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Disney tries to bury nutrition research it funded after discovering financial ties to discredited Coca-Cola researcher

Walt Disney Company

(NaturalNews) In what has been described as a "rare window" into the world of corporate-backed scientific research, the Walt Disney Company was revealed to have tried to stop the publication of a study it sponsored, due to the discreditation of one of the study's main researchers for taking money from Coca-Cola.

The science publication STAT uncovered the fact that in 2015 the Walt Disney Company asked for a nutritional study of children's meals served at Disney World to be withdrawn from publication in a scientific journal – not because it wanted to suppress the results, but because study researcher James Hill of the University of Colorado School of Medicine had been strongly criticized for accepting $550,000 from Coca-Cola while performing research on obesity for the soda giant.

Disney crosses ethical boundaries

Disney wanted to distance itself from James Hill and any bad press after his financial ties to Coca-Cola were revealed in 2015, shortly before the Disney-sponsored study was to be published.

But in trying to protect its own reputation, Disney also crossed an ethical line.

From STATnews.com:

Emails obtained by STAT show that Disney asked Hill and a coauthor to withdraw the meal study — a step that many researchers would consider a breach of ethics.

In one email, Hill told Disney an editor at the journal had advised him that "we risk some real negative PR if anyone found out that Disney was even trying to influence publication." The company relented, but was later offered an opportunity by the authors to tailor the press release about the study's findings. That, too, was unusual.

The emails do not indicate that Disney influenced the findings, but they open a rare window on the back-and-forth between researchers and a corporate sponsor. They also mark what experts described as an unusual degree of corporate involvement in an academic study.

The Walt Disney Company may not have given money to Hill, as Coca-Cola did, but their efforts in trying to have the study pulled have triggered further scrutiny of their involvement in how the study was conducted in the first place, and what was revealed is indicative of how industry-sponsored research is often influenced in subtle ways.

For example, Disney's disclosure on the paper – which was obtained along with the emails – stated that "The Walt Disney Company and the National Institutes of Health had no role in the design, analysis or writing of this article."

STATnews.com further reported:

Gary Ruskin, codirector of US Right to Know, a California-based consumer group that obtained the emails under the Colorado Open Records Act and provided them to STAT, said he was troubled by the authors' disclosure on the paper. ...

It suggests Disney shouldn't have had the opportunity to edit the press release, Ruskin said. But the emails show Disney insisting on more information about the publication before they could give approval to a press release; the authors then provided Disney with the draft release.

Ruskin said: "It's dishonest to disclose in their paper that Disney has no impact when Disney gets to approve the news release and when they do Disney's bidding to try to take the paper back."

The demise of empirical research

Perhaps Disney can't be blamed for wanting to distance themselves from Hill after the Coca-Cola scandal, but their reaction shows how many corporate sponsors do influence research, or at least attempt to control its publication.

We recently reported on the fact that as much as half of all scientific studies are either flawed or completely fabricated to reflect the desired outcome of the researchers – who are often influenced by their corporate sponsors.

Empirical scientific method has been discarded in favor of skewed and falsified research that has been tailored to fit corporate agendas. This trend threatens to shake the very foundations of science itself, which relies on accurate and non-biased research.

Once we turn our backs on real science, we are lost as a society. Our modern technological civilization was built on the principles of empirical research and is likely to crumble in their absence.

Check out Food Forensics, the new book by Health Ranger Mike Adams that details his journey of revolutionizing the food science industry to protect public health, set to be released July 26.






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