Everything This Researcher Said About Baby Formula May Be Wrong

The British Medical Journal retracted a 1989 study about the role of breastfeeding and baby formula in infant eczema this week because of scientific misconduct on the part of the study author, Dr. Ranjit Kumar Chandra. The journal editors called the decades-late retraction “a major failure of scientific governance.”

The retracted study claimed that mothers from families with a history of eczema could reduce their babies’ risk of developing the disease by following a restrictive diet or feeding their babies formula. An internal investigation by the Canadian university that employed Chandra at the time of his study determined in 1995 that the data to support these claims were entirely fraudulent.

The university, however, didn’t release the results of its investigation to the public. It was “The Secret Life of Dr. Chandra,” a three-part documentary produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Company, that first exposed the researcher’s misconduct in 2006. This summer, Chandra, a well-known researcher who’d gained international recognition for his work, lost a $132 million libel suit he filed against the CBC in response to the documentary and has since left the country. Chandra did not respond to the BMJ’s request for comment, and HuffPost’s requests for comment to Chandra’s India-based nutritional supplement company were not immediately returned.

“We had always maintained that our journalism got the story right and the content was true,” Emma Bédard, a spokesperson for the CBC, told The Huffington Post. “Clearly, the jury agreed with us.”

Chandra came under fire long before the CBC documentary

Perhaps the most distressing aspect of the BMJ retraction is that it took more than two decades for Chandra’s falsified data to be exposed publicly.

In 1993, Chandra’s colleagues at the Memorial University of Newfoundland suspected that he had falsified some of his study —> Read More