MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

Prof Harald Walach has had a few rough weeks. First, he published his paper suggesting that Covid vaccinations do more harm than good which was subsequently retracted as flawed, if not fraudulent. Next, he published a paper showing that children are put in danger when wearing face masks suggesting that “decision-makers weigh the hard evidence produced by these experimental measurements accordingly, which suggest that children should not be forced to wear face masks.” Now, the journal put out the following announcement about it:

The Research Letter, “Experimental Assessment of Carbon Dioxide Content in Inhaled Air With or Without Face Masks in Healthy Children: A Randomized Clinical Trial,” by Harald Walach, PhD, and colleagues published online in JAMA Pediatrics on June 30, 2021,1 is hereby retracted.

Following publication, numerous scientific issues were raised regarding the study methodology, including concerns about the applicability of the device used for assessment of carbon dioxide levels in this study setting, and whether the measurements obtained accurately represented carbon dioxide content in inhaled air, as well as issues related to the validity of the study conclusions. In their invited responses to these and other concerns, the authors did not provide sufficiently convincing evidence to resolve these issues, as determined by editorial evaluation and additional scientific review. Given fundamental concerns about the study methodology, uncertainty regarding the validity of the findings and conclusions, and the potential public health implications, the editors have retracted this Research Letter.

To make things even worse, Walach’s University fired him because of his fraudulent anti-vax research. Poznan University of Medical Sciences tweeted on 6 July:

We wish to emphasize that the claims included in dr Harald Walach’s recent article in @Vaccines_MDPI do not represent the position of @PUMS_tweets . We find that the article lacked scientific diligence and proper methodology. Dr. Walach’s affiliation with PUMS was now terminated. Throughout the pandemic PUMS has actively promoted vaccination programs, offering scientific expertise in the media, broadcasting seminars, and reported on progress of the vaccination program. We consider vaccinations as the paramount tool in the global fight against the pandemic. We consider vaccinations as the paramount tool in the global fight against the #pandemic. Over 85% of our own academic community has already been vaccinated with support and encouragement from the University.

As I said, this is truly unlucky …

.. or perhaps not?

Come to think of it, it is lucky when pseudo-science and fraud are called out. It means that the self-cleaning mechanisms of science are working and we are protected from the harm done by charlatans.

8 Responses to Prof Harald Walach is really unlucky

  • Beyond any gloating: thanks to Mr Walach for believing that he could publish outside his (homeopathic) occult-esoteric community (which has celebrated him as its “scientific guru” for decades), but under the eyes of the real scientific community.

    Which, of course, does not let him get away with his theses. How nice that now, at an advanced age, he is once again coming into contact with real science – which he did cultivate a long time ago as an academic psychologist.

    The fact that he lost his appointment at the University of Poznan (the making of which is a story in itself) is of course hard for him. But he is still in good hands in the community of the anthroposophical University of Witten-Herdecke. They will build him up again. So don’t worry too much.

  • “his appointment at the University of Poznan (the making of which is a story in itself)”
    can you tell me more about this?

  • “The self cleaning mechanisms of science”.

    Well put!

  • I would say that Walach is ‘unlucky’ in just one respect: the way his mental faculties developed into believing and promoting pseudoscience.
    Anything that happened as a consequence of that has not much to do with being unlucky.

    (And oh, about this hypercapnia thing that several other Covid-19 cranks have also latched onto: I am pretty certain that if you stick the nozzle of a CO2 detector in a cheek pocket inside of the mouth instead of behind a face mask, you will get much the same readings. This is simply because most vertebrates evolved to breathe in and out through the same tube, which means that after exhaling, there will always be residual CO2-rich air left behind that gets breathed in again.
    A face mask will at most retain an extra few dozen millilitres CO2-rich (5%) air – which is negligible on an average resting breathing volume of several hundred millilitres, and can be compensated easily by breathing slightly faster or deeper – something that happens automatically if the CO2 level in the blood actually rises.)

  • it means that the self-cleaning mechanisms of science are working

    Sometimes it can take a long time, Wakefield took years and Sir Cyril Bert took decades but some frauds do not seem to realize publishing in the hottest topic area of the day is not the brightest thing to do. Didier Raoult is another good example of this.

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