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Nutritional Epidemiology - Science topic

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Hello, I have a master's degree in public health and epidemiology. And a university degree in nutritional epidemiology. I have six years of experience in the field. co-authors in a dozen publications in scientific journals. Sorry I am looking for a scholarship opportunity to continue my doctoral studies (PhD) in the field of public health, epidemiology or nutrition. Could someone help me please?
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applying University of Hong Kong, lots of scholarship opportunities
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A recent series of papers (links below) suggests that most nutrition epidemiologic research is “meaningless” and engendered a fictional “diet-centric” discourse with significant ramifications for public health policy.
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Sikandar and Luaay, it will help if you actually read my papers before commenting. I challenged (and potentially refuted) both the 'diet-centric' and 'gene-centic' paradigms. As such, it will be difficult to have a productive discussion if you are not aware of my theories and empirical work.
For a more detailed explanation please read:
Thnaks,
Ed
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A recent “Controversy & Debate” series in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology suggests that the results and conclusions of nutrition epidemiologic research are both "pseudo-scientific" and “meaningless” (links below). This conclusion was based on the fact that FFQs and other memory-based dietary assessment methods (M-BMs) produce data that are “physiologically implausible” and have non-quantifiable (i.e., non-falsifiable) measurement error.
For example, there are myriad factors that render it impossible to ascertain if reported foods and beverages match the respondent’s actual consumption. These include reactivity, lying, false memories, forgetting, mis-estimation, pseudo-quantification, and invalid nutrient databases. Additionally, the use of M-BMs is based on multiple logical fallacies.
Thus, how can nutrition epidemiologic data be valid?
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I appreciate your answers, thanks!
Carole, if you peruse my latest work, you will see that the "best papers" (as you called them) failed to cite or address the contrary evidence I presented in my last ~10+ publications on that issue (links to my most recent/relevant papers are below). As I wrote, reactivity, lying, false memories, forgetting, mis-estimation, pseudo-quantification, and invalid nutrient databases render data from FFQs and 24HRs meaningless.
More importantly, the evidence I presented were empirical, conceptual, and theoretical refutations of FFQs and other M-BMs and not mere limitations. I am sure you will agree that a refutation is much more than a mere "limitation". Thus, one cannot take "precautions" to ameliorate the effects of non-quantifiable errors and physiologically implausible data.
Frank, thanks for the reference. As I presented in my work below, there are many, many perspectives on why epidemiologic work in general, and the results and conclusions of nutrition epidemiologic research specifically, are "meaningless".
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Dietary assessment tools are fraught with reporting difficulties for adults--those who actually have the skills to report intakes for themselves. That difficulty is magnified when trying to collect data on young children's intake.
Given: dietary data is subject to reporting bias
BUT, if one has to do it, what are the best method(s) to pursue this?
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Hello Dr. Archer,
Do you suggest any alternatives to the Memory based dietary assessment methods, knowing that record methods are not feasible in large scale epidemiological studies?
Thank you
Best wishes
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I am calculating power because i am doing a secundary data base study (case-control study) and I don't know if it is correctly to consider the number of participant which intake is above the median as the proportion of cases and control exposed? I am using Open Epid for calculations. I am studying carotenoid intake.
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I think more important is compared with a reference consumption, determined in a correct diet
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tetracycline and vitamin A derivatives are associated with IIH. How these drugs are responsible for development of IIH. And also female gender and Obesity has also association. Is there any scientific explanations?
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Tirtha,
I am glad to see that you will be able to utilize an article in Hebrew.  ;)
i am curious about one thing. Do you not have access to some sort of library services to do routine literature searches or doing the basic ground-work is simply no longer in vogue these days?   
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Is it possible to estimate the level of food security using nutritional status of children. if it so, how to estimate the same. 
Please share some information.
Thanking you.
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Yes, nutritional indicators would indicate the type of undernutrition in terms of protein- energy malnutrition or specific deficiencies and you can relate that to non-availability or insufficient intake of specific foods. As for example, growth retardation would mean  a food gap itself, vitamin A deficiency would indicate less of green and yellow vegetables and fruits and milk intake. Iron deficiency would mean lower level of ion rich foods, You can find an association between both. 
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What type of schedule we should use to find out nutritional gap.
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Dear Aparna,
According to several authors Several factors can influence the nutritional status of an individual:
• Biological variables: heredity, predisposition, age, state of health.
• Behavioural factors and lifestyle: smoking, hygiene, nutrition, the practice of sports, the pace of life and work, the fact of living in the city or in the country, etc.
• Socio-economic factors: access to health care, the level of education, income, occupation, etc.
• The psychological and emotional state.
• The particular sensitivity of each individual.
• Environmental factors ... etc.
In addition, anthropometric measures are an excellent indicator of the nutritional status of vulnerable groups and especially individuals (children and elderly). They are usually the main component of the nutritional surveillance systems, however, to provide a range of concrete measures should be supplemented with other types of information that reveal the power deficit.
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I am currently working on my master thesis regarding “Dietary patterns and dietary diversity among overweight and obese children”
This project is based on a “cross-sectional study” amongst a rural population. Since a validated food frequency questionnaire for this population does not exist, can we use 24-hour recall intervals for analysis of dietary patterns or is an appropriate food frequency questionnaire needed for this project?
