Thursday, January 12, 2012

Red Wine and Resveratrol A Fraud?


"A University of Connecticut researcher who studied the link between aging and a substance found in red wine has committed more than 100 acts of data fabrication and falsification, the university said Wednesday, throwing much of his work into doubt.

"Dipak K. Das, who directed the university's Cardiovascular Research Center, studied resveratrol, touted by a number of scientists and companies as a way to slow aging or remain healthy as people get older. Among his findings, according to a work promoted by the University of Connecticut in 2007, was that 'the pulp of grapes is as heart-healthy as the skin, even though the antioxidant properties differ.'

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

It's hardly surprising.

The French Paradox arose from the fact that the French eat lots of saturated fat (especially dairy fat) yet have low rates of heart disease.  Since we knew that eating saturated fat caused heart disease, clearly something had to protect them from heart disease. 

Resveratrol was the candidate, since we all know those Frenchies drink red wine all day. (Don't you love how this science was justified by a crude stereotype?)

Of course now we know that saturated animal fat not only doesn't cause heart disease, but that eating lots of dairy fat is protective from heart disease. The French Paradox disappears.  Resveratrol is no longer needed, nor is red wine.

So why the heck are they still studying resveratrol?

Also, the only way they ever got resveratrol to do anything was by giving huge doses, far more than even the most alcoholic wine-swigging Frenchman would ever consume.

And now it turns out that guy was just faking the data? Well, he pretty much had to be, right?

(Thanks to Teech.)

P.S. For anyone interested in doing more reading on this, the Wikipedia summary has lots of links to further reading.

This pretty much sums it up, IMHO, though: "Again, there is no published evidence anywhere in the scientific literature of any clinical trial for efficacy in humans. There are limited human safety data. Long-term safety has not been evaluated in humans."

I'll pass. Call me in 50 years when you finish the long-term studies.