Nutritional data means what?


Musings on this article:

Like cabbage? Bet you have an innie.

Data can mean anything

I work for the Center for Human Nutrition at Washington University Medical School. I have at various points crunched food diary data (when the article says food diaries generate a lot of data, they aren’t kidding), filled out food diaries of my own, and processed samples of folks who participate in our diet and exercise studies to see what happens to their metabolic processes when they eat (or don’t eat) certain foods. Sometimes we control exactly what they eat; sometimes they report it themselves.

Misrepresentation in reporting food is easy to do, and most people don’t do it on purpose. How do you know exactly what’s in that yummy fancy restaurant food? Is it summer when your favorite foods are in season so you eat them all the time? Do you not want to look bad on paper so you don’t eat that second slice of pie when you normally would (or eat it and not report it)?

Basically this means that you can gather up whole reams of data and then compare it with whatever you want to, and come up with some pretty silly conclusions, like the picture that accompanies this entry: if you eat cabbage, you probably have an innie belly button. What? While it’s possible that cabbage has some effect on the position of your belly button, this is probably not true. So don’t trust what the media says is the next new food thing guaranteed to make you lose weight and avoid cancer forever, because it may be based on faulty interpretation of data. Do your own research.

a sigh of relief


And finally, Orgo is over. I know I did ok in my lab class, though I wish I could get my last paper back. I guess I could email the prof about it…it’d be interesting to see if I actually made any coherent thoughts during that crazy writing. I don’t know about the grade in the lecture. I know that I was farther down the scale than I thought I was, and while I know I didn’t perform spectacularly on the final, there were at least things that I did know…hopefully more than things I didn’t. But at least I can breathe again. No more classes at night, no more labs saturday mornings, at least for a little while. I suppose I might take some classes later, but nothing now.
Although now I get to start studying for the MCATs…and find a new job. Luigi’s saying that someone else in the department might be interested in me, but that I’ve got to spend less time on the computer. Makes me sad. Seems to be a trend. Wish I knew how to be better dedicated to things other than those that make me happiest. If you find out, tell me how.
I really want a boyfriend right about now. Someone to hold me and tell me that it will be alright. Sure, either of my parents would do that and they are both wonderful loving people, but…just not the same. I’m just a little lonely, I guess. And worried. Stressed. Unsure. Slightly less so now that orgo is over, but still…damnit here I go quoting John Mayer, again:

I’m so tired of being alone, so hurry up and get here

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the Great Freezer Debacle


Subtle reminder: it’s my birthday tomorrow 😉
So yesterday I was at work until 8 pm. Now normally if I stay that late it’s by choice, since the internet here is infinitely faster and more reliable than the dialup at home (which I randomly feel bad about, since my parents are actually paying for it) and I’m working on a layout or other some such time-waster. But not last night. No, it was the Great Freezer Debacle.
So there’s all this construction going on in the department…some new lab is moving into the labs just recently vacated by the Core Lab and they’re demolishing all sorts of things. A fine layer of dust, etc is all over the stuff in my ‘office.’ And every so often there’ll be random clangs and booms as someone drops a large piece of ceiling tile or slams a door. Erg.
Anyway, in the course of this demolishing, it transpired that the room we keep the human samples freezer in was set to be taken apart, therefore the freezer must move. But not before the changed the core of the lock to the room, and almost wouldn’t give us (the lab) the key, since it was the main constructin core lock. But we were like, hello, that’s a freezer we always have to use, and we can’t move the freezer until you put tile back down on the floor of the room it’s going into, so yeah. Key.
Anyway, once they finally got the tile down it was time to move the freezer. It took a good five people…it’s a heavy-ass -80 deg C freezer that we store serum and plasma and -gasp- urine samples in. Lots of fun. Yes, urine can be good but in these quantities…Erg.
So it’s got a key that turns it on and off, so we turned it off to unplug the freezer from the wall…and we left the key in the lock. This is a huge mistake in hindsight but no one was thinking of the key (which was always kept in the lock anyway) when we had to try to squeeze it through the doorway. So, I bet you can guess what happened to the key…

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