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For tracking individual dietary patterns, FFQ's are more appropriate. 24 hour recalls are more appropriate if you are trying to gauge a specific demographic's eating patterns.
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Is there any easy approach to apply based on available statistics at national level? 
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Helo Dr Sieber,
you can find good information about malnutrition in 
regards
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Have done a several meta-analysis in animal science, especially animal nutrition. Have used standardized effects sizes such as Hedges'g. However, want to move to epidemiology (causes of diseases), and would like to apply effect sizes such as relative risks, which is directly stated in research articles. My question is when they are mentioning highest vs lowest levels of intake of a nutrient, do that mean the lower and higher 95 % CI? Also, can quintiles or quartiles been used when no CI are available?
I would also want to know what to do if I want to describe results qualitatively?
Sorry that I am still so "uninformed" on the basics after all the years.
Thanks a lot
James
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When a study talks about highest vs lowest levels of intake of a nutrient, they mean that they have categorized the continuous measure of nutrient intake, e.g. into quarters (based on the quartile cut-offs) or fifths (based on the quintile cut-offs) or some other pre-defined categorization. They then take the highest category of intake and compare to the lowest (ignoring all those in-between) and provide the RR for that comparison. This RR will then hopefully have a confidence interval associated with it.
Problems with comparing highest vs lowest categories of intake include: (1) ignoring the other categories, you can't see if there is a dose-response trend or not, (2) when you combine in meta-analysis with another study different definitions of "high" and "low" intake, you can no longer interpret what intake the pooled estimate refers to, (3) using different definitions of "highest" and "lowest" inevitably introduces additional heterogeneity into the meta-analysis. That's a bad thing. (4) there are often other things different about people who have extremely high or extremely low intakes, that possibly can't be adjusted out or controlled for.
Many meta-analyses of observational studies in nutrition have moved on to fit a dose-response curve over the whole range of intake, and combine this in the meta-analysis, using methods such as those described by Greenland and Longnecker, or by Hamling, and these have been incorporated into standard software such as R, Stata and SAS.
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I'm doing a study on the prevention of obesity in children and adolescents with Down syndrome
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There are plenty of studies. If You are constructing dietary plan and exercise program You should be careful because of all the changes in physiology in individuals with down syndrome. You should be aware of lower relative peakVO2, reduced catecholamine response to exercise, chronotropic incompetence and limited cardiac output at peak exercise intensities and other factors that are demanding different exercise intervention. (e.g. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3012449/  ,
Of course the same goes for nutritional intervention.
Some literature You might find helpful:
Kind regards,
Jan Homolak
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Why is fighting hidden hunger important?
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Agree with Ali and Namukolo
At WHO data base  there is a data on  minerals and vitamins and their assessment methodds  
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As you may know, fiber represent a group of carbohydrates or carbohydrate-containing compounds that are neither digested nor absorbed in the small intestine. You may also know that the fermentation potential varies among this group which implies that the traditional total fiber information in food composition database might not be very helpful when studying the relationship between fiber intake and gut microbiota ecosystem.
Do you know if a food composition database containing detailed information on fibers compounds (e.g. cellulose, hemicellulose, beta-glucans, pectins, etc.) exists? Without being a food composition database, it could be a specific table like the “International Tables of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values”.
Thank you very much for your answers.
Best regards
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Dear Eric
I don't think that what you are seeking exists as a complete database, but some food composition databases have fibre fractions (although there is often incomplete coverage of all foods). You could investigate EUROFIR, which has pulled together EU food composition databases - it has soluble and insoluble fibre, nsp and AOAC fibre for lots of foods www.eurofir.net. The UK Composition of Foods tables (the supplements for vegetables, herbs and spices, the fruit and fruit dishes supplement and the cereals supplement) have broken down fibre fractions into: cellulose, lignin, soluble and insoluble non-cellulosic polysaccharides. These data are in the paper copies of the food tables, but I am unsure whether this is available online.  I hope this helps.
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I am would be very grateful for any recommendations how to investigate best the nutritional habits in pregnancy a subsequently in a cohort of mothers as well as children up to 3 years of age - it is intended a longitudinal study with some sort of combination of FFQ questionnaire and food records (3-day or 1-day record). I don't know much about the quality of available questionnaires - what is the best method to get the best data? Or where is it possible to get the questionnaires? I will be very grateful for any suggestions...J.
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Julie,
Please go the Nurses Health Study (NHS) I/II/III website and download their sample questionnaires. It includes an extensive FFQ that's been validated. For the children, try looking up the Growing Up Today Study (GUTS)
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Rounding Time variable in SPSS or STATA
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Many Thanks :)
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Randomization is necessary to minimize bias in intervention study. For a crossover study, randomization is only performed at the order of the treatment sequence. But if I were to perform systematic review, is it highly biased if a randomized crossover study did not describe how it performed randomization method?
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The risk of bias due to inappropriate randomization in a crossover trial design is not as large as in a parallel arm design, because individuals act as their own controls. As long as the treatments do not have a potential carry-over effect, due to a insufficient wash out period between phases. When doing a systematic review there are scoring systems that can be used to measure overall quality of the trials that meet the rest of the review criteria. A threshold quality score can then be used as an additional inclusion criteria for the review. These scoring systems typically give more value to appropriately randomized and controlled trials.