Summary of “Here’s How Cornell Scientist Brian Wansink Turned Shoddy Data Into Viral Studies About How We Eat”

More than three years later, Wansink would publicly praise Siğirci for being “The grad student who never said ‘no.'” The unpaid visiting scholar from Turkey was dogged, Wansink wrote on his blog in November 2016.
Her tenacity ultimately turned the buffet experiment into four published studies about pizza eating, all cowritten with Wansink and widely covered in the press.
Over the last 14 months, critics the world over have pored through more than 50 of his old studies and compiled “The Wansink Dossier,” a list of errors and inconsistencies that suggests he aggressively manipulated data.
Now, interviews with a former lab member and a trove of previously undisclosed emails show that, year after year, Wansink and his collaborators at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab have turned shoddy data into headline-friendly eating lessons that they could feed to the masses.
The correspondence shows, for example, how Wansink coached Siğirci to knead the pizza data.
The newly uncovered emails – obtained through records requests to New Mexico State University, which employs Wansink’s longtime collaborator Collin Payne – reveal two published studies that were based on shoddy data and have so far received no public scrutiny.
Wansink said his lab’s data is “Heavily scrutinized,” and that’s “What exploratory research is all about.”
In 2013, Werle and Wansink were discussing a different study about whether describing a walk as fun, such as by framing it as a scenic stroll rather than a form of exercise, influenced how much the walkers would want to eat afterward.

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Summary of “How Our Beliefs Can Shape Our Waistlines”

A recent epidemiological study suggests that our beliefs about how much we exercise may substantially influence our health and longevity, even if those beliefs are objectively inaccurate – which hints that upending our thinking about exercise might help us whittle away pounds, whether we work out more or not.
Crum and her co-author studied 84 female hotel-room attendants, who told the researchers that they felt they completed little or no daily exercise, although their work consisted mostly of physical labor.
Crum and her colleague explained to half of them that they were meeting or exceeding national recommendations for 30 minutes of daily exercise; a month later, when the researchers checked back, the women said they believed they were getting more exercise than before.
For the new study, Crum and a different co-author, Octavia Zahrt, turned to two federal databases, the National Health Interview Survey and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which contain health data about representative samples of Americans.
The scientists homed in on information from 61,141 participants who answered questions about whether they felt they were getting more, less or about the same amount of exercise as most people their age.
Risk of early death was up to 71 percent higher than for the group that, correctly or not, felt confident that they exercised more than their peers.
This type of study cannot prove that exercise beliefs directly cause life spans to shorten or grow; it can show only that the two issues are related.
Self-comparisons might also dampen exercise motivation, leading to declining health.

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Summary of “Counting Calories Is Not the Key to Weight Loss, New Study Finds”

The new study stands apart from many previous weight-loss trials because it did not set extremely restrictive carbohydrate, fat or caloric limits on people and emphasized that they focus on eating whole or “Real” foods – as much as they needed to avoid feeling hungry.
While people on average lost a significant amount of weight in the study, there was also wide variability in both groups.
Dr. Gardner said that the people who lost the most weight reported that the study had “Changed their relationship with food.” They no longer ate in their cars or in front of their television screens, and they were cooking more at home and sitting down to eat dinner with their families, for example.
Dr. Gardner said many of the people in the study were surprised – and relieved – that they did not have to restrict or even think about calories.
“A couple weeks into the study people were asking when we were going to tell them how many calories to cut back on,” he said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for example, tells people who are trying to lose weight to “Write down the foods you eat and the beverages you drink, plus the calories they have, each day,” while making an effort to restrict the amount of calories they eat and increasing the amount of calories they burn through physical activity.
The new study found that after one year of focusing on food quality, not calories, the two groups lost substantial amounts of weight.
He said the most important message of the study was that a “High quality diet” produced substantial weight loss and that the percentage of calories from fat or carbs did not matter, which is consistent with other studies, including many that show that eating healthy fats and carbs can help prevent heart disease, diabetes and other diseases.

