Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Journal retracts Nfld. scientist's controversial vitamin article

CBC News
March 2, 2005

Journal retracts Nfld. scientist's controversial vitamin article

ST. JOHN'S, NFLD. - The academic journal that published controversial research by a Canadian researcher touting the benefits of vitamin supplements for seniors has issued a retraction.

In 2001, Nutrition published an article written by Dr. Ranjit Chandra, an immunologist who was then working at Newfoundland's Memorial University.

* FROM JUNE 10, 2004: Journals call for review of scientist's multivitamin research

In its latest issue, Nutrition says the journal should not have published the article by Chandra, a prominent researcher who received the Order of Canada and was nominated for a Nobel Prize in 1992.

In the article, Chandra claimed that when his elderly test subjects took his combination of vitamins and minerals, their brain functions – including memory – showed dramatic improvement.

The British Medical Journal, one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world, refused to publish Chandra's results.

It said his study showed "all the hallmarks of being entirely invented."

However, Nutrition – a smaller journal based in Syracuse, N.Y. – decided to publish it.

Editor Michael Meguid says an analysis of Chandra's study shows significant problems.

"A group of scientists and investigators found some of the claims made implausible, not reproducible, that the basis on which the data was analyzed was not appropriate and could not yield the results claimed," Meguid said.

* Coverage from CBC Newfoundland

Chandra was not willing to co-operate in the investigation, Meguid said, and he would not agree to turn over raw data for analysis.

Chandra has since retired from Memorial University, where he worked for nearly 30 years.

University spokesperson John Strawbridge praised the journal for its action.

"If there's a problem that's discovered about a particular piece of research, and it's found to be problematic and possibly not to have been done, then it's up to the journals to say that," Strawbridge said.

Chandra has since patented the multivitamin formula, and is the president of Javaan Corp., the company that sells vitamin products by mail order in the United States.

He divides his time between India and Switzerland.

CBC was not able to contact him for an interview.

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