In 2004, an article in the Journal of the New York Entomological Society claimed that individuals with delusory parasitosis actually suffer from collembola infestations. The article has been critiqued for poor methodology and results that contradict all knowledge about collembolans. Less easily accounted for has been a figure in the article purporting to show a collembolan in a skin scraping. The image appears to have been altered using photo manipulation software to an unacceptable degree, and this paper demonstrates that to be the case. The altered figure represents creation of nonexistent data, a form of scientific misconduct. Whether the deception is deliberate or a product of an otherwise well-meaning author ignorant of the limits of acceptable image manipulation is unknown, but the result is peer-reviewed support for a conclusion that complicates patient treatment. In the current era of computers, even regional entomology journals must have detailed standards for what kind of images and image manipulations are acceptable for publication.
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