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how to interpret scientific articles

Esty Yanco, Michael Paul Nelson, Daniel Ramp
Questions around how we should conserve nature and rectify our global impacts are increasingly leading to dissonance and confusion in conservation planning and action. In part, this may be due to the rapid and far-reaching changes taking place that together can overwhelm policy makers, conservation practitioners, and the public. While science can assist in unravelling the nature of these changes, conservation decisions rely heavily on social norms, expressed in the form of normative constructs such as tragedy and invasive, to order actions and garner a clear conservation mandate...
February 8, 2019: Conservation Biology: the Journal of the Society for Conservation Biology
Joseph D Holbrook, Lucretia E Olson, Nicholas J DeCesare, Mark Hebblewhite, John R Squires, Robin Steenweg
A fundamental challenge in habitat ecology and management is understanding the mechanisms generating animal distributions. Studies of habitat selection provide a lens into such mechanisms, but are often limited by unrealistic assumptions. For example, most studies assume that habitat selection is constant with respect to the availability of resources, such that habitat use remains proportional to availability. To the contrary, a growing body of work has shown the fallacy of this assumption, indicating that animals modify their behavior depending on the context at broader scales...
January 17, 2019: Ecological Applications: a Publication of the Ecological Society of America
Apkar Vania Apkarian
The terminology used in pain research has strong implications regarding conducted science as well as how scientists, clinicians and society interpret our findings. This article goes over the standard definitions and their nuanced modifications recently proposed. Then, evidence and interpretation pitfalls are expounded, concluding with a plea to keep terminology precise, at least in scientific reporting.
November 29, 2018: Neuroscience Letters
M Penkler, M Hanson, R Biesma, R Müller
The field of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) has grown considerably in recent decades and is receiving increasing recognition from health policymakers. Today, DOHaD research aims to offer a comprehensive perspective on health and disease that traces how different life experiences shape health and disease risks over the entire life course. This integrative perspective opens up distinct possibilities for improving health. At the same time, it raises questions regarding the specific social responsibilities of DOHaD as a field and about possible pathways to a socially just and scientifically robust implementation of DOHaD knowledge in society...
November 23, 2018: Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease
Valerie Moulin, Caroline Mouchet, Tessa Pillonel, G-M Gkotsi, Bernard Baertschi, Jacques Gasser, Benoit Testé
This article explores the impact of neuroscience evidence on how expert reports are perceived and their effects on the decisions made by trial judges. Experimental psychology has demonstrated a number of cognitive effects arising from exposure to neuroimaging data which may bias judgments and lead to (mis)interpretations that can affect decisions. We conducted a study on a sample of 62 Swiss and French judges in order to determine whether their perceptions of the credibility, quality and scientific basis of a psychiatric evaluation of a criminal defendant vary according to whether or not the evaluation includes neuroscientific data...
November 2018: International Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Vinicius Carreira, Gopinath Palanisamy, Erin Quist, Keith Nelson, Stacey Fossey, Bevin Zimmerman, Lila Ramaiah, Kenneth A Schafer
The toxicologic pathologist plays a vital role in the scientific community, using their unique blend of diagnostic and investigative skills to advance biomedical research, public health, drug discovery, or regulatory practices. But what exactly do toxicologic pathologists contribute? Where do these specialized professionals work? How can toxicologic pathologists maximize their efficiency and potential? To enlighten students and trainees, as well as early- or mid-career toxicologic pathologists, or even those approaching retirement, the Career Development and Outreach Committee of the Society of Toxicologic Pathology (STP) sponsored a career development workshop entitled "Practical Strategies for Navigating Toxicologic Pathology in One's Early Career…and Beyond!" in conjunction with the STP 37th annual symposium...
October 23, 2018: Toxicologic Pathology
Charles Godavitarne, Alastair Robertson, David M Ricketts, Benedict A Rogers
Funnel plots are an increasingly common graphical tool which are widely used in the literature. They were first introduced by Light and Pillemer in 1984 . In scientific literature, funnel plots are used to identify the probability of bias in meta-analyses and compare institutional performance. The ability to identify variation is better with graphical than tabular display. In addition, the way data are presented can directly influence the interpretation of results. This was demonstrated by Marshall et al (2004) , who presented institutional mortality data in both a league table and control chart format...
