This post initially appeared on Science Blogs
Last month, I linked to an article written by Harvard graduate student Laura Strittmatter about Resveratrol, a compound in red wine that had been linked to anti-aging effects in studies on rodents. Recently, a paper was published in Nature calling that research into question. This isn't a problem in science - this is how it's supposed to work. New research examines previous claims, and strengthens the case or knocks it down. Either way, we win.
In that spirit, Laura picked through the new paper and brings us a special edition of the Flash:
A recent article in the journal Nature calls into question previous findings about the scientific basis of lifespan extension. The authors of that article argue that the scientists who first reported lifespan extension in model organisms compared their "long-lived" organisms to improper control organisms, rendering their experimental findings invalid[...]
The authors of the original study responded in the same issue of Nature and agreed that their previous experiments were flawed. However, these scientists also repeated their previous experiment with proper controls and found that over-production of sirtuins did make roundworms live longer, albeit not by as much as originally claimed (only 10-14%)
This is what scientific controversy looks like. As ERV has been writing about for ages, scientists are wrong all the time. When it's your own data is being challenged, it's understandable if you get a bit defensive, but you duke it out with data. Eventually, scientific consensus shifts one way or the other and we all come out knowing more than we did. Laura does a great job of describing the controversy, the data, and why it's all a good thing. Check it out!