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Reading the ACTUAL Studies

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  • Need2Exerc1seNeed2Exerc1se Posts: 13,589Member Member Posts: 13,589Member Member
    I can't say I've ever read a study that's been posted here :blushing: , my eyes just glaze over and reminds of my school day's. I just go by common sense and my own personal experience.

    I have read several that have been posted, but since I believe that while single studies can be very interesting, they rarely (as in almost never) warrant changes to diet. They are but one piece in a very large puzzle. So, I listen to experts who have studied the full body of evidence (not mass media) for basic guidelines and basically do that same as you - common sense and personal experience.
  • stealthqstealthq Posts: 4,307Member Member Posts: 4,307Member Member
    snikkins wrote: »
    senecarr wrote: »
    emdeesea wrote: »
    I can't say I've ever read a study that's been posted here :blushing: , my eyes just glaze over and reminds of my school day's. I just go by common sense and my own personal experience.

    Same here. If I don't have time to read the paper, I'll just read the abstract. But a good rule of thumb to me is just to find out who funded the study. Like that one I read last year I think that Diet Coke is healthier than water. Funded by - you guessed it - Cola Cola. :neutral:

    Actually that is not the way to understand studies. Funding and conflict of interest should be transparent, and it raises wariness for looking at study design, but it doesn't invalidate results.

    Hehe I knew you'd be the first to jump on that one :smile:

    Let me be the second then.
    There's preciously few people who f***ed up their reputation by lying enough to be completely disregarded from the getgo. Mercola, Oz, etc.

    I'll jump on that as well. Research is expensive and so a lot of times it'll only get done if someone is willing to pay for it.

    +1

    In addition, 'funded by' does not mean 'conducted by'. We've done plenty of research that got funded by various groups mid-way through because our pilot research results were of interest to them. Once the funds are committed, it's not like they get pulled if the end results are not in the funder's favor (there may be situations where that happens, but it is not the norm and would be in the original contract).

    The bigger concern is that for the most part, only studies that have significant results of some nature are published. Which means when we read research papers, we do not see potentially numerous studies that have occurred with no significant results. The exception is if there's been a push to question a previous result (like high sodium == hypertension)*. The imbalance of publication creates an automatic bias.

    *Actually, a better example is drug trials where the drug makes it to market - actual results are statistically likely to be much less impressive than initially thought. Later, other groups do trials and the true distribution of response becomes more clear.
    edited March 2016
  • stealthqstealthq Posts: 4,307Member Member Posts: 4,307Member Member
    senecarr wrote: »
    emdeesea wrote: »
    I can't say I've ever read a study that's been posted here :blushing: , my eyes just glaze over and reminds of my school day's. I just go by common sense and my own personal experience.

    Same here. If I don't have time to read the paper, I'll just read the abstract. But a good rule of thumb to me is just to find out who funded the study. Like that one I read last year I think that Diet Coke is healthier than water. Funded by - you guessed it - Cola Cola. :neutral:

    Actually that is not the way to understand studies. Funding and conflict of interest should be transparent, and it raises wariness for looking at study design, but it doesn't invalidate results.

    Hehe I knew you'd be the first to jump on that one :smile:

    Let me be the second then.
    There's preciously few people who f***ed up their reputation by lying enough to be completely disregarded from the getgo. Mercola, Oz, etc.

    As someone who has had to have research validated and approved, I know that the IRB controlling the studies, along with the FDA or government regulating body, watch the results very carefully, regardless of the funding (the IRB watches much more closely than the government regulators, when government regulators are required.)

    This has not been my experience. Our IRB watches like hawks for regulations violations and patients' rights violations, not misrepresenting results. And the FDA - they're so focused on regulating the digital data I'm not sure they can see the forest for the trees.

    Does anyone remember the study that came out around 1998-ish on the ridiculously high percentage of falsified data in journal articles? I was in grad school at the time and it was a very hot topic for obvious reasons. It's gone down since, now that the journals check for illicit image manipulation and such, but it's still going on in more subtle ways.

    Thought this might be a fun read - and a hint on how to spot crummy science if you're not actually a scientist :tongue:

    jls.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/11/05/0261927X15614605?papetoc

    tl;dr for the paper: (check for overuse of jargon)
  • ndj1979ndj1979 Posts: 29,021Member Member Posts: 29,021Member Member
    people can't even be bothered with reading a whole thread, so there is no way they are going to want to read a whole study ...
  • soulofgracesoulofgrace Posts: 175Member Member Posts: 175Member Member
    I find it bothersome that these social media click bait articles often don't link the actual scientific study. Last week or the week before when the big story was "high glycemic foods cause cancer," I searched Google Scholar and couldn't find the actual study...not even behind a paywall. I just moved on. For me, not including a citation is as good as invalidating the issue. It's extremely irksome.
  • EvgeniZyntxEvgeniZyntx Posts: 24,424Member Member Posts: 24,424Member Member
    I can't say I've ever read a study that's been posted here :blushing: , my eyes just glaze over and reminds of my school day's. I just go by common sense and my own personal experience.

