Camp DASH was supposed to be a gold-standard study of diet-mitigated hypertension in adolescents. Instead, it became a venue for chaos.
ON JULY 18, an adolescent girl participating in a camp-like nutrition study at Purdue University went to the bathroom at the school’s Tarkington Hall dormitory to take a shower. Soon after, her peers told her there was a video of that shower on social media. The events that followed eventually shut down an $8.8 million research study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and left one of the nation’s top research institutions circling the wagons as it scrambled to investigate what had gone wrong.
The girl was one of 78 participants in a study called Camp DASH — short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension — which was being led by Purdue’s Department of Nutrition Science. Researchers, assessing the effects of a low sodium diet on 11- to 15-year-old boys and girls with elevated blood pressure, were set to host the children in campus housing for seven weeks over the summer.