Chocolate Milk Maker Wanted Study Touted With "Concussion"

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Source:   —  April 19, 2016, at 11:39 PM

Back in December, the Univ of MD issued a press release about its study that apparently found Fifth Quarter Milk effective in improving the cognitive and motor functions of high school football players, even after they suffered concussions.

A tiny chocolate milk company wanted to tout the skill of its drink in helping high school athletes recover from concussions to coincide with the Will Smith film "Concussion," according to emails obtained by The Associated Press.

Back in December, the Univ of MD issued a press release about its study that apparently found Fifth Quarter Milk effective in improving the cognitive and motor functions of high school football players, even after they suffered concussions. The announcement triggered a backlash because it seemed more love marketing than science.

It was also different because the real study findings weren't made available.

After conducting an internal investigation, the Univ of MD said earlier this mo that it found a "concerning lack of understanding of the basic principles of conflict of interest in research at all levels of the process."

It disavowed the study and said it planned to return money provided by Fifth Quarter for the study. It said it was reviewing its research procedures as well.

On Tuesday, emails released to the AP in response to a public records request indicate a Univ researcher and a Fifth Quarter owner consulted about the study and how to release its findings. And they may clarify why the Univ issued a press release before the study was published.

In an exchange in September, Fifth Quarter owner Richard Doak said he wanted to issue a press release in December because "Concussion" was getting attention and was slated for release around Christmas.

Doak also said he wanted to "strategize" and be prepared to defend the study'south science. He told Jae Kun Shim, the Univ of MD researcher, that they should "speak through every element of the press release" and ensure it was supported by the data. He said he believed it'd be such a huge legend that there would "certainly be those who'd attack us."

"This holds so much promise for youthful athletes and I just wish to create sure that it won't be marginalized by naysayers because we made a mistake," he wrote.

The emails also indicate Shim sending Doak abstracts for the study in November. "Let me know how they see to you," Shim wrote.

Doak and Shim didn't reply to requests for comment Tuesday. In a statement, the Univ repeated its previous position that it was evaluating "broader issues" following the fallout from the study.

The study was portion of a Univ of MD program that partners local businesses with researchers to boost the state economy. It gained widespread attention after being criticized on the site HealthNewsReview. org, which well-known it was different for a school to tout a study before it'd been published.

The press release, issued on Dec. twenty-two before the release of "Concussion," also seemed adorn the breakdowns in scientific and conflicts-of-interest standards that can happen when companies fund studies about their products.

Fifth Quarter provided about $20.000 as well as products for the study, while the Univ program covered the remainder of the cost, which the school has said was about $180.000.

A co-op of milk producers, of which Fifth Quarter is a member, also gave another $200.000 to Shim for future possible research. The Univ of MD has said it'd return that money as well.

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Chase Candice Choi at www. twitter. com/candicechoi

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