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A Word From the Registered Dietician & Nutritionist

How Much Protein Do I Need?

Each person’s nutrient needs are a little different, and you actually have some leeway with how much of each to have. However, when it comes to macronutrients (protein, carbs and fat), it’s not the same rule. We want to get enough, without too much. There are varying suggestions on what the correct ratio is for macronutrient intake, but they typically fall within the following range:

  • 45-65% of calories from carbs
  • 20-35% of calories from fat (I’ve seen some studies show Mediterranean diets that have up to 40%)
  • 10-35% of calories from protein

NOTE that these are not percentages of food on the plate, they are percentages of CALORIES from each food group. What makes this extra confusing is that carbs and protein are 4 calories per gram where fat is 9 calories per gram. Fat is very calorie dense, which is why you aim to eat less of it by volume, than the other sources of calories. Less is more!

Also, FYI – alcohol is 7 calories per gram. That’s still more calories per gram than carbs and protein. It can add up fast, hence the ‘beer belly’ that some people can accumulate even when it seems that they don’t “eat” that much.

Given this information, what is the optimal amount of protein that you should aim for? Consuming more protein than your body needs is not helpful. The average American eats twice as much protein as they need (they fill 1/2 their plate with meat!)

Protein Sources & Amounts

Health Exercises to Tap Into Your Resiliency

The current pandemic the world is facing has caused a whirlwind of emotions, especially for immunocompromised patients, including cancer patients. Every feeling, from grief to sadness, and anger to hopelessness, has been magnified as our minds take a toll and our level of vulnerability has grown.

Right now, we are doing the best we can with the knowledge, experiences, and tools that we have. A couple of ways to utilize these tools and stay grounded during this time include meditation and exercise. Below are a list of resources, including ones I have personally used, that can be utilized to build inner and outer strength.

Walking

A great form of exercise that can be done anywhere and doesn’t require any equipment. During your walks, take in the scenery around you. Challenge yourself by quickening your pace, going up and down hills, or see how far you can go in a specific amount of time.

Yoga

Another activity that requires little to no equipment. Find free videos on YouTube or look to see if a local studio is offering online classes. Yoga allows your mind to calm and your stress hormone levels to reduce as you focus on slower movements and breath work.

Aerobics or high-intensity interval training (HIIT)

Helps improve cardiovascular health and endurance through quick movements done in rounds and can utilize the entire body. YouTube and Instagram are great places to look for these types of exercises. You can also incorporate weights (if you have them) to make it more challenging.

Strength training or weight lifting

Beneficial for both men and women, and burns more calories over time. You don’t have to be buff to lift weights or even have equipment. Buckets filled with heavy items or other things with handles, soup cans, bags of flour, a dish towel, or even body weight can be used to break a sweat. Again, YouTube and Instagram are your places for videos. Pinterest can also be helpful by searching for “body weight exercises,” or “exercises with no equipment.”

  • Mastering the form of each exercise is crucial to avoid injuries. Form > the amount of weight you can lift.
  • Do each exercise slowly. Form a mind-muscle connection.
  • Don’t forget to breathe!
  • Stretch!
  • Favorite exercises:
    • Bicep curls
    • Tricep dips
    • Bent over rows (back)
    • Rear delt flys (deltoids)
    • Upright rows (shoulders/trapezoids)
    • Squats
    • Deadlifts: Romanian, sumo, one-leg, stiff-leg (hamstrings)
    • Calf raises
    • Military press (shoulders)
    • Chest press

Meditation

Meditation is a wonderful practice that can be used to mitigate negative thoughts and distractions. This is important any time, not just during quarantine! One of the best things about meditation: you don’t have to be perfect! Meditation takes dedication and practice. YouTube has free, guided meditations that can be done in any quiet space. Some have someone spreading, while others are simply music. Apps, such as Headspace and Calm, also offer guided meditations.

Health Fraud Scam – Be Aware and Careful

Avoiding health care scams can be as simple as not signing blank forms, not providing personal information to unknown parties, and not agreeing to schemes to make money by falsifying paperwork.

Unfortunately, there is a scammer for every medical condition or concern. People who are suffering from conditions like cancer and its harsh treatment regimen may be confused and belittled by persistent phone calls or emails but there are ways to fight back.

How it Works

Healthcare fraud is a way of billing health insurers or government programs like Medicaid out of money through a system of fake, unnecessary, or inflated bills. An unscrupulous doctor may offer you cash in exchange for your signature on a permission form that will allow him to bill for fake services.

Others, including people who show up at retirement homes or senior activity centers, may offer to provide  a medical “test” of some kind, whether eyesight or hearing, etc. The individual then bills your insurer or Medicaid an exorbitant amount for the useless service – or gets added to your monthly regimen of providers despite the service or monitoring not being necessary. A new wrinkle in this phishing scam are people who offer to provide a “genetic test” using a cheek swab at a healthcare fair, senior center, or other forum, and who have you fill out medical insurance information at the same time. They will then try to bill your insurance for the unnecessary “test” and may pursue you for the cost if your insurance refuses to pay.

