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The New York Times reports that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has decided to shut down a study into the health effects of alcohol after an internal probe determined that “a Harvard scientist and some of (the) agency’s own staff had crossed ‘so many lines’ in pursuit of alcohol industry funding that ‘people were frankly shocked’.”

According to the story, “Kenneth J. Mukamal, the lead investigator of the trial, was in close, frequent contact with beer and liquor executives while designing the study,” with “disturbing examples of the coziness between the scientists and their industry patrons. Dr. Mukamal was eager to allay their concerns, respond to their questions and suggestions, and secure the industry’s buy-in.”

What essentially was taking place, the story says, was “a concerted campaign to obtain funding from the alcohol industry for research that may enshrine alcohol as a part of a healthy diet.”

The story notes that “Dr. Mukamal has repeatedly denied communicating with the alcohol industry while planning the trial, telling The Times last year that he had, ‘literally no contact with the alcohol industry’.” And he continues to say that “he and his colleagues ‘stand fully and forcefully behind the scientific integrity’ of the trial.”
KC's View:
Stories like these make clear why consumers often get confused - it often is because there is a lack of intellectual and scientific rigor in how they are conducted, with the bottom line being more about money than accuracy.