Attention, wine lovers! If you thought drinking all that red wine was good for you, think again.
It turns out that the University of Connecticut researcher who announced that red wine has anti-aging qualities and is good for your heart was lying.
No Proof That Red Wine Improves Heart Health
Dipak K. Das worked as the director at the University’s Cardiovascular Research Center, and until 2008 led research on resveratrol, a substance found in the pulp and skins of grapes, as well as in grape byproducts like red wine. According to Das’s research, resveratrol can slow or even reverse signs of aging and improve heart health.
There was big money behind looking into the benefits of grapes, too; Das worked closely in conjunction with a drug maker that boasted that resveratrol was “the next asprin,” and in 2007 pharmaceutical GlaxoSmithKline bought a company expressly to research a drug that mimicked resveratrol.
145 Instances Of Fabrication And Falsification Of Data
However, in a case reminiscent of the charges brought against Dr. Andrew Wakefield for claims that the MMR vaccine could lead to autism, the 60-page summary of an investigative report into his research reveals that Dr. Dasís published research articles contain 145 instances of fabrication and falsification of data.
As a result, the University has had to return two new grants to Dr. Das, worth a total of $890,000, to the federal government.
That’s a whole lot of telling lies. I wonder what made Dr. Das persist in his fabrications?
From The New York Times:
A charge of widespread scientific fraud, involving 26 articles published in 11 journals, was leveled by the University of Connecticut today against Dipak K. Das, one of its researchers, whose work reported health benefits in red wine.
Many of the articles reported positive effects from resveratrol, an ingredient of red wine thought to promote longevity in laboratory animals.
The charges, if verified, seem unlikely to affect the field of resveratrol research itself, because Dr. Dasís work was peripheral to its central principles, several of which are in contention. ďToday I had to look up who he is. His papers are mostly in specialty journals,Ē said David Sinclair, a leading resveratrol expert at the Harvard Medical School.
The significance of the case seems more to reflect on the general system of apportioning research money. Researchers complain that federal grants are increasingly hard to get, even for high-quality research, yet money seemed to have flowed freely to Dr. Das, who was generating research of low visibility and apparently low quality.
Investigation Begun In January 2009
Apparently the investigation of Dr. Dasís work began in January 2009, two weeks after the university received an anonymous allegation about research irregularities in his laboratory. A special review board headed by Dr. Kent Morest of the University of Connecticut has now produced a 60,000-page report, which has been forwarded to the Office of Research Integrity, a federal agency that investigates fraud by researchers who receive government grants.
So, bad news for all you lovers of red wine; you can no longer pretend that your imbibing is good for your health.
That’s OK, I prefer white wine anyway.
Photo Credit: Rosemarie Wirz