Methodological Queries Regarding “Exploratory Quantum Resonance Spectrometry” (Zhang et al., 2014)


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To the Editor:The presentation of a new diagnostic method is always welcome, but it must stand up to discerning scrutiny, which requires an in-depth description of how the respective tool works.We would like to declare our concern with respect to the article “Exploratory Quantum Resonance Spectrometer as a Discriminator for Psychiatric Affective Disorders.” This was published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease in April 2014 by Zhang et al. (2014).Their data were collected using a seemingly novel tool called “Quantum Resonance Spectrometry” (QRS) as a noninvasive and purportedly accurate and reliable device for the detection of mood disorder symptoms. We are, however, unable to properly assess the validity of these claims because the Methods section of this publication does not adequately outline how the measurements were acquired.Zhang et al. describe that a “biological wave detection unit” grasped by the patient “recorded the special biological wave and could effectively transform message into electrical signals, which can be dealt by computers, to get [a] resonance score.” They go on to illustrate how “[m]easurement and analysis released by the brain were obtained through the size of the vibration frequency (weak magnetic field fluctuations in energy) to determine whether there are psychiatric symptoms.”There are widely accepted standards for scientific manuscripts (ICMJE, 2014). These are reflected in the author guidelines for the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease (JNMD, 2014). For methods sections specifically, it is stated that they shall contain “A precise description of subjects, procedures, apparatus, and methods of data analysis, all sufficiently detailed to allow other competent researchers to evaluate or replicate the study.”Although the article of Zhang et al. contains a reasonably comprehensive description of the subjects involved, it is our perception that it does not specify their methodological procedures, apparatus, and data analyses at a reasonable level of detail or with adequate clarity to permit readers and fellow academics to evaluate the study thoroughly nor sufficiently to replicate its results.In our opinion, the following fundamental points were left unaddressed. a) What parameters characterize the “special biological wave?” What biological entity does it originate from? b) Which amplitude is common for this biological wave? Over what range of frequencies is it typically observed? c) How are waves transformed into electrical signals by this detection/sensor device? d) How was the detector calibrated, and what is its sensitivity? e) Were filters used to minimize any background noise, and what is the QRS’s signal-to-noise ratio?Furthermore, we would like to raise the following questions. f) What is meant by the formulation “measurement and analysis released by the brain?” If the detector is held in the patient’s hand, how can it detect signals from the brain? g) What is the nature of the relationship between the biological wave and psychiatric symptoms? In other words, how does the frequency of the former predict any presence of the latter? h) How does the computer “deal with” the wave signal “to get [a] resonance score?” For instance, to obtain the final resonance scores, what mathematical functions were applied to the raw data? Were these processing steps validated, and how were they selected? What options are available for processing of the signal, and does the choice of options impact on performance?[]Thom Baguley, PhDDivision of PsychologySchool of Social SciencesNottingham Trent UniversityNottingham, UKPhilip Moriarty, PhDSchool of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of NottinghamNottingham, UKSteffen Nestler, MScDepartment of PsychologyInstitute of PsychiatryPsychology and NeuroscienceKing’s College LondonLondon, UKE-mail: steffen.nestler@kcl.ac.

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