October 2, 2018: British Journal of Hospital Medicine
Christian Dayé
Delphi is a procedure that produces forecasts on technological and social developments. This article traces the history of Delphi's development to the early 1950s, where a group of logicians and mathematicians working at the RAND Corporation carried out experiments to assess the predictive capacities of groups of experts. While Delphi now has a rather stable methodological shape, this was not so in its early years. The vision that Delphi's creators had for their brainchild changed considerably. While they had initially seen it as a technique, a few years later they reconfigured it as a scientific method...
September 19, 2018: Social Studies of Science
Anke Snoek, Dorothee Horstkötter
When doing research among vulnerable populations, researchers are obliged to protect their subjects from harm. We will argue that traditional ethical guidelines are not sufficient to do this, since they mainly focus on direct harms that can occur: for example, issues around informed consent, fair recruitment and risk/harm analysis. However, research also entails indirect harms that remain largely unnoticed by research ethical committees and the research community. Indirect harms do not occur during data collection, but in the analysis of the data, and how the data is presented to the scientific and wider societal community...
November 2018: Bioethics
Marcus Bendtsen
The debate on the use and misuse of P values has risen and fallen throughout their almost century-long existence in scientific discovery. Over the past few years, the debate has again received front-page attention, particularly through the public reminder by the American Statistical Association on how P values should be used and interpreted. At the core of the issue lies a fault in the way that scientific evidence is dichotomized and research is subsequently reported, and this fault is exacerbated by researchers giving license to statistical models to do scientific inference...
October 24, 2018: Journal of Medical Internet Research
Mathieu Albert, Maria Mylopoulos, Suzanne Laberge
The objective of scientific, or more broadly, academic knowledge is to provide an understanding of the social and natural world that lies beyond common sense and everyday thinking. Academics use an array of techniques, methods and conceptual apparatuses to achieve this goal. The question we explore in this essay is the following: Does the grounded theory approach, in the constructivist version developed by Kathy Charmaz, provide the necessary methodological tools for the creation of knowledge and theories beyond everyday thinking? To conduct our analysis, we have drawn on the rationalist epistemology originally developed by Gaston Bachelard and taken up a few decades later by Pierre Bourdieu and colleagues to look at the epistemological foundation of the CGT methods as defined by Charmaz...
August 9, 2018: Advances in Health Sciences Education: Theory and Practice
Rachel Yehuda, Amy Lehrner, Linda M Bierer
There has been great interest in the possibility that effects of trauma might be passed from parent to offspring through epigenetic mechanisms. This topic has stimulated discussion and controversy in the scientific literature, the popular press, and culture at large. This article describes the initial observations that have led to recent examinations of epigenetic mechanisms in association with effects of parental trauma exposure on offspring. Epigenetic research in animals has provided models for how such effects might be transmitted...
April 2018: Environmental Epigenetics
Bosco Bwambale, Moses Muhumuza, Martine Nyeko
The shift from flood protection to flood risk management, together with recent arguments on incorporating culture in managing risk, underscores the application of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) in managing disasters from flood hazards. Yet, documentation and incorporation of TEK into practice remains a challenge. This article contributes to addressing this challenge by exploring the existence of TEK to flooding in the Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda. Using semi-structured interviews, data were collected from residents of the Nyamwamba watershed where intense flash floods caused deadly impacts in May 2013...
2018: Jàmbá: journal of disaster risk studies
Brad Sherman
Intellectual property law has been interacting with software for over sixty years. Despite this, the law in this area remains confused and uncertain: this is particularly evident in patent law. Focusing on U.S. patent law from the 1960s through to the mid-1970s, this article argues that a key reason for this confusion relates to the particular way that the subject matter was construed. While the early discussions about subject matter eligibility were framed in terms of the question "is software patentable?", what was really at stake in these debates was the preliminary ontological question: what is software? Building on work that highlights the competing ways that software was construed by different parts of the information technology industry at the time, the article looks at the particular way that the law responded to these competing interpretations and how in so doing it laid the foundation for the confusion that characterizes the area...
