News24

Researcher accused of faking wine studies

2012-01-13 11:24

Washington - A US university on Thursday accused one of its researchers of widespread fraud by publishing fake studies that touted the benefits of red wine in as many as 11 scientific journals.

Dipak Das, a professor in the department of surgery and director of the Cardiovascular Research Centre at the University of Connecticut Health Centre, "is guilty of 145 counts of fabrication and falsification of data", a university statement said.

A three-year investigation into Das's work began in 2008 after an anonymous tip alleging irregularities in his research.

The university has sent letters to the 11 journals that published Das's work and has declined $890 000 in federal grants awarded to him.

"We have a responsibility to correct the scientific record and inform peer researchers across the country," said Philip Austin, interim vice president for health affairs.

Das, who published work on the benefit of resveratrol in red wine as well as crushed garlic for the heart, is being dismissed from the university where he has worked since 1984, the statement added.

Das' lawyer said allegations against Das could be "easily refuted" and said "charges against him involve prejudice within the university against Indian researchers", said a statement quoted by the website Retraction Watch.

While Das' work was cited hundreds of times, most of the journals he published in were minor ones and do not up-end the entire field of research on resveratrol, one expert said.

"There are many investigators who are working on resveratrol. That doesn't mean we know the whole truth. But Rome wasn't built on Dr Das," said Nir Barzilai, of Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

The compound has been touted for heart benefits, anti-inflammatory properties and protective effects against neurodegenerative diseases and diabetes.

Comments
  • John - 2012-01-13 11:46

    Can we believe any research we read about today... or is it all tainted by those financing it??

  • delahvonne - 2012-01-13 13:35

    Next thing we'll be reading that high blood pressure is actually good for one , it keeps the heart muscle fit :-)

      Wall - 2012-01-17 16:25

      delahvonne, don't joke too much - I listened to a speech the other day where a doctor emphatically stated that cholesterol isn't actually an issue to be worried about. Don't know if I quite believe that...

  • ludlowdj - 2012-01-13 15:08

    Research in modern time can be be dismissed as being biased and inaccurate, Of course anything scientific should be questioned, especially considering that a few hundred years ago the scientific review board of the day, had people burnt at the stake for even suggesting that the earth wasn't flat or that we weren't the center of the universe. Any honest Scientist will tell you that our facts of today are based on the most probable or best fitting answer and it will be changed when a better answer is found. Before the scientific fraternity starts screaming in rage, its little body shaking with indignation, I have to admit that yes science has provided answers that are fairly much cast in stone and yes a lot are based on accepted rules of nature, and yes ongoing studies help us understand our world better. The unfortunate truth however is that for ever study produced which says something is bad for you there is an equal one which says it is good. most studies shadowing the beliefs of those who pay for them, not necessarily because they have been crooked, but because if you are looking for a specific outcome, you simply continue studying until you get it.

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