Monday, January 9, 2012

Unhealthy dieting leads to higher weight in teens, study says

1. The study researched how consisted dieting and unhealthy weight control behaviors (smoking cigarettes, vomiting, usage of laxatives, etc.) during teen years ultimately ended in an increase in BMI across the board as opposed to those who did not diet.

2. The University of Minnesota's Institutional Review Board Human Subjects Committee completely approved of the Project EAT (Eating and Activity in Teens and Young Adults) study.

3. The sponsor of this project was interested in knowing whether or not those who dieted would “benefit” by not over eating and keeping down weight, or if dieting and other unhealthy behaviors that were practiced in a casual matter, along with binge eating during certain periods, ended up hurting more than helping.

4. The methodology involved included a study conducted in 3 waves of surveys. The first in ’98-99, then ’03-04 and finally ’08-’09. The study was conducted on residents of metro Minneapolis, 1,902 people (who responded at all three times; 819 males and 1,083 females). The surveys asked questions involving what methods of dieting each individual used, how often did they diet from “Never” to “>10 a year,” took measured the participant’s BMI in the first wave and the majority self-reported their BMI during the final wave.

5. The results are shown in a clear manner. Those who dieted more and conducted in unhealthy weight control behaviors ended up gaining a higher BMI over the 10 year time span as opposed to those who didn’t diet or opted out for healthier lifestyle changes.

6. The graphs are broken down in a very clear and concise manner. Everything is explained and there are footnotes that go with all the graphs.

Authors: Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D. Melanie Wall, Ph.D. Mary Story, Ph.D. Amber R. Standish, B.S.

Article title: Dieting and Unhealthy Weight Control Behaviors During Adolescence: Associations With 10-Year Changes in Body Mass Index

Top of Form

Publication: Journal of Adolescent Health

Published: 27 June 2011


An inverse relationship between cancer (certain forms) and neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s disease, etc)

1. This study was conducted by a group of medical professionals (physicians, scientists, medical scientists, and epidemiologists) at Washington University School of Medicine.

2. Research was funded by several institutions - major institutions include NIH (National Institutes of Health), the National Heart/Lung/and Blood Institute, and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

3. The implications of this finding are immense. At the macroscopic level there are two extremes: certain forms of cancer at one end, and neurodegenerative diseases (ND) at the other. At the microscopic level, this would suggest certain forms of cancer and ND share a common pathway. Too far one way results in cancer, too far the other way results in ND. Such statistical information provides a foundation for scientific research. Scientists can look for a common mechanism in the pathogenesis of cancer and neurodegeneration. This information would also be beneficial to pharmaceutical companies (the opportunity to treat two diseases with one drug target), the American Medical Association, government, and insurance companies, as the incidence of these diseases are expected to increase with the aging U.S. population and improved life expectancy.

4. Methods:

  • Used population-based sampling to avoid convince sampling from a particular area.

  • Avoided reporting error by using hospital records

  • Sample size = 3,020

  • Demographics – patients were separated by race

  • Used a different form of dementia (vascular dementia - VaD) that is not neurodegenerative. It was found that VaD does not protect against cancer. This suggests certain forms of cancer are associated with neurodegeneration, not dementia per se. Additionally VaD was used as a control to ensure people with cancer were not reported as free of Alzheimer’s because physicians neglected to look for Alzheimer’s (since people with cancer were reported as having dementia, non neurodegenerative in origin, the inverse association between certain forms of cancer and Alzheimer’s holds).

5. Easy to understand stats for the news paper article. For the scientific study, results are a bit difficult to interpret without a background in statistics or epidemiology.
6. No graphs provided.

News article:

Scientific study:

Roe CM, Fitzpatrick AL, Xiong C, Sieh W, Kuller L, Miller JP, Williams MM, Kopan R, Behrens MI, Morris JC. 2010. Cancer linked to Alzheimer disease but not vascular dementia. Neurology. 74 (2):106-112

30.2 percent of 23-year-olds been arrested for an offense other than a minor traffic violation.

