NEW YORK (AP) — The University of Maryland has disavowed its study that said a company's chocolate milk could help athletes recover from concussions, citing a range of problems uncovered by an internal investigation.
The university said Friday it was reviewing its research procedures as a result, and deleting press releases about Fifth Quarter's milk from its website. It is also returning $228,910 provided by the company and a co-op of milk producers.
The moves come after the school faced a backlash for a press release, issued in December, that said a preliminary study showed Fifth Quarter's milk helped improve the cognitive and motor functions of high school football players, even after suffering concussions.
The announcement was criticized for touting a specific brand. Critics said the incident also illustrated the breakdown in scientific standards that can occur when companies fund research about their own products.
In July, another university press release had declared that Fifth Quarter's milk outperformed competing products in aiding post-exercise recovery, though details were not made available.
The two-part study was funded through a university program intended to boost Maryland's economy by partnering local businesses with researchers.
In a report on its internal investigation, the university said it found a "concerning lack of understanding of the basic principles of conflict of interest in research at all levels of the process." It said the study also had too many uncontrolled variables to produce meaningful results.