June 1, 2018: History of Science; An Annual Review of Literature, Research and Teaching
E Heffler, M Landi, C Caruso, S Fichera, F Gani, G Guida, M T Liuzzo, M P Pistorio, S Pizzimenti, A M Riccio, V Seccia, M Ferrando, L Malvezzi, G Passalacqua, M Gelardi
Nasal cytology is an easy, cheap, non-invasive and point-of-care method to assess nasal inflammation and disease-specific cellular features. By means of nasal cytology, it is possible to distinguish between different inflammatory patterns that are typically associated with specific diseases (ie, allergic and non-allergic rhinitis). Its use is particularly relevant when other clinical information, such as signs, symptoms, time-course and allergic sensitizations, is not enough to recognize which of the different rhinitis phenotypes is involved; for example, it is only by means of nasal cytology that it is possible to distinguish, among the non-allergic rhinitis, those characterized by eosinophilic (NARES), mast cellular (NARMA), mixed eosinophilic-mast cellular (NARESMA) or neutrophilic (NARNE) inflammation...
September 2018: Clinical and Experimental Allergy: Journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology
A Szederjesi, L Baronciani, U Budde, G Castaman, A S Lawrie, Y Liu, R Montgomery, F Peyvandi, R Schneppenheim, A Várkonyi, J Patzke, I Bodó
Essentials New VWF activity assays are increasingly used but information on their comparability is limited. This is an ISTH SSC-organized study (expert labs, 5 countries) to compare all available assays. VWF activity by six assays correlated well with each other. The new assays show improved characteristics - minor differences are noted. SUMMARY: Background Several new assays have become available to measure von Willebrand factor (VWF) activity. The new assays appear to have improved performance characteristics compared with the old reference standard, ristocetin cofactor activity (VWF:RCo), but information is limited about how they compare with VWF:RCo and each other...
June 13, 2018: Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis: JTH
Richard B Hovey, Valerie Curro Khayat, Eugene Feig
The humanities invite opportunities for people to describe through their metaphors, symbols and language a means in which to interpret their pain and reinterpret their new lived experiences. The patient and family all live with pain and can only use their pain narratives of that experience to confront or even to begin to understand the quantifiable discipline of medicine. The patient and family narratives act to retain meaning within a lived pained experience. These narratives add meaning to the person as a stay against only having a clinical-pathological understanding of what is happening to our body and as a person...
May 2018: British Journal of Pain
Masaru Okabe
For decades, researchers in the fertilization field reported various candidate factors involved in sperm-egg interaction through experiments using enzyme inhibitors and/or antibodies. However, almost all of these factors have been shown to be nonessential by gene disruption experiments. Recently, attention has focused on the low reproducibility of papers in many research fields. In this Review, I retrospectively revisit how fertilization factors were misinterpreted and led to wrong hypotheses in relation to the reportedly low reproducibility of scientific papers...
August 2018: FEBS Letters
Audrey Tluczek, Marie E Twal, Laura Curr Beamer, Candace W Burton, Leslie Darmofal, Mary Kracun, Karen L Zanni, Martha Turner
Members of the Ethics and Public Policy Committee of the International Society of Nurses in Genetics prepared this article to assist nurses in interpreting the American Nurses Association (2015) Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements (Code) within the context of genetics/genomics. The Code explicates the nursing profession's norms and responsibilities in managing ethical issues. The nearly ubiquitous application of genetic/genomic technologies in healthcare poses unique ethical challenges for nursing...
January 1, 2018: Nursing Ethics
Jamie K Wardman, Ragnar Löfstedt
Regulatory use of the precautionary principle (PP) tends to be broadly characterized either as a responsible approach for safeguarding against health and environmental risks in the face of scientific uncertainties, or as "state mismanagement" driven by undue political bias and public anxiety. However, the "anticipatory" basis upon which governments variably draw a political warrant for adopting precautionary measures often remains ambiguous. Particularly, questions arise concerning whether the PP is employed preemptively by political elites from the "top down," or follows from more conventional democratic pressures exerted by citizens and other stakeholders from the "bottom up...
September 2018: Risk Analysis: An Official Publication of the Society for Risk Analysis
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