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Fake Parkinson’s Study

Treatment for Parkinson’s disease?

Dr. Thorsten S. Beck

Photographic Collage Illustration


This image illustrates an approach to treating Parkinson’s disease that neuroscientist Bruce Murdoch and Parkinson’s disease researcher Caroline Barwood promoted based on a study they never conducted. Murdoch had received grant money and forged consent forms to “prove” people agreed to participate. In the end he faced legal consequences.

Murdoch and Barwood described their study in a paper that they published in the European Journal of Neurology in 2011. The hint to raise initial doubts came from a whistleblower. Their employer, University of Queensland (Australia), investigated 92 papers and retracted three of the Murdoch/Barwood co-authored papers. The university ended up re-paying roughly AUS $175,000 in research funds. Murdoch and Barwood were ultimately sentenced to two years in jail. Murdoch admitted to 17 fraudulent cases.



Anonymous. “‛Brazen’ UQ Research Fraudster Caroline Barwood Given Suspended Sentence.” ABC News, October 25, 2016.

Hare, Julie. “Ex-Professor Found Guilty of Fraud.” The Australian, March 31, 2016.

Murdoch, Bruce E., Mary M. L. Ng, and Caroline H. S. Barwood. “Treatment of Articulatory Dysfunction in Parkinson’s Disease Using Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.” European Journal of Neurology 19, no. 02 (February 2012): 340-347.

Palus, Shannon. “Neuroscientist Pleads Guilty in Court to Fraud, Gets Two-Year Suspended Sentence.” Retraction Watch, March 31, 2016.

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