If you’re thinking about raising a glass of red wine this evening, you may want to hold the toast to a healthy heart. Depending on which studies you’ve read, that is.
Last week, a prominent researcher from the University of Connecticut was found guilty of falsifying nearly a decade of scientific research. The main focus of his work was the link between heart health and a chemical that is found in red wine.
Dr. Dipak K. Das is a professor of surgery, and Director of the Cardiovascular Research Centre at the University of Connecticut. The bulk of Das’ research focused on the chemical resveratrol. Found in the skin of red grapes, resveratrol is widely thought to have antioxidant properties.
The research conducted by Das and colleagues promoted the idea that resveratrol, taken through moderate consumption of red wine, was linked to a healthy cardiovascular system and overall longevity.
Das has been charged with nearly 150 counts of data falsification and fabrication.
In more than 20 papers produced since 2002, there is evidence that Das’ team used imaging software to manipulate lab results. This, in turn, changed the outcome of the studies.
The University is working to remediate the situation, which includes removing Das of his current positions and titles. It also requires informing scientific journals of the false data.
Clearing the records of all falsified data will be difficult, as the papers in question have been cited and referenced by many researchers in the last decade.
Despite the scope of research that this investigation will impact, there have been unrelated studies that discuss the health benefits of resveratrol.
Though you may not have to dump out that merlot, remember to enjoy in moderation, and incorporate other heart-healthy behaviours.
Leigha Benford is the Today's Science intern at Science North, covering the most up-to-date events in science and technology.