1)Robert Brame, a professor of criminal justice and criminology at the University of North Carolina, Shawn Bushway, a criminologist at the State University at Albany

2) the bureau of labor statistics

3) they would want to make the number lower to make things seem better in the country?

  1. Yes 7,335 participants were nationally representative and ranged in age from 12 to 16 when they were enrolled in the survey in 1996. The first interviews were conducted in 1997. Follow-up interviews have been carried out annually since then.

  2. Yes

  3. no graphs

2011 Survey of Health Care Consumers

1. The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.

2. The sponsor of this survey is undisclosed.

3. I believe that the sponsor could be looking for disapproval with current health care systems. They want to show that the current health care plans need to be changed.

4. I was unable to find any information on the methodology of this survey, which could show weakness in its validity.

5. The information is laid out very clearly. The table of contents allows you to easily navigate and find specific information on the topic. Also, every graph and number is backed up by at least a paragraph describing it.

6. The graphs used in this study are histograms, and they are very clear with all of the information needed to understand what the graphs are trying to say.

Keckley, Paul H., and Sheryl Coughlin. "2011 Survey of Health Care Consumers Global Report." Web. 1 Sept. 2012. .


Restricted embryo growth 'predicts miscarriage risk'

A foetus at around 12 weeks oldThe study looked at the growth of embryos up to the age of 12 weeks old

Related Stories

The growth of an embryo during the early stages of pregnancy is linked to its risk of miscarriage, says a University of Nottingham study.

Scientists found that 78% of single-baby pregnancies which ended in miscarriage were in the smallest 5% of embryos.

Researchers measured the length of more than 500 single and twin embryos during the first trimester.

An expert said the study added to our knowledge of miscarriage risk.

The research was presented at the British Fertility Society annual meeting in Leeds.

The Nottingham researchers tracked the growth of 247 single and 264 twin embryos conceived through IVF, because this allowed them to know the embryos' precise gestational age.

For each embryo, the distance from the top of the embryo's head to the bottom of its buttocks (the crown-rump length), was measured once during the first trimester using an ultrasound scan.

The pregnancy was then monitored until birth.

Poor growth

Using the measurements, the researchers discovered that poor growth in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy was a good predictor of miscarriage.

Start Quote

We also need to look at blood supply to the embryo and whatever genes are passed on from the father too.”

Dr Raj MathurConsultant gynaecologist

They calculated that 77.8% of single embryo pregnancies that miscarried were growth restricted, while 98.1% of single embryo pregnancies that did not miscarry were not growth restricted.

This was not the case in twin pregnancies, however, where only 28.6% of pregnancies that miscarried were growth restricted.

Ninety-eight per cent of twin pregnancies that did not miscarry were not growth restricted.

Dr Shyamaly Sur, who led the research, said the findings should help to identify pregnancies at risk of miscarriage.

"There are various reasons why some embryos show restricted growth in the early stages of pregnancy. It could be down to an abnormality in the foetus or something in the environment of the womb."

Underlying causes

"More research is now needed to investigate the relationship between growth and the underlying causes of miscarriage in more detail.

"We are focusing on how blood flow to the womb lining and embryo quality influence conception rates and subsequent miscarriage."

Start Quote

There is something else going on with twin embryos. We need more research in this area”

Dr Shyamaly SurUniversity of Nottingham

Dr Raj Mathur, consultant gynaecologist at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, said it was a very good study which made biological sense.

But he said there were other factors to consider when looking at miscarriage risk.

"We also need to consider the woman's health history, look at the picture of the whole woman.

"This study adds to our knowledge about risk but we also need to look at blood supply to the embryo and whatever genes are passed on from the father too."

The study also found that twin embryos grew at the same rate as single embryos during the first trimester, which was not expected.