    Don't worry, we know. ;)
    edited March 2016
  • EvgeniZyntxEvgeniZyntx Posts: 24,424Member Member Posts: 24,424Member Member
    OP - to get the original article I usually do the following:

    - look for a link to the article or abstract in the review
    - Go to PMC (PubMed Central) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/ and search for the article or abstract.
    - Once on the abstract click on LinkOut and sources and see if one of the links has the article in full
    - If the article is not available or is behind a pay wall I then search on Google with "<article title> file:pdf" often enough this is sufficient to get the article
    - if the article is still not available and I consider it important to me (this is rare) - I'll send a quick mail to the principal investigator for the research, requesting a copy.

    good luck.
  • tomtebodatomteboda Posts: 2,176Member Member Posts: 2,176Member Member
    This was not the precise XKCD comic I was looking for (does anyone have the one on the science news process?). However it seemed appropriate to this discussion.

    ua6g7kqf9sk9.png
    [url="http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/citogenesis.png "]http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/citogenesis.png [/url]
    edited March 2016
  • tomtebodatomteboda Posts: 2,176Member Member Posts: 2,176Member Member
    stealthq wrote: »
    Thought this might be a fun read - and a hint on how to spot crummy science if you're not actually a scientist :tongue:

    jls.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/11/05/0261927X15614605?papetoc

    tl;dr for the paper: (check for overuse of jargon)

    Falsified data is *still* a hot topic, particularly after a number of crucial discoveries about this and irreproducibility in the biological sciences. They've been posting regular articles and essays in Science over the last year or so.

    One year I had the interesting experience of teaching what my university called "Survey of Chemistry" and my department called "Chemistry for Poets." I made reading about science a cornerstone of the course. That included recognizing the warning signs of pseudoscience and poor science reporting. I figured it'd come in more useful for the students than remembering how to fill orbitals.
  • stevencloserstevencloser Posts: 8,917Member Member Posts: 8,917Member Member
    I find it bothersome that these social media click bait articles often don't link the actual scientific study. Last week or the week before when the big story was "high glycemic foods cause cancer," I searched Google Scholar and couldn't find the actual study...not even behind a paywall. I just moved on. For me, not including a citation is as good as invalidating the issue. It's extremely irksome.

    That's nothing. I once read an article talking about a study that mentioned the Journal and time of Release so I checked out the full Journal issue which was free in their archives and the study was just not there. I even checked earlier issues. Either they wrote that article many months before release Or they simply made up where it got released.
  • yarwellyarwell Posts: 10,573Member Member Posts: 10,573Member Member
    http://www.jclinepi.com/article/S0895-4356(16)00147-5/abstract - "Evidence-based medicine has been hijacked"
    Meta-analyses and guidelines have become a factory, mostly also serving vested interests. National and federal research funds are funneled almost exclusively to research with little relevance to health outcomes. We have supported the growth of principal investigators who excel primarily as managers absorbing more money.
  • EvgeniZyntxEvgeniZyntx Posts: 24,424Member Member Posts: 24,424Member Member
    yarwell wrote: »
    http://www.jclinepi.com/article/S0895-4356(16)00147-5/abstract - "Evidence-based medicine has been hijacked"
    Meta-analyses and guidelines have become a factory, mostly also serving vested interests. National and federal research funds are funneled almost exclusively to research with little relevance to health outcomes. We have supported the growth of principal investigators who excel primarily as managers absorbing more money.

    Did you even read that? That is possibly the most convoluted salami slicing eulogy cum editorial I've ever seen in a journal. It's like the Jeff Lebowski of Evidence Based Medicine; that is not only not right, it is not even wrong.
  • annaskiskiannaskiski Posts: 1,212Member Member Posts: 1,212Member Member
    emdeesea wrote: »
    I can't say I've ever read a study that's been posted here :blushing: , my eyes just glaze over and reminds of my school day's. I just go by common sense and my own personal experience.

    Same here. If I don't have time to read the paper, I'll just read the abstract. But a good rule of thumb to me is just to find out who funded the study. Like that one I read last year I think that Diet Coke is healthier than water. Funded by - you guessed it - Cola Cola. :neutral:

    Well, that's probably true if you lived in Flint, MI....or some of those other cities with water problems LOL
  • EvgeniZyntxEvgeniZyntx Posts: 24,424Member Member Posts: 24,424Member Member
    senecarr wrote: »
    emdeesea wrote: »
    I can't say I've ever read a study that's been posted here :blushing: , my eyes just glaze over and reminds of my school day's. I just go by common sense and my own personal experience.

