Science & Technology

Hospital Admits Weak Science Behind Aspartame Study

Link between artificial sweetener and cancer is small


A new study finding a potential cancer risk from the artificial sweetener aspartame is so weak that Brigham and Women's Hospital  -- a Harvard teaching facility -- is now apologizing for promoting the research. In other words, if you see a headline screaming, "Aspartame linked to cancer," don't believe it. But it may be too late; the situation is a great example of why the public often finds science confusing and frustrating.

Earlier in the week the hospital sent out a press release about the study with the headline "The truth isn't sweet when it comes to artificial sweeteners."

After being asked some hard questions – and just before the report was to be released --  the hospital changed its tune, issuing a statement that said: "Upon review of the findings, the consensus of our scientific leaders is that the data is weak, and that BWH Media Relations was premature in the promotion of this work. We apologize for the time you have invested in this story."