The Secret Life of Dr. Chandra

The CBC’s The National ran an exposé on Dr. Ranjit Kumar Chandra. It turns out he’s been faking his research data for 20 years:

Chandra claimed to have given 96 healthy seniors from St. John’s a daily multivitamin pill for a year. He then tested their memory for improvements. But the test results didn’t make sense.

“It turned out that the scores that his subjects were getting put them in the demented category,” Sternberg says. “The average score made them demented. Now, ah, so they would have been hospitalized or under some kind of care. But in fact, he claimed that none of them was demented. They were all normal functioning people.”

“Yeah, these people would have been too demented to understand what a study was, if you believed his numbers,” Roberts says.

Yet after just one year of taking his multivitamin, these same seniors went from demented to completely normal. Then there was Chandra’s claim that he had tested each vitamin in his multivitamin separately and at different strengths.

“It’s unbelievable. It’s just too much work. Gigantic, gigantic resources would be needed to do such a study,” Roberts says. “He’d have to have a gigantic grant just to do that study… Dozens of helpers and hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

The two professors found many more glaring errors in Chandra’s study.

Was there any possible explanation for the errors found in the study?

“Oh yes,” Roberts says. “There’s a very possible explanation. It’s that he made it up.”

Richard Smith, former editor of the British Medical Journal says:

“People who behave fraudulently tend to behave fraudulently in all aspects of their life,” Smith says. “And you see that, unfortunately, fairly commonly. And so my suspicion, not proven, is that you’ll find fraud in other aspects of his work.”

So one question remains: did he fake the data to get his PhD, too?

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