    Same here. If I don't have time to read the paper, I'll just read the abstract. But a good rule of thumb to me is just to find out who funded the study. Like that one I read last year I think that Diet Coke is healthier than water. Funded by - you guessed it - Cola Cola. :neutral:

    Actually that is not the way to understand studies. Funding and conflict of interest should be transparent, and it raises wariness for looking at study design, but it doesn't invalidate results.

    Plus emdeesea didn't actually read the study just the polemic around it. Because the actual study does not say diet coke is healthier than water.

    What it did say was that there wasn't evidence of an increase in energy consumption from diet drinks. And that in certain cases, the use of diet drinks within the context of a meal might reduce the consumption of dessert...

    People should read the actual research.

    ABSTRACT: "Overall, the balance of evidence indicates that use of LES [low energy sweetners] in place of sugar, in children and adults, leads to reduced EI (energy intake) and BW (body weight), and possibly also when compared with water.

    WHAT THE ACTUAL STUDY SAYS:
    "Energy Intake did not differ for LES versus water, LES versus unsweetened product or LES versus nothing."

    "We found a considerable weight of evidence in favour of consumption of LES in place of sugar as helpful in reducing relative EI and BW, with no evidence from the many acute and sustained intervention studies in humans that LES increase EI. Importantly, the effects of LES-sweetened beverages on BW also appear neutral relative to water, or even beneficial in some contexts."

    "On the other hand, evidence from studies of ‘sensory-specific satiety’ show that acute exposure to sweetness decreases subsequent desire for the same or other sweet (relative to non-sweet) items. Consistent with this, participants in the CHOICE trial receiving LES beverages specifically reduced consumption of dessert items relative to those receiving water. One possible interpretation is that access to LES satisfies a pre-existing desire for sweetness, rather than promoting it."

    Which is a referenced observation - not their original conclusions.
    http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v40/n3/full/ijo2015177a.html
  • robertw486robertw486 Posts: 1,993Member, Greeter, Premium Member Posts: 1,993Member, Greeter, Premium Member
    The research is great, but you still have to always look for potential errors and/or bias when you read the studies. Personally when I see articles and such without citations, they are usually involving some type of woo, and don't have science to back their point of view. Not always, but quite often.

    And that leads me to another point. Even with good studies and data, various skill sets might make various people miss the inaccurate sections or introduction of error. I found what I consider a gross error in the studies and methods used for the Tabata protocols. I've never noticed any of the "peers" in the medical community point them out or question them, yet I found it quickly due to knowledge base in other areas.

    So at some point, we should all also understand that even those well versed in science are subject to being wrong, and might miss something that the average person can catch.
  • stealthqstealthq Posts: 4,307Member Member Posts: 4,307Member Member
    robertw486 wrote: »
    The research is great, but you still have to always look for potential errors and/or bias when you read the studies. Personally when I see articles and such without citations, they are usually involving some type of woo, and don't have science to back their point of view. Not always, but quite often.

    And that leads me to another point. Even with good studies and data, various skill sets might make various people miss the inaccurate sections or introduction of error. I found what I consider a gross error in the studies and methods used for the Tabata protocols. I've never noticed any of the "peers" in the medical community point them out or question them, yet I found it quickly due to knowledge base in other areas.

    So at some point, we should all also understand that even those well versed in science are subject to being wrong, and might miss something that the average person can catch.

    +1

    This happens all the time in my field (which is really an amalgamation of 4-5 different fields). It's why papers ideally have an assortment of reviewers, although it frequently doesn't happen thanks to lack of availability.
  • girlinahatgirlinahat Posts: 2,937Member Member Posts: 2,937Member Member
    just as an aside, actually READING studies is harder than you think due to the paywalls put up. And don't get to think that this is to do with the researchers wanting to profit from their studies, not at all - in fact the researchers have to PAY the journals to put their research in them.

    So when we think about funding for research, lets add thinking about funding to publish and funding to read.

    more info for those who'd like to dig deeper into this, which I was quite shocked by:

    the-academic-publishing-scandal-in-two-minutes
  • SingRunTingSingRunTing Posts: 2,605Member Member Posts: 2,605Member Member
  • GaleHawkinsGaleHawkins Posts: 7,617Member Member Posts: 7,617Member Member
    @Equus5374 all the above is good. I moved to Google and my son told me about how to use Google Chrome's highlight and right click search feature. Of there are other articles based off of a study where you can only find an abstract for free this feature can help find them. Because the writer has the full study often he/she will have a lot more details than just the abstract. It is a great feature to get meanings of terms etc on the fly when reading research .
  • WetcoasterWetcoaster Posts: 1,790Member Member Posts: 1,790Member Member
    Here are a couple interesting reads

    Food companies distort nutrition science. Here's how to stop them.
    http://www.vox.com/2016/3/3/11148422/food-science-nutrition-research-bias-conflict-interest



    http://www.foodpolitics.com/
    edited March 2016
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