View Full Version : Re: Faulty gait data in the news

06-09-2010, 12:29 AM
I suppose that when Chris Kirtley wrote "I guess this had to happen at some time" he meant that our discipline has grown to the point where it is gaining all types of press. Still, I am made uncomfortable by this news item. Not so because "errors were made by a gait lab" that were not reported to patients and surgeons (as the linked article states), but because the "errors" are never described. What we have here is sensationalist journalism. Perhaps the gait lab at the University of New South Wales is at fault, but we cannot know that from the information presented in this "news" report.

What type of errors were reported? What constitutes an error? Who judged that the data collection was faulty?

Standards in biomechanics have often been proposed (see the ISB standards) and are frequently, dare I say universally, ignored. Who among us follows ISB standards (or some other standard) to the letter? When we depart from the standard it does not mean that we have committed an "error," but rather that the data collection situation required modifications that the standard could not anticipate or that experience tells us that a different data collection method works better.

None of these are "errors" but they will all result in different answers during data collection. So, I have to ask, what makes the Sydney Children's Hospital CEO believe that the University of New South Wales committed errors? This question is especially important since, as the report states "no adverse consequences of any kind were identified."

This style of reporting contains all the characteristics of a witch hunt. As a scientific community, let's be real careful before we start to cast stones.

Thomas M. Greiner, Ph.D.
Anatomist and Physical Anthropologist
Dept. of Health Professions
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
1725 State Street
La Crosse, WI 54601 USA
-----Original Message-----
From: * Biomechanics and Movement Science listserver [mailto:BIOMCH-L@NIC.SURFNET.NL] On Behalf Of Chris Kirtley
Sent: Tuesday, June 08, 2010 10:09 PM
Subject: [BIOMCH-L] Faulty gait data in the news

Dear Biomechers,

I guess this had to happen at some time. As far as I know it's the first
time gait data has been questioned in this way?



Dr. Chris Kirtley MB ChB, PhD
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