Phony data uncovered in wine-heart study

Dr. Dipak K. Das
One more reason to wonder about the reality of studies involving wine and health.

Dr. Dipak K. Das, director of the cardiovascular research center at the University of Connecticut, apparently repeatedly and regularly used fabricated or false data in articles he wrote about his research on the benefits of resveratrol, a compound found in red wine.

A number of studies have concluded that resveratrol activates proteins called sirtuins that have been shown in studies to have protective cardio benefits.

Following up on what it said was an anonymous tip, UConn officials said they found 145 cases of phony data. The university subsequently notified 11 journals that had published Das's writing, including the Journal of Cellular & Molecular Medicine and Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.

"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.

CBS cites the research bibliography site PubMed with saying Das has served as a lead author or co-author on more than 150 articles, including a January 2012 study titled, "Health benefits of wine and alcohol from neuroprotection to heart health," published in Frontiers in Bioscience.

Das' other areas of research besides resveratrol include medicines derived from plants and the molecular structure of plants and herbs and their effect on heart disease, according to the Associated Press.

"I don't expect this news to have a big impact on what we work on," Dr. David Sinclair, a resveratrol researcher at the Harvard Medical School, told CBS News in an e-mail. Sinclair had been featured in the 2009 "60 Minutes" report on such research. Sinclair said his research focuses on sirtuins and aging, while a lot of the published research papers in question focused on heart health.

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