Mmmm…red wine. The nectar of the gods and elixir of what ails the human heart in more ways than one; it’s been common knowledge for years that a glass of wine both calms the nerves and provides cardiovascular health benefits. But now, the research that those health claims are based on is in question.

From Reuters:

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.”

Das’ research not only led to the popular claim that red wine is a good daily prescription for good heart health, but also led drug companies to invest heavily in the study and re-creation of resveratrol’s benefits. Although some experts say that the possible frauds committed by Das don’t necessarily invalidate his research, his university has declined almost one million dollars in grants earned through the researcher’s work and has notified the journals that have published his studies of the misconduct. Dipak Das refuses to fully comment on the matter, except to say that the allegations are part of a “conspiracy” against him that has caused him great stress and contributed to a stroke that he suffered last year (wow).

As for red wine itself, it never made much sense to me that drinking it every day is actually good for you overall; I love the stuff but you won’t catch me holding my nose and shooting it back to stay heart-healthy… I love a nice Cabernet and that’s all I need it to be. The idea that grape compounds themselves have healing properties makes good sense, but let’s not act like winos have skin or health statistics that we should be envying, or that anyone is at home drinking wine every day just to be healthy…or are they?

Do you think red wine has health benefits?

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  • Ms. Terious

    Actually, red wine IS good for you. It has a lot of health benefits. (look up the French paradox. Anyway, certain red wines are full of procyanidins which serve as antioxidants. These procyandins can improve cerebral hemodynamics and possibly slow down the effects of free radicals. The problem is that this author toyed with the data. The effects are there and they are quite robust, the dude just failed, thats all.

    Oh, and just fyi, procyandin can be found in dark chocolate, apples, cinnamon, blueberries and grapes (eat and be merry people!).

  • peter cork

    From the NY Times article: “The charges, if verified, seem unlikely to affect the field of resveratrol research itself, because Dr. Das’s work was peripheral to its central principles…” If the suspect published research was only PERIPHERAL it means that it was relatively minor, i.e., the main principles of resveratrol and the benefits of it (as contained in in red wine) are not being refuted!