Wednesday November 20, 2019
Home Lead Story US Cancels A ...

US Cancels A Planned Alcohol Study Over Trust Issues

NIH Director Francis Collins temporarily suspended the study

0
//
A photo made with a fisheye lens shows bottles of alcohol in a liquor store in Salt Lake City. The National Institutes of Health said Friday that it was canceling a study of moderate drinking's health benefits because the results could not be trusted. Beer and liquor companies were helping to underwrite it.
This June 16, 2016, file photo, taken with a fisheye lens, shows bottles of alcohol during a tour of a state liquor store, in Salt Lake City. Cheap liquor, wine and beer have long been best-sellers among Utah alcohol drinkers, but new numbers from Utah's tightly-controlled liquor system show local craft brews, trendy box wines and flavored whiskies are also popular choices in a largely teetotaler state. VOA

The U.S. government is shutting down a planned study testing whether moderate drinking has health benefits over concerns that its funding by the alcohol industry would compromise its credibility.

The National Institutes of Health said Friday that the results of the planned $100 million study could not be trusted because of the secretive way that employees negotiated with beer and liquor companies to underwrite the effort.

Government officials say it is legal to use industry money to pay for government research as long as all rules are followed. However, in this case, NIH officials say employees did not follow proper procedures, including keeping their interactions with industry officials secret.

NIH Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak said the interactions between the employees and industry representatives appeared to “intentionally bias” the study so that it would have a better chance to conclude that moderate drinking is beneficial.

An NIH review panel was also concerned that the study’s proposed span of 10 years was too short a time period to adequately test the potential problems of a daily drink, such as an increased risk of cancer or heart failure.

Red wine
Red wine, Pixabay

NIH Director Francis Collins temporarily suspended the study last month after reporting by The New York Times first raised questions about the funding policy violations. Collins said Friday that he was completely shutting down the research.

“This is a matter of the greatest seriousness,’’ he said.

The study had planned to track two groups of people, one group drinking a glass of alcohol a day and another abstaining from alcohol. The study had planned to compare new cases of cardiovascular disease and the rate of new cases of diabetes among participants.

Some of the world’s largest alcoholic beverage makers, including Anheuser-Busch InBev and Heineken, had contributed to the study, although Anheuser-Busch InBev had recently withdrawn its contribution.

The NIH said of the $67.7 million raised from private donations, nearly all from the alcohol industry, $11.8 million, had been spent for the study.

Also read: New Link Found Between Alcohol, Genes And Heart Failure

The NIH’s National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) had planned to spend $20 million of its own money for the study. It said $4 million had been spent.(VOA)

Next Story

Teenagers Who View Beer Ads Likely To Start Drinking: Study

Study says that beer advertisements influences underage drinking

0
Beer advertisements
Beer advertisements are made in such a way that they influence underage drinking. Pixabay

Advertising budgets and strategies used by beer companies appear to influence underage drinking, suggests a new study.

The findings, published in the journal Addictive Behaviours Reports, showed that the amount of money spent on advertising strongly predicted the percentage of teenagers who had heard of, preferred and tried different beer brands.

For the study, the researchers involved over 1500 middle and high school students.

The study revealed that 99% participants had heard of Budweiser and Bud Light — the top spender on advertising, while 44 per cent said they had used the brand.

“We can’t say from this one study that advertisers are specifically targeting youth, but they are hitting them, if you look at beer ads, advertisers are using all the tricks we know work at grabbing children’s attention,” said study researcher Douglas Gentile from Iowa State University in the US.

Around 55% participants had at least one alcoholic drink in the past year, 31 per cent had one or more drinks at least once a month and 43 per cent engaged in heavy drinking.

When asked to name their two favourite TV commercials, alcohol-related ads had the highest recall (32 per cent) followed by soft drinks (31 per cent), fashion (19 per cent), automotive (14 per cent) and sports nine per cent.

Drinking beer
Most of the teenagers said in the survey that beer advertisements tempt them to try alcohol. Pixabay

A quarter of those surveyed said they owned alcohol-related products.

The study also found that teenagers are heavy consumers of media and therefore exposed to more advertising.

“Viewers or readers aren’t thinking about the message through a critical lens,” instead, audiences become immersed in a compelling story and identify with the characters, a process which leads them to unintentionally be persuaded by the messages of the story,” said study researcher Kristi Costabile.

During the study, researchers also asked teenagers about their intentions to drink as an adult.

Also Read- India’s Health System Underperforming: Niti Aayog

Advertising and parent and peer approval of drinking were all significant predictors of intention to drink.

“By understanding what influences behaviour we can design more effective prevention and intervention programmes to reduce underage drinking, which in turn could lessen the likelihood that alcohol use becomes a problem,” Brooke Arterberry said. (IANS)