Monday, October 15, 2012

TED talk by Ben Goldacre and time to refresh (learn) some French

I'm a very lucky girl in that my life can revolve around food and science.

And lately, research has taken front and center stage. Front and center, solo, and with a long dramatic aria.

Leading me to generate stuff like this:

and images like this:

Structure obtained from PDB, ID: 2xsz
(ref: Gorynia et al. JSB. 2011.)

And data crunching late into the wee hours.....

--- --- ---

This is my first science post and I would like to share with you a very grim, very real (and entertaining, Ben Goldacre is a great speaker and I especially like watching his wild hair flying around when he gets excited) talk about negative results, publication bias, and the ramifications of such in health care.

I apologize for my science centered blog post today to my readers who usually find food-related posts. My next science related post will hopefully concentrate on the biochemistry of gluten.... hopefully.

I'm also very fortunate for the opportunity to attend a science conference in Bordeaux this week to meet some brilliant scientists and become part of interesting (and maybe heated?) discussions. Actually, the research topic is very near and dear to my heart (and dissertation.... some would call that my heart ;) so this will be a very special conference for me.

Meanwhile, in preparation for the trip, breakfast of champions:

(The little pumpkin spiced muffin was created by the boyfriend, who also constructed the muffin linings when he realized he didn't have any.)

Research in all fields will likely always have bias, no matter the good intentions of the funding agency/organization/private donors and the scientists doing the work.

To be honest, it is much easier getting published with positive results than negative ones, because positive results means something new or will add to or support an existing hypothesis (which is nicer than refuting it - nobody likes to see their work proven wrong).

But at the same time, negative results are part of research, and journals like the Journal of Negative results in Biomedicine: are awesome in that we can now see both sides of a certain field of study.

It's always better to see the bigger picture.


  1. Go Go Jen Jen! You can do it! You're going to rock Bordeaux!

  2. Hectic my friend you are gonna rock science :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  3. Wonderful, Jen! Hope all goes well with the conference. I just went to one last week too though not in Science but in Law. Have a great week!

  4. Have a wonderful time in Bordeaux! That is so very exciting Jen!! :D

  5. Enjoy the conference, I love TED talk conferences their speakers are always interesting and fun to watch.

  6. San - THANKS SISTER!!! You're going to have a great year in Australia! So many excellent foodies there ;)

    CCU - Thanks so much! It was a great experience, you must visit Bordeaux one day (if not already visited)!

    Abby - The conference was very intense, but a great opportunity to present my work to a group of experts :) Hope your Law conference as insightful too! Where was it?

    NQN - It was amazing! I will definitely go back to France in the future!

    Oishii - TED talks are great aren't they? And the conference was wonderful!

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