Oh no! Say it ain’t so. Red wine researcher published fake data

on 13/01/12 at 10:03 am

Booze News

This 2006 photo released Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012 by the University of Connecticut shows Dipak Das with grapes and wine glasses at his office at the UConn Health Center in Farmington, Conn. (AP Photo/University of Connecticut)

Are studies tying red wine to health benefits nothing more than wishful thinking? Some red wine studies may soon be called into question following a report that a top researcher at the University of Connecticut falsified data on more than 100 occasions.

UConn officials conducted an internal review into the work of Dr. Dipak K. Das, director of the cardiovascular research center at the university, after the university received an anonymous tip. Das had been known in recent years for his research on the benefits of resveratrol, a compound found in red wine. Resveratrol is thought to work because it activates proteins called sirtuins that have been shown in studies to have protective benefits.

The officials found 145 cases of fabricated or false data and notified 11 journals – including the Journal of Cellular & Molecular Medicine and Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry – of its review, the university said in a written statement.

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

As a result of UConn’s three-year investigation that culminated in a 60,000 page report on the allegations, UConn has declined $890,000 in research grants and cut off external funding to the lab.

It’s unclear at this time which studies contained falsified data, so wine aficionados can hold out hope that red wine might benefit a person’s health.

The Connecticut Mirror reports that much of the research discrepancies centered on “western blot” figures, which illustrate specific proteins from tissue samples. The review showed these images may have been manipulated to combine data from other experiments, which were passed off as coming from a single experiment.

“Many figures had more manipulations but, for expediency, the review board only noted the most obvious,” in flagging 145 cases of misconduct according, to the paper.

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