Author Archives: awbrown

Bias study recommended for Faculty of 1000, receives great media coverage

Access the recommendation on F1000Prime Our recent study investigating the influence of distorted research reporting on the belief in the presumed effect of breakfast on obesity has been recommended for the Faculty of 1000! “F1000Prime is an in-depth directory of top articles in biology and medicine, as recommended by our Faculty of more than 5,000 expert scientists and clinical researchers, assisted by their designated associates.”

Our study has also received media coverage from such excellent news outlets as NPR, The New York Times, Slate, and other great information outlets.

Breakfast, bias, and obesity: Distorted research reporting contributes to beliefs beyond scientific evidence

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and other such maxims reflect a moral and health-related halo surrounding breakfast. Breakfast is purported to instill numerous health benefits to those who consume it, not the least of which is weight loss and weight maintenance. However, the scientific literature does not necessarily support a causative role between skipping breakfast and obesity. Yet, information sources including blogs, popular health icons, and government agencies have made statements that eating breakfast will help control weight. In our new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, we quantify ways in which the scientific community may be contributing to these premature causal claims.
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Winner of OPE Career Enhancement and Postdoctoral Travel Awards

The Office of Postdoctoral Education at UAB has awarded me two Fall 2013 awards: the Career Enhancement Award and the Postdoctoral Travel Award. The Career Enhancement Award is designed to fund extramural training activities. In my case, I have used the $1500 award to attend the Statistical Horizons Meta-Analysis course this summer. The Postdoctoral Travel Award is intended to fund travel to a conference to present scientific work. This $500 award will be used to travel to the Obesity Society meetings in Atlanta this fall. My gratitude to the OPE for supporting my career development.

Awarded NORC Pilot Grant to Develop Mechanical Turk Capacity at UAB

Consider a rodent study that uses a high fat diet to induce obesity. What do the results represent? Do they model the effects of all high fat diets in humans? Do the results provide insights into the effects of obesity? Or should we limit the scope of inference to consider only that specific diet within rodents?

The use of language in communicating research results can influence the way others interpret them. Analyzing the use of language in research reporting can be a time-consuming task, though, which can be difficult to automate because it often requires human judgment. The Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham has recently awarded me a $25,000 Early Career Study Award to explore using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to crowdsource the evaluation of language used in scientific publications.
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First place: Nutritional Epidemiology Postdoc Poster Competition

As a follow up to being announced as one of the finalists for the Nutritional Epidemiology Postdoc research competition at the American Society for Nutrition’s annual meetings during the Experimental Biology meetings, I was named the winner of the poster competition. My work, titled “Sound advice or biased reporting? Breakfast as a strategy to reduce or prevent obesity or weight gain,” was presented at the Nutritional Epidemiology Research Interest Section business meeting alongside some fantastic work. The competition received a record number of submissions and I am honored to receive this recognition.Thank you to my co-authors Drs. Michelle M Bohan Brown and David Allison.

David Allison wins Excellence in Mentorship Award

Congratulations to David Allison, Ph.D., and the other winners of the 2013 Graduate Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentorship. Nomination required five letters of support, but we collected 11 letters of support for Dr. Allison , with many others providing verbal support. Click here for more information and for a list of the other winners.