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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals

Michael at UN General Assembly

Can Scientists be Social and Translate Science?

By Michael McBurney

Not everyone is intrigued by science. I get that. However, science (and scientists) is interesting. Three reasons to follow science blogs: 1) By nature, scientists test hypotheses. When considering questions from different perspectives, they challenge the status quo. 2) Scientists have a profound ability to distill a problem into the obvious. And 3), being a scientist can be fun. We may even have friends.

Challenging the status quo: Veuglers and Ekwaru write that the Institute of Medicine erred when calculating the 2010 vitamin D RDA. They report, because of a statistical error, 600 IU daily is insufficient to achieve serum 25(OH)D3 concentrations of 50 nmol/L in 97.5% of the population. While their proposed intake is high, it falls within the 10,000 IU daily no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL). It is an interesting paper. How do you think the calculation should be done?

Stating the obvious:  Full confession, this segment of the post is based on a press release by the European Society of Cardiology. The researchers prospectively analysed clinical data from 53 patients resuscitated from sudden cardiac arrest in Korea. Neurologic outcomes were scored 6 months after discharge. Patients with poor serum 25(OH)D3 status (< 20 nmol/L) had poorer neurological outcomes (vs those > 20 nmol/L). The obvious statement, reported in ScienceDaily, by the author was:  “Our findings suggest that vitamin D deficiency should be avoided, especially in people with a high risk of sudden cardiac arrest.” Yes, vitamin D deficiency is never a good thing.

Being Social: Yes, even scientists are capable of being social. Despite stereotypes of scientists being  odd, peculiar, and preoccupied with science, they are becoming more social. Even ones with eyeglasses, facial hair, shelves of books, and lab coats. For good reason. Scientists understand science. As Yeo and colleagues note, twitter seems to be a more professional medium to share content than facebook. Although there is an underlying suggestion that scientists may not have friends (or be able to identify them)! How fitting to stereotype!

Please, can someone ‘like’ this post/tweet? ;-)

Main Citations

Veuglers PJ, Ekwaru JP. A statistical error in the estimation of the Recommended Dietary Allowance for vitamin D. 2014 Nutrients doi: 10.3390/nu6104472

Yeo SK, Cacciatore MA, Brossard D, Scheufele DA, Xenos MA. Science gone social. 2014 The Scientist Oct 1, 2014.