has a banking absorption in the company.
The ambition of OXT Therapeutics lies in “Developing Novel Oxytocin Analogues: An Approach for Blubber and Metaic Disorders”. So it’s fair to say that these after-effects could be of bartering amount for the company, and ability end up allegorical biologic development, which to my apperception makes it important to analysis their validity.
h/t: Nils Kroemer
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