Medical equipment, from oxygen tanks to catheters to shower chairs, may be provided by scammers who bill your healthcare insurance despite the item being either unnecessary or absurdly high-price. If you accept medical equipment, be sure it’s recommended by your regular doctor, that it’s necessary, and that you shop around for the best price rather than just signing an authorization that allows the provider to bill any amount.

Home health aides may be assigned to your home and billed to your insurance but never show up to provide a service. Keep an eye on your billing statements to be sure this sort of fraud is not showing up on your account, and call your provider if you see anything suspicious.

How to Avoid Healthcare Scams

To protect yourself from such scams use tools at your disposal, such as reverse email lookup, confirm website addresses and compare them to actual government websites you find on your own, or call your health insurance provider if you’re suspicious about a bill, a caller, or an unwanted package of medical equipment. Here are other tips to follow:

  • Never sign a blank healthcare or medical form that authorizes payment in exchange for a treatment (such as that described above) that was not planned and authorized by your usual medical team.
  • Do not accept unnecessary equipment that you did not order and do not use, like braces, apnea devices, or orthotics.
  • Watch your billing statements for any unauthorized charges, and report any that are unusual.
  • If you think a doctor is doing unnecessary tests or surgeries, get a second opinion. This can be a way to bill for services that you don’t need.
  • Check your billing statements to ensure that the procedures noted are exactly what you received because some scammers are able to change the name of a procedure, such as a biopsy, to collect more money.
  • Providers may also try to “unbundle” procedures and charge more for each step rather than a “package” price. Watch for this more expensive billing practice on your statements.


Related issues

Healthcare can be a confusing part of life to navigate, as many of us have multiple doctors, copayments, coverage issues, deductibles, drug coverage, and more to learn about. Unfortunately there is a scammer looking to work every angle and take advantage of anyone, so beware of the following healthcare related scams:

  • Anyone who calls to tell you it’s necessary to buy a new health insurance card or pay over the phone for a new Medicare card immediately and wants your credit card and/or social security number and personal information (you can call 1-800-MEDICARE to check the person’s identity and validity of their call before providing any information);
  • Confusing medical discount plans with medical insurance – discount plans are “club” like groups that claim to offer discounts on doctor visits, drugs, and medical devices but they are not the same as insurance;
  • If you receive Medicare you do not need additional insurance provided through the Healthcare Marketplace, and anyone who wants to charge you a fee for helping to make a decision about coverage offered through the Healthcare Marketplace is a scammer and should not be given a credit card number, bank transfer, or paid with gift cards, and
  • Anyone who claims to be “from the government” and threatens you with a financial penalty for not being up to date on insurance is a scammer and should not be told any personal information such as social security number (you can call the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-382-4357 to ask about or report fraudulent schemes).

10 Body Signals Warning Health Problems

Most often, we don’t worry about our health until we start to experience severe symptoms. Things like headaches, stomach aches, and fatigue have become too common that many people think they’re just normal. Well, most of the time they are. And even the healthiest individuals can suffer from occasional discomfort and pain.

However, we should always be aware of what our body is trying to tell us.

Below are 10 ways our body signals that we should be more concerned with our health:

Unexplained Weight Loss

Drastic weight loss is something to be worried about, especially if you haven’t changed anything in your diet. Most often, it indicates an underlying condition.

Health problems associated with unintentional weight loss are overactive thyroid, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), depression, endocarditis, tuberculosis, and cancer. As you can see, all these are chronic illnesses that require immediate and proper treatment. If you’ve lost more than 10 pounds without exercise or diet changes, it’s time to check in with your doctor.

Stomach Pain

You can have stomach pain for many reasons. Indigestion, allergies, or some bacterial infection are among the most common causes of abdominal pain. These symptoms can be addressed by taking either prescription or over-the-counter medications. And more importantly, by practicing proper hygiene like washing hands regularly or sanitizing surfaces with disinfecting wipes before use.

However, in some cases, stomach pain signals something more serious, such as a heart attack. Other symptoms to watch out for are nausea and heartburn. Meanwhile, “crampy” abdominal pain that is accompanied by bloating and diarrhea may signal irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Chest Discomfort

Chest pain is a major red flag that requires immediate medical attention. It’s a common symptom of a heart attack but it could also be caused by pancreatitis, pneumonia, panic attack, and many more health problems.

If you or someone you know suffers from chest pain along with nausea, shortness of breath, pain or numbness, lightheadedness or dizziness, sudden weakness, flushing or a cold sweat, call 911 immediately.

Skin Problems

You can have a quick assessment of your overall health just by looking at your skin.

Being the largest organ in the human body, the skin can tell a lot of things about our health. For instance, a skin rash that is accompanied by fever, joint pain, or muscle pain could indicate an internal problem or an infection. Yellowing of the skin could suggest liver failure while darkening of the skin, particularly on skin folds, could be a sign of hormonal disease.

