Fake and Bake Research

1208964042As anyone who’s walked along Comm. Ave. can attest, BU students love tanning salons. Male and female students alike have that orange glow even during the coldest winter months.

So, it’s not too surprising to hear that a researcher at Boston University did a study on the benefits of tanning. But the Daily Free Press reports that the scientist was taking funds for the study from a tanning industry group.

BU Medical Campus researcher Michael Holick recommended “sensible sun exposure” and the moderate use of tanning beds as ways to combat vitamin D deficiency, in the study published July 19, 2007 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The Wall Street Journal and medical publication The Cancer Letter revealed the connection between the UV Foundation and the tanning bed industry Friday. The group receives donations from the Indoor Tanning Association and tanning bed companies including Future Industries and Executive Tans[.]

It’s the second time in less than a month that BU has come under fire for accepting funds from groups that have an interest in the results of its research. Philip Morris gave nearly $4 million to the school for studies on tobacco-related diseases.

The revelation is also more bad news for the New England Journal of Medicine. The tanning bed study is the latest work to appear in the Journal that doesn’t divulge the potential conflict of interest behind the financing of the study.

Perhaps it might be wise to trade the time on the tanning bed for some time in an ethics class.