"There is something else going on with twin embryos. We need more research in this area. It could be that twins grow normally and then miscarry."

Dr Sur said the research seemed to suggest that embryo growth patterns were similar in non-IVF pregnancies.

Economy Making Car Owners Delay Vehicle Maintenance

1. Consumer Reports did this survey.

2. The sponsor of the research is undisclosed.

3. I believe the interest in this surveys results is to let everyone know that they should not wait to fix little car problems. Even though the economy is rough, not fixing a small problem could create an even bigger problem. This article is important for car owners to see so that they know to not make a mistake in waiting till a better time comes along for them and their wallet.

4. This was a telephone survey that took place in November. The survey was from about 1,700 people. The article also stated that the sampling error was plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

5. The results in this article were pretty clear; however there was no graph or chart shown in this article, which could have made the article better.

6. No graphs were used in this article.

Jensen, Cheryl. "Survey Suggests Tough Economy Claiming Another Victim: Regular Car

Maintenance." Web. 09 Jan. 2012. .

Potential link between child abuse and mental illnesses?

Reference: Reuters, Thomson. "Child abuse changes the brain, study finds." MSNBC 12/05/11. .

This study was led by Eamon McCrory of the University College London. This article does not directly say who sponsored this research, but the study was published in the journal Current Biology. A sponsor (such as a scientific journal) would want to prove the link between child abuse and mental impacts (such as the development of depression) because they can provide hard evidence that this social behavior is wrong and has noticeable ill effects. With solid evidence, people will be more likely to advocate support for children who are abused and be willing to find ways to prevent it. This study used a sample size of 43 children. There was a control group of 20 children that was compared to a test group of 23. While the children were exposed to faces with different emotional expressions, their brains were scanned using an fMRI. The results show that the children who were exposed to violence showed increase brain activity in response to angry faces. Comparing this study to previous studies, researchers found the same brain patterns in the children exposed to domestic violence as soldiers who were exposed to violence in war. No graphs are used in this study.

U.S drivers face 12-cent hike at the pump

I found this article in the U.S. section of the CNN website at this link

1. The survey was published by Trilby Lundberg.

2. The sponsor of the survey was undisclosed in the article.

3. If the survey were conducted by consumers then a result of lower prices would be favored but if sponsored by fuel companies they might favor higher prices.

4. Fuel prices were gathered from thousands of gas stations across the United States and averaged.

5. The results are shown clearly with price listings for many major cities across the country.

6. Graphs were not used for this article.

The author of this article is the CNN Wire Staff.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Students lack interest in STEM (Science, Technology or Maths) majors

The article written by Olga Khazan is based on three different studies sponsored by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, National Center On Education Statistics and Business Higher Education Forum. The sponsors were interested in finding why high school students lack interest in pursuing STEM majors although those majors are mostly likely to give them job in the future. There is no specific information about the methodology except the fact that high school students were chosen for the study. The results are communicated in a clear way and the reason for their lack of interest is mainly because most of the high school kids are not proficient in the maths. A pie-chart is used in the article to show the distribution of students who have maths proficiency and are interested in STEM major but graphs were not included in the article.

Khazan, Olga. "Lack of interest and aptitude keeps students out of STEM majors." Washington Post 06 1 2012

Fast Food Chains

Experts at Consumer Reports Magazine conducted several test regarding the food, value, staff, and speed at fast food chains. The sponsor was I believe that the sponsors particular interest in this study was to find the opinionated results of food quality, price, and experience. The size of the study group was included in the article, which included 36,733 readers that had rated the fast food chains. The amount of restaurant visits were also taken into account, which were 98,000 visits to 53 chains. The studies were given to the respondents with an opinionated scale ranging from: Good, fair, poor, and very poor.The percentages of the results were calculated and communicated clearly. There weren't any graphs included in this article.

