First Chocolate Milk/Concussion Debate of 2016

January 12, 2016

A University of Maryland press release claiming that a study found that a particular brand of chocolate milk can help heal brain concussions is attracting criticism for lack of evidence to substantiate its claim.

A university press release said the study, which was funded by a university/industry partnership program, found the chocolate milk improved cognitive and motor function scores in both concussed and nonconcussed high school football players. However, as several websites and experts have since pointed out, the release does not explain what those scores were or by how much they improved, and the study itself was neither published nor peer reviewed. Nor is there any mention of possible conflicts of interest regarding the involvement of Fifth Quarter Fresh, the eponymous chocolate milk company, in the research process.

"In our release we stated the results were preliminary," said Joe Naft, director of Maryland's industrial partnerships. "Perhaps we should have explicitly stated the study has not been published." However, he said, by publishing the release, "we wanted to encourage further research to confirm the results."

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