A prominent food researcher plagued by scandal has had even more studies retracted.
Brian Wansink, known for his buzzy behavioral science studies focusing on food, resigned from his post at Cornell University in September after an investigation revealed major issues with his research. His resignation came shortly after six of his high-profile journal articles were retracted.
Now, Wansink is facing more retractions, these from the Annals of Internal Medicine. One study said portion sizes and calorie counts of recipes in the Joy of Cooking increased as new editions of the cookbook were released, suggesting that home cooking might be growing less healthy.
In a statement, the journal said it contacted Wansink and his co-author after an internal investigation at Cornell revealed “academic misconduct in his research and scholarship, including misreporting of research data, problematic statistical techniques, failure to properly document and preserve research results, and inappropriate authorship.” Wansink stood by his conclusions when questioned by the journal, but his reanalysis came up with “substantially” different data than what was originally included in his study, according to the statement.
“In light of the inability to reproduce the published results, the editors cannot be confident in the integrity of the work reported in this article,” the Annals said in its retraction notice.
Another retracted study dealt with errors in estimating meals’ calorie counts. The journal found inconsistencies between the data Wansink’s co-author said had been collected by the researchers, and that reported in the paper.
In September, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) announced that six of Wansink’s research articles published in its network of journals had been retracted after JAMA raised concerns about their validity. After conducting an evaluation, Cornell told JAMA editors: “We regret that, because we do not have access to the original data, we cannot assure you that the results of the studies are valid.” The retracted studies — many of which were widely publicized by media outlets, including TIME — were published from 2005 to 2014 and covered topics including the effects of eating from large bowls, grocery shopping while hungry, eating while watching action movies and the consequences of eating everything on your plate.
Wansink has had 18 scientific articles retracted during his career, including one that was retracted, replaced and retracted again, according to the blog Retraction Watch. Before Cornell’s statement was released in September, Wansink told CNN that he stood by the results of the six studies pulled by JAMA.
Wansink’s resignation at Cornell takes effect at the end of the academic year, the school said. Among his other duties at the school, he directed the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.
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