Medicine: It Was Too Good to Be True

Faking data: a mental-retardation researcher faces grim charges

He was an academic star who by the age of 30 had produced an influential body of work on the treatment of the mentally retarded. But in the minds of some of his colleagues, there was something odd about the work of Stephen Breuning, an assistant professor of child psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. The results of his studies were almost too orderly, too pat, and the work was completed with remarkable speed. The doubts came to a head in 1983 when Breuning's supervisor, Robert Sprague, then director of the Institute for Child Behavior and Development at the University of...

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