Dr. David Ludwig of the Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard University took on a study to find out the potential of bias among industry-funded research. His team looked specifically at the beverage industry, comprised of soft drinks, juice, and milk. Of the 111 studies reviewed, those funded entirely by industry were four times to eight times more likely to be favorable to the financial interests of the sponsors than those paid for by the government or an independent group.
The findings were not promoted as an indicator of bad science. Rather, Dr. Ludwig presented possibilities that the industry-funded studies may be set up differently, they may select topics most likely to produce favorable results, unfavorable studies may not be published, or simply that the government does not spend enough on nutrition research.
We found Dr. Ludwig’s research to be particularly fascinating. An article published previously on this website, “The 3-A-Day ™ Dairy Diet – Another Fad Flop,” looked specifically at the research study from which this plan was based. Our personal findings indicated the possibility of bias and partial representation of the facts.
Visit Reuters to read the full story on “Who paid for that study? Source affects outcome.”