"Four big names lose"

Drastic Rise in Twin Birth Rates

I found this article titled Births of Twins up Dramatically since 1980 on CNN's health section. The author of the article was Jacque Wilson,'s Senior Associate Producer and it was posted January 5th, 2012. Here is the link to the article:

1. The survey was conducted by Joyce Martin, Brady Hamilton, and Michelle Osterman.

2. The sponsor for the research was undisclosed.

3. The sponsor could be interested in the reasoning for the birth of twins as opposed to one child. The study showed that older women had an impact on the amount of twins. The study said it was responsible for approximately one third of the increase.

4. Information on methodology is included which indicates that much of the data was attained from the Natality Data File from the National Vital Statistics System.

5. Yes, there are several well labelled sections.

6. Yes, there are several histograms and charts with clear and descriptive titles.

Surgeries found to help Diabetes

Dr. Carel le Roux and other researchers from Imperial College London conducted the research on this topic. The sponsor was undisclosed. Finding some sort of cure or remedy for diabetes, or perhaps any other health benefits from getting weight loss surgery was most likely the main focus of the sponsor. Some methodologies for this study were given, such as the size of the study group, which was 209 people who chose to undergo weight loss surgery (gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and gastic banding). The results of the assessment were given in percentages of the people who chose to undergo specific surgeries and are clearly stated in the article. No graphs were used in this article.

"Weight Loss Surgery May Help Diabetes", HealthDay, US News, January 6, 2012

American citizens: a better connection with the immigration than the one of European citizens.

My article can be found thanks to this link:

The survey mentioned in this article can be found there:

1/ The German Marshall Fund of the United States did the survey, which is the purpose of the article. It’s a nonpartisan American public policy and grant making institution. Its goal is to promote the relationships between North America and Europe. This institution tries to encourage the exchanges in the field of politics, economy, environment and social.

2/ The German Marshall Fund of the United States did this report without sponsor. The institution makes two public opinion polls every year concerning the transatlantic relationships and their impact on the public opinion. Even if this institution is nonpartisan, we have to notice that its funding system depends on European and American governments. Indeed, the USA and numerous European States give money to the German Marshall Fund. This institution couldn’t exist without the funding of these governments. We will therefore say that these governments are the sponsors of the survey and more precisely, the American government.

3/ The world context is important: this survey was done after the Arabic spring that affected a lot the immigration in Europe. The goal is to know if there is a difference of state of mind at the hands of immigration in the public opinion between Europe and the USA. The governments that give money to the institution want to know how the Arabic spring affected people. The policymakers need to know what the population thinks to act accordingly.

If we focus on the United States, we can say that this survey is very important for the government. Presidential elections takes place very soon in the USA and Barack Obama has to give his position concerning a lot of topics including the immigration. This study can help him to know what to do. The immigration is a big debate in the USA and republicans and democrats have a very different position. Republicans want to be very strict with this policy instead of the democrats who are often accused to be relaxed. By the way, that’s what the survey shows. Even if American citizens are still ok to welcome immigrants, they don’t seem to trust the politic of the government concerning this domain. This survey can be a warning for Barack Obama to show him that he has to give his opinion and to propose ideas. This survey can also help the republicans for their speeches to win the next presidential election. We can therefore say that the survey is useful for policymakers and political parties.

4/ The information on methodology is included in the end of the survey and seems to be complete. If information is missing, there is a link to see more details concerning the methodology.

5 and 6/ The key findings report that we can find on the website of Transatlantic Trends Report is written in a clear informative manner. It’s always the same method: a grouped bar graph that analyses a variable. The graph allows a comparison of the same variable in different countries: Germany, France, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and the USA. Sometimes the graph shows the evolution of this variable in every country for four years.

After this clear graph, the authors of the survey analyze the most important results and try to show the general trends. Because they analyze, we can say that the report is not only informative but the redactors take a stand.

However, we can say that the graphs and the analysis of the general trend are given in a clear informative way.