Assorted Links

Thanks to Bryan Castañeda and Alex Chernavsky.

3 Replies to “Assorted Links”

  1. > How current reward structures have distorted British science. I wonder if the author, an Oxford professor of psychology, understands how earlier reward structures distorted science.

    Interestingly, just yesterday I ran into a link showing one way in which British science seems to be superior to American science: less inflation and claims of positive results

    > Concerns that the growing competition for funding and citations might distort science are frequently discussed, but have not been verified directly. Of the hypothesized problems, perhaps the most worrying is a worsening of positive-outcome bias. A system that disfavours negative results not only distorts the scientific literature directly, but might also discourage high-risk projects and pressure scientists to fabricate and falsify their data. This study analysed over 4,600 papers published in all disciplines between 1990 and 2007, measuring the frequency of papers that, having declared to have ‘‘tested’’ a hypothesis, reported a positive support for it. The overall frequency of positive supports has grown by over 22% between 1990 and 2007, with significant differences between disciplines and countries. The increase was stronger in the social and some biomedical disciplines. The United States had published, over the years, significantly fewer positive results than Asian countries (and particularly Japan) but more than European countries (and in particular the United Kingdom). Methodological artefacts cannot explain away these patterns, which support the hypotheses that research is becoming less pioneering and/or that the objectivity with which results are produced and published is decreasing.

    http://mres.gmu.edu/pmwiki/uploads/Main/Fanelli2011.pdf “Negative
    results are disappearing from most disciplines and countries”, Fanelli
    2011; seen on http://hardsci.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/secular-trends-in-publication-bias/

  2. One thing that occurred to me is that Yoni’s study only looked at acute effects. Intermittent fasting has a variety of long-term beneficial effects on health, and health has beneficial effects on cognition. It seems plausible to me that if we took 2 people and had one intermittently fast for several months & one eat normally, we might find that the baseline level of cognition was higher in the intermittent faster. Then we could take both & show that, yes, an intermittent faster would have a short-term “boost” in cognition due to elevated blood sugar after a meal, but it could still be the case that his average cognitive level was higher than the control subject.

    Be aware that I’m aware I’m totally speculating here, but I do think there are still a myriad of reasons to advocate intermittent fasting. I’m also curious of the magnitude of the negative effects Yoni recorded. It is hard to pull that kind of data out of charts shown in a flash in a video clip. Has he a blog or other site where he’s shared them?

  3. “Even blood glucose levels in the range of high normal appear to be associated with brain atrophy, a new study shows.

    In a sample of randomly selected older middle-aged people, high normal levels of fasting plasma glucose were significantly associated with hippocampal and amygdalar atrophy over 4 years.”

    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/770353

    Elevating blood glucose for a cognitive boost seems to be a good short-term strategy but a bad long-term one.

    Seth: I found that walking an hour per day reduced my fasting blood glucose from high normal to low normal. Maybe the hippocampal and amygdalar atrophy are due to not walking much. The hippocampus is often called a mental map, sensitive to travel.

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