• Read 279 Mindless News Reports About Resveratrol And Wine at Google News.

    Posted May 17, 2014: by Bill Sardi

    You can read them all — all 279 of them at GoogleNews. Modern medicine can release falsehoods against one of the most promising dietary supplement ingredients and the news media will propagate it without question.

    It’s obvious the nation’s health reporters mindlessly parroted the press release emanating from Johns Hopkins Medicine that errantly claimed the red wine molecule resveratrol (rez-vair-ah-trol) was of worthless value in reducing overall mortality among senior adults living in a wine-making region of Italy over a period of 9 years. Over 279 news reporters never doubted what researchers said. They just re-wrote the news story and hurried it into publication.

    If that study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine was so authoritative, why didn’t two of the most prestigious news organizations even cover it? The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal made no mention of it.

    If reporters had scrutinized that report they would have asked if researchers had adjusted for the fact that more than three times as many study participants smoked tobacco in the heavy wine-drinking group (25.1%) versus teetotalers and occasional wine drinkers (7.7%).

    Mortality rates among smokers are high and tobacco use has been shown to negate mortality reduction among wine drinkers. [ResveratrolNews.com May 15, 2014] A direct inquiry about this was dispatched to the study’s lead author with no response received.

    Publication of a sole report in JAMA Internal Medicine didn’t corroborate with over two decades of epidemiological data showing modern red wine drinking reduces mortality rates for coronary artery disease. The JAMA Internal Medicine (JAMA Internal Medicine May 12, 2014] report erroneously reported that there was no significant reduction in overall mortality (not cardiovascular mortality) among those who drank the most wine (2.6+ glasses/day).

    The reporters obviously didn’t read the whole report or they would have discovered, buried in the statistical tabulations of the study and only mentioned in passing by the study’s authors, was the fact that those who drank the most wine were half as likely to experience mental decline over the 9 years of the study. [ResveratrolNews.com May 15, 2014]

    How could that astounding finding be overlooked? Why would the study’s authors and peer reviewers only devote one sentence to it within the text of the report?

    Oddly, wine industry publications didn’t raise any objection to this report. They might as well have thrown their wine glasses into the fireplace and empty their wine bottles down the drain. [Wine Spectator May 16, 2014] Was modern medicine wrong for two decades and then suddenly this single study charted a different course? Doesn’t any reporter know how to critically examine a scientific study?

    I decided to challenge one particularly scurrilous report written by Crystal Phend at MedPageToday.com entitled “HypeWatch: Resveratrol Study Not a Shocker.” [MedPageToday.com May 13, 2014]

    Reporter Phend interviews resveratrol critic and one of Big Pharma’s protagonists Derrek Lowe to errantly say “resveratrol is cleared from the body too fast and gets into the blood in too low a concentration to be expected to have much impact.” [In The Pipeline Corante.com April 9, 2012] Of course, that misinformation has been erased by recent data showing resveratrol is highly bioavailable even in its liver-metabolized form. [ResveratrolNews.com Oct 4, 2013]

    MedPageToday.com reporter Phend then referred to an alleged scandal in 2012 where noted resveratrol researcher Dipak K Das, PhD, “fabricated and falsified data on the cardioprotective effects of the compound.” [MedPageToday.com Jan 12, 2012] Phend then proceeded to say: “Large pharma companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, have largely abandoned the compound.” Or did Big Pharma just bury it by not proceeding with further research.

    If reporter Phend had conducted further examination she would have found Dr. Das’ studies had been independently corroborated by researchers in Italy and Canada. [ResveratrolNews.com Sept 25, 2013] And again, the French Paradox still reigned true – modest wine drinking confers a dramatic reduction in coronary artery disease mortality, reported to decline from 240 to 90 per 100,000 adults in 1995.

    Why did the university that made the initial allegations against Dr. Das, after being challenged, yank their website offline that presented all the graphic evidence of Dr. Das’ doctoring of the science? Why wasn’t Dr. Das given opportunity to defend himself against these charges (no Constitutional due process)? Why couldn’t the university that launched these charges produce an evidence disc to Dr. Das’ legal counsel?

    I dispatched an email to the editors at MedPageToday.com asking for a retraction and/or a rebuttal. Here is the content of that email (May 16, 2014):

    TO: Crystal Phend and editors MEDPAGETODAY.com

    Did you think the French Paradox phenomenon just faded from existence with the publication of that wine study in JAMA Internal Medicine?

    Over two decades of studies should now be erased that wine drinking is good for you in modest doses (3-5 glasses)?

    By the way, the JAMA Internal Medicine study involved resveratrol in the context of wine, not as a supplement by itself, but your news story implies otherwise.

    Did you read the entire study?  25.1% of the heavy wine drinkers smoked tobacco versus just 7.7% of the teetotalers and occasional wine drinkers, which explains why there was no effect.  It is well documented in the medical literature that smoking negates the effect of wine drinking. [ResveratrolNews.com May 15, 2014] The researchers said they adjusted for smoking, but that was likely an adjustment for the study group overall.  If you adjusted by over 300% for the mortality rate among the heavy drinkers/smokers (difference between 7.7% and 25.1%) you would certainly have an advantage for wine drinking.

    The benefits of wine drinking are attributed to its polyphenol content as a whole, not just the trivial amount of resveratrol consumed from wine in this study, which differed by just 1 mg among the high (3 mg) and low (2 mg) wine drinkers.

    Your story is filled with misinformation, but I don’t expect you to retract it.  It will serve as a permanent source of misinformation.  I’ll write your editors asking for a retraction or at least a rebuttal.

    By the way, the authors of the JAMA Internal Medicine report only made passing mention that 32% of the teetotalers and occasional wine drinkers were deemed to suffer with mental decline over the 9 years of the study versus just 16% among the heavy wine drinkers.  Did you miss that major finding too?

    Bill Sardi, ResveratrolNews.com and Resveratrol Partners LLC

    MedPageToday’s reporter Crystal Phend did review other news reports (CNN, USA TODAY, Bloomberg News and Forbes.com) about this published science but never appeared to notice two of the most prestigious news sources in the country (NY Times and the Wall Street Journal) passed it up.©2014 Bill Sardi, ResveratrolNews.com

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