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University requests cancellation of articles

On January 11, the University of Connecticut (UConn), in the USA, got in touch with science periodicals that had published articles on red wine and longevity, asking them to cancel the articles that had already been published. The person accused is Dipak Das, an Indian scientist who was the director of the Cardiovascular Research Center at the university’s health center. “We have a responsibility to correct the scientific records and inform researchers throughout the country,” said Philip Austin, the institution’s vice president for health affairs. Federal funds of US$ 890,000 for the research of Dipak Das were refused by UConn.

Investigation into the work of the Indian scientist began in 2009 after the Office of Research Integrity, a federal health research integrity supervisory body, advised UConn about a complaint involving an article published by Das’ laboratory. The problems refer more specifically to manipulation of experiments with tests called western blots, which indicate the presence and quantity of certain proteins in the blood. The relationship between wine and health benefits is the object of study worldwide, with varied results.

The investigation at UConn produced a report running to 60,000 pages into 145 accusations of falsification of information published in 23 articles. Other researchers who worked with Das may be accused of bad conduct. He denies the accusations, says that scientists from other institutions reached the same conclusions as he did, and complains of discrimination because he is Indian. In addition to the investigation at UConn, the Office of Research Integrity has opened their own enquiry into the case.