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Summary of “The Apple Watch can detect diabetes with an 85% accuracy, Cardiogram study says”

The study is part of the larger DeepHeart study with Cardiogram and UCSF. This particular study used data from 14,000 Apple Watch users and was able to detect that 462 of them had diabetes by using the Watch’s heart rate sensor, the same type of sensor other fitness bands using Android Wear also integrate into their systems.
In 2015, the Framingham Heart Study showed that resting heart rate and heart rate variability significantly predicted incident diabetes and hypertension.
Previously, Ballinger and his colleagues were able to use Apple’s Watch to detect an abnormal heart rhythm with up to a 97 percent accuracy, sleep apnea with a 90 percent accuracy and hypertension with an 82 percent accuracy when paired with Cardiogram’s AI-based algorithm.
Diabetes is a huge – and growing – problem in the U.S. More than 100 million U.S. adults are now living with pre-diabetes or diabetes and more than 1 in 4 of them go undiagnosed, according to the CDC. Part of the problem is the pain that goes into checking blood glucose levels.
While there have been other attempts to build special-purpose glucose-sensing hardware, this is the first large-scale study showing that ordinary heart rate sensors-when paired with an artificial intelligence-based algorithm-can identify diabetes with no extra hardware.
So what’s next? Ballinger and his colleague on the study Johnson Hsieh mentioned they could be looking at a number of diseases to detect through heart sensors, possibly even gestational diabetes.
Hsieh also cautions that those tested were already known to have diabetes or pre-diabetes and that anyone who thinks they might have it should go to their doctor, not just rely on the Watch to tell them what’s going on.
We’ll just have to wait and see what else the Apple Watch and other fitness monitors with a built-in heart rate sensor are able to tell us about ourselves next.

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Summary of “The Importance of Infants’ Exposure to Micro-Organisms”

Recent studies have shown that both a vaginal birth and exclusive breast-feeding can significantly affect the kinds and numbers of their gut microbes and the risk of developing various health problems.
Babies born vaginally primarily acquire the microbes that inhabit their mother’s vagina and bowel.
These differences in the gut microbiota were found to persist in children until at least 7 years of age, according to a study in Finland published in 2004.Currently, about one baby in three in the United States is delivered by cesarean section, up from about one in five in the 1990s.
A surgical delivery can be lifesaving when, for example, the fetus or the mother is at risk of a serious or fatal complication from a vaginal delivery.
Even though many babies with borderline readings would be likely to be fine with a vaginal birth, women and their doctors are usually unwilling to take a chance when the monitor suggests that the fetus may be in trouble.
To counter the effects of a surgical birth on the infant’s microbiome, a growing number of women whose babies are delivered by cesarean are requesting that medical staff transfer microbes from the mother’s vagina to their infants soon after birth.
Dr. Suchitra Hourigan, a pediatric gastroenterologist and director of the Inova Translational Medicine Institute in Falls Church, Va., is planning a three-year study of 800 babies delivered by a scheduled cesarean, half of whom will get vaginal seeding, to help determine if the technique is safe and beneficial.
In a study published online last May in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers reported that babies who got all or most of their milk from the breast had microbiota most like their mothers’.

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Summary of “Lift Weights, Eat More Protein, Especially if You’re Over 40”

Past studies have indicated that, in general, people will gain more strength and muscle mass while weight training if they up their intake of protein than if they do not.
Whether everyone, including women, benefits similarly from consuming added protein while weight training and just how much protein is ideal, as well as what that protein should consist of and when it should be eaten, are all open questions.
To answer the simplest question of whether taking in more protein during weight training led to larger increases in muscle size and strength, the researchers added all of the results together.
Men and women who ate more protein while weight training did develop larger, stronger muscles than those who did not.
Almost everyone who started or continued weight training became stronger in these studies, whether they ate more protein or not.
Beyond that point, more protein did not result in more muscle benefits.
The gains were similar if people downed their protein immediately after a workout or in the hours earlier or later, and it made no difference if the protein was solid or liquid, soy, beef, vegan or any other.
Still, many questions remain, including whether adding more protein affects body weight or metabolism and if so, what that means for health.

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Summary of “Diet Rich In Greens Linked To Less Age-Related Memory Loss”

Diet Rich In Greens Linked To Less Age-Related Memory Loss : Shots – Health News Scientists are keen to figure out how diet influences aging, including brain health.
A 5-year study of healthy seniors found those who ate a serving or two of daily greens had less cognitive decline.
The latest good news: A study recently published in Neurology finds that healthy seniors who had daily helpings of leafy green vegetables – such as spinach, kale and collard greens – had a slower rate of cognitive decline, compared to those who tended to eat little or no greens.
To analyze the relationship between leafy greens and age-related cognitive changes, the researchers assigned each participant to one of five groups, according to the amount of greens eaten.
What’s the most convenient way to get these greens into your diet?
A serving size is defined as a half-cup of cooked greens, or a cup of raw greens.
Many factors play into healthy aging – this study does not prove that eating greens will fend off memory decline.
“So, when you eat leafy greens, you’re eating a lot of different nutrients, and together they can have a powerful impact,” Morris says.

