Did you know that chocolate milk can improve cognitive function? In fact that one particular brand of chocolate milk can help cognitive function? Seriously, it’s all right here in this report from the University of Maryland. Of course the study was also partly sponsored by the chocolate milk company which makes the chocolate milk with all the “health benefits,” so there is that.
The University of Maryland is not unique here. There’s been a push to commercialize university research, and it’s happening across North America.
As this 2015 review in BioMed Central, describes, “The growing emphasis on commercialization of university research may be exerting unfounded pressure on researchers and misrepresenting scientific research realities, prospects and outcomes.”
The authors of that review explain that the industry-academia partnerships are currently happening in a sort of a free-for-all environment, where the rules of engagement are often unclear or unwritten. They call for a serious review of the policies. In the meantime, researchers have been finding that industry involvement can bias results and shape the direction of research.
I think it’s pretty safe to guess that University of Maryland scientists may not have chosen to study the very narrow question of how one brand of milk affects concussions had it not been for the brand’s involvement in the science.