Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reducing potential bias in industry-funded nutrition research. My Letter to the Editor:

Reducing potential bias in industry-funded nutrition research -- Lesser 90 (3): 699 -- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

In the above article I point out the fault in previously published guidelines on nutrition industry - research interactions. Instead of the industry policing themselves with guidelines, I argue that the journal editors should make and enforce policies on industry collaboration in nutrition research.

I cite several policies by other medical journals that the nutrition journals could adopt to increase the integrity of nutrition research.

The response to my letter was from Mr. Hentges. He side stepped most of the issues I brought up. He could not defend his group's initial argument that industry is more likely to have better results in their research. He also did not respond to my idea of stricter journal editorial policies.

However, he did agree with me that increased full disclosure of conflicts of interest would benefit research. But, he did not further back up this claim with action. His own conflict of interest statement states that he is the director of ILSI supported by North America "industry membership." Full disclosure would mean stating all the food industries that ILSI is funded by. Surely readers might want to know if he is funded by Coca Cola, Kraft, and the other food giants. These details used to be on their website, but I could no longer find it.

I will continue to view industry-funded nutrition research skeptically. You should to. Now it is time for journal editors to reform their policies.
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