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Summary of “Good Fats, Bad Fats”

Still, people do miss their unhealthy fats and, in the latest rage, many have latched onto coconut oil in the mistaken belief that its main highly saturated fat, lauric acid, and other nutrients can enhance health rather than undermine it.
As documented in the new advisory, misleading conclusions that saturated fats do not affect the risk of developing and dying from cardiovascular diseases have largely resulted from studies that were done in good faith but failed to take into account what people who avoided saturated fats ate in their place.
Some studies may have failed to show a benefit from reducing saturated fats because participants substituted margarine and other partially hydrogenated vegetable oils containing trans fats that were later shown to be even more damaging to blood vessels than animal fats.
In later studies, the most important influence on the results was the types of foods study participants ate in place of saturated and other fats.
In North America and Europe, the team noted, the effect of lowering saturated fat was essentially negated by people’s consumption of more “Refined grains, fruit juice, sweet desserts and snacks, sugar-sweetened beverages, and other foods” that hardly promote good health.
The most recent studies conducted that analyzed the effects of specific nutrients showed that when 5 percent of calories from saturated fats were replaced by an equal number of calories from polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats or whole-grain carbohydrates, the risk of coronary heart disease was reduced respectively by 25 percent, 15 percent and 9 percent.
In an interview, Dr. Sacks said the advice derived from the best research “Is pretty straightforward: consume few saturated fats like butter, full-fat dairy, beef and pork fat, and coconut, palm and palm kernel oils and replace them with natural vegetable oils high in polyunsaturates – corn, soybean, safflower, sunflower, peanut, walnut and grapeseed oils.” Also healthful are canola and olive oil, rich in both monounsaturates and polyunsaturates.
In an interview, he described dairy fat as “Not optimal – not nearly as good as plant fats but not quite as bad as other animal fats.” He said, “You don’t have to totally abandon cheese, but dairy foods should be limited to one serving every one to three days, not three servings a day.”

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Summary of “The Mental Benefits of Vacationing Somewhere New”

A recent trip to Sri Lanka, with an unexpected stop in Thailand, led me to think more deeply about the positive impact of adventures that challenge us.
In a study of 485 United States adults, exposure to foreign travel was linked to a greater ability to direct attention and energy, which helps us function effectively in diverse situations and display appropriate verbal and nonverbal signals of emotion.
Visiting more countries or greater immersion into the local culture enhanced these effects, and they remained after the study subjects returned home.
Standing amid a slew of older, short men dressed in rainbow-colored robes and speaking Sinhalese, I’d never felt more foreign.
People who traveled to more countries developed a greater tolerance and trust of strangers, which altered their attitudes toward not only strangers but also colleagues and friends back home.
They became more appreciative of people with new knowledge, philosophies, and skills.
A study of 46 Dutch workers found that after going on an international holiday for two to three weeks, they were able to generate more and more-diverse ideas for alternative ways to use everyday objects, such as bricks, tires, spoons, and pencils.
Researchers in Singapore have likewise found that greater exposure to other cultures through traveling, having international friendships, studying languages, and consuming music and food from other countries is linked to unconventional problem solving.

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Summary of “10 Monkeys and a Beetle: Inside VW’s Campaign for ‘Clean Diesel'”

“All of the research work commissioned with the E.U.G.T. was accompanied and reviewed by a research advisory committee consisting of scientists from renowned universities and research institutes,” Daimler said in a statement.
Volkswagen said in a statement that the researchers had never managed to publish a complete study.
Documents produced in legal proceedings show that in August 2016 Michael Spallek, the director of the automakers’ research group, emailed the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, the Albuquerque organization that conducted the tests with monkeys.
David King, a former chief scientific adviser to the British government, recalled being taken to a lab in the early 2000s where 10 diesel vehicles were running on rollers.
The automakers’ research group was created in 2007, as Volkswagen was readying a major push to market diesel technology in the United States, which has stricter limits on nitrogen oxide emissions than Europe.
Elsewhere, a regional court in Austria cited the research in a 2014 ruling against residents of Graz who had sued to force officials to restrict diesel traffic.
The research group intended the Albuquerque experiment to be a rebuttal to a 2012 finding by a division of the World Health Organization that had classified diesel exhaust as a carcinogen.
The automakers’ research group set out to show that new diesel vehicles were better.

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