Thursday, January 12, 2012

Red Wine, Green Tea, and Pseudoscience

{ Red wine, green tea, and pseudoscience }  

Oh, for crying out loud. Red wine researchers apparently faking data about resveratrol, which is hoped to be a substance that can slow down aging and aid the body's ability to heal itself. There's big money in the health claims made by food and drink people (and I'm looking at you, green tea and pu-erh sellers), which can be undercut by these kinds of shenanigans.

(Photo found on a blog called, "Bloody Students," written by Merys, who is a newly minted pediatrician.)


Alex Zorach said...

I think, in the long run, the only way to stop this sort of thing is to remove the cash incentive.

Only when researchers are acting out of a self-motivated search for the truth is science truly impartial.

We see the same thing happen on a much broader scale with the problems of publication bias in pharmaceutical trials. There is growing evidence, for example, that most antidepressant medications, when you look on long time-scales, are no more effective than placebo, but these results do not show up in the literature as frequently, because these studies get published less often than those with strong results.

I trust the scientific method but I do not fully trust what we call "science" in today's society; it is too corrupted by money, and I think is best viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism.