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NTR 351: Nutrition and Health Communications: Studies in the News - More Examples

How do you get from a news article reference to the original research study

1. News Article: "Study says 'sugar rush' energy is more from willpower than nutrition"

Research Study: "Beliefs about willpower determine the impact of glucose on self-control

How we located the research study:

This news article from the University of Florida, Gainesville student news, by Sean Stewart-Muniz, states, "A study published Aug. 19 online in the Proceedings of the national Academy of Sciences, observed two groups of sutdents as they drank lemonade sweetened with sugar and a sugar substitute."  The article refers to the stuy as reporting results of trials, and cites the source of the article as being reported on http://www.sciencenews.org.

Method 1: 

  • Using this information we started with the source mentioned in the student news article linked above: http://www.sciencenews.org
  • We then searched on that site for keywords from the student news article: sugar willpower
  • We received 7 results and clicked on the linked title in the top result, "Power of sugar may come from the mind" - an article by Jessica Shugart about the original research study
  • The news article, "Power of sugar may come from the mind," listed one of the study authors, Dweck, and linked directly to the original study under 'Citations' at the bottom of the page

Method 2:

  • Using the information in the student news article, we started with Google Scholar, via the ASU Library
  • We searched: proceedings of the national academy of sciences sugar
  • That search gave no results that looked useful.  We tried a different topic keyword from the study topic as reported and searched: proceedings of the national academy of sciences willpower
  • A ways down the page (the 6th result on Aug 30th, 2013), we found a link to the study, "Beliefs about willpower determine the impact of glucose on self-control"
  • *This study and its abstract did not use the word 'sugar,' rather they used 'glucose.'  - Often news articles choose more familiar words than the precise scientific terms used in studies and this can make them difficult to track down.

 

2. News Article: "Suppplements Fail to Relieve Joint Pain in Study"

Research Study: "Calcium Plus Vitamin D Supplementation and Joint Symptoms in Postmenopausal Women in the Women's Health Initiative Randomized Trial"

How we located the research study:

This news blog post on the New York Times, by Nicholas Bakalar, describes the study as, "...a randomized clinical trial [that] found that vitamin D and calcium supplements are no better than a placebo for relieving joint problems."  The news blog post also discusses the study's results, saying, "The analysis is posted online in The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics." Finally, it states that the 'lead author' was, "Dr. Rowan T. Chlebowski, a medical oncologist at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute."  

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Kevin Pardon
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