A study that suggested marriages are more likely to fail when the wife falls ill — than if she is healthy — has been retracted due to a coding error in the research.

The article got a lot of media attention when it was published in March in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. The research looked at 2,701 heterosexual marriages of people 51 and older, and found that when the wife falls seriously ill, there’s a 6 percent greater chance the couple will divorce than if she remains healthy. A husband’s illness, in contrast, has no impact on the odds that the couple will divorce.

However, when researchers at Bowling Green State tried to replicate the study results, they discovered the results were skewed by a mistake in the data, which counted people who left the study as divorces.

“They pointed out to us, to our horror, that we had miscoded the dependent variable,” Amelia Karraker, the study’s author and a professor at Iowa State University, told Retraction Watch. “As soon as we realized we made the mistake, we contacted the editor and told him what was happening, and said we made a mistake, we accept responsibility for it.”

Using the corrected code, Karraker found that the results stand only when wives develop heart problems, not other illnesses.


Alternative medicine’s use

People with chronic back, neck or joint pain commonly seek acupuncture and chiropractic care for relief, but many do not tell their doctors about it, a study reports.

Researchers said they were surprised to find that of 6,068 chronic pain patients who responded to a questionnaire, 47 percent reported using chiropractic care, 32 percent said they used acupuncture, and 21 percent used both. Only 42 percent said they used neither acupuncture nor chiropractic.

Many of the patients studied did not share information about alternative treatments with their regular doctors, and the information was not in their electronic medical records. About a third of acupuncture users and 42 percent of chiropractic care users did not tell their regular doctors about the care.


Diabetes, erectile dysfunction linked

Anyone who watches TV knows that many men with erectile dysfunction can solve the problem by taking a pill.

But they also need to be screened for diabetes, a new study suggests. A new analysis reports that middle-aged men with erectile dysfunction are at more than double the risk of having undiagnosed diabetes, which is itself a risk factor for heart disease when compared with similar men who do not have erectile problems.

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