Other skin problems that signal a need to check in with your doctor are:

Wrinkles

It’s common for older adults to have these. But deep forehead wrinkles could point to atherosclerosis which is the hardening of arteries – a risk factor for heart disease.

Breakouts

Acne is a common skin problem that can happen even in healthy individuals. But how do you know that it’s more than acne? If you haven’t had acne for a long time and you suddenly experience breakouts, it’s best to consult your doctor. Sometimes, it could indicate Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) or hormonal disorders.

Dryness

Dry and itchy skin could be a sign of a hormonal problem, such as an overactive thyroid. Meanwhile, people with autoimmune disease may suffer from swelling and hardening of the skin.

Weakness in the Arms and Legs

This symptom is due to loss of muscle strength, which can be caused by different health problems. Weakness, which also comes in the form of weariness, tiredness, lack of energy, or fatigue could be a sign of underlying illnesses like congenital myopathies, electrolyte imbalances, malnutrition, malignant tumors, nerve impingement.

Fluctuation in Body Temperature

The normal body temperature is 98.6°F (37°C) ± 1°. It’s common to go past this reading when you have a fever. Also, minor fluctuations are normal and can be attributed to environmental factors. However, excessive fluctuations in body temperature could signal more serious conditions, such as hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, septicemia (a type of bacterial infection), and altered insulin activity.

Sleep Issues

Common conditions associated with sleep problems are heart failure, musculoskeletal disorders, kidney disease, and thyroid disease. Insomnia is also a common symptom of mental health disorders like general anxiety, phobias and panic attacks, bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia.

Moreover, certain brain and nerve disorders like dementia and Parkinson’s disease can all cause sleeplessness.

Bathroom Problems

People with type 2 diabetes have bodies that are less efficient at breaking down food into sugar. As a defense mechanism, the body will try to eliminate the sugar by flushing it out into the urine. If you experience more frequent trips to the bathroom (and feel thirsty more often), consider undergoing a blood test to know your average blood glucose level. The sooner diabetes is diagnosed, the easier it is to reverse through proper lifestyle changes.

Chapped Lips

If you can’t live without applying lip balm, it’s your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Dry, chapped lips are a common cause of vitamin deficiency. Consult your doctor for some lab tests and switch to a more balanced diet to make sure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs.

Cloudy Mind

Do you feel ‘lost’ lately? Are you unable to solve simple problems or formulate a potent thought? Cognitive and physical health are intertwined. Just as cognitive problems can result in some physical symptoms, physical illness can also affect our cognitive abilities. Obesity, for example, can significantly impact one’s ability to think and reason.

Chronic health problems usually start with minor symptoms. It’s best to consult your physician for any of your health concerns.

Health Care and Social Media: Importance of Facing Their Challenges

Social media has greatly influenced many aspects of our society, particularly healthcare. Through social networking sites, blogs, forums, and similar platforms, it has become easier for people to find health information and get the care they need.

But the use of social media in healthcare is not without challenges. Concerns over breaches of patient privacy, the abundance of unreliable health resources, violation of personal–professional boundaries, and many others have surfaced over the past years, which makes both the public and health professionals question the impact of social media on health care.

The Role of Social Media in Health Care

Social media is one of the most popular channels used by healthcare providers (HCPs) to communicate with their patients and promote health. In fact, 99% of hospitals in the U.S. have an active Facebook page. The use of other social networking platforms like Twitter and Instagram in healthcare is also on the rise.

Health education.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of social media in healthcare is information dissemination. It allows health institutions and organizations to share discoveries, research, health tips and recommendations, and relevant news to the people.

Patient care.

Another benefit of social media in healthcare is it helps providers build positive relationships with patients. Gone are the days when people will have to wait in line for hours to have a consultation with their doctors. Today, they can send queries or book an appointment online and get updates from their HCP. This, in turn, strengthens the trust between them and improve the patient experience.

Healthcare promotion.

83% of internet users or 93 million Americans have searched for health-related information online, ranging from mental health, disease management, immunizations, etc. Moreover, 60% of social media users trust the information shared by doctors and other health professionals. Because of this, care providers now utilize social media to promote their services.

Challenges

The online world is an open space. Everyone can upload information without verifying it, view someone else’s data, and in worst cases – steal someone else’s data. Managing social media can also be burdensome for healthcare providers who – as we know it – are some of the busiest professionals there are.

Patient data privacy.

HCPs take extreme caution in sharing information online, afraid that it patient’s privacy. To avoid this, all healthcare providers should adhere to the HIPAA Compliance which is a set of regulatory rules concerning the privacy, security, and integrity of confidential health information.

Social media management.

Healthcare professionals use social media to promote their services and provide better care to their patients. But managing social media is not easy. To reap its benefits, healthcare providers should keep their followers engaged, provide useful information, and respond to the queries of patients. All these take time, strategy, and commitment. For these reasons, many healthcare providers make use of all-in-one marketing platforms like Adrack that can automate social media campaigns, saving them time and resources.

Poor-quality information.

Information on social media circulates easily. While social media is a great channel for promoting health education, a lot of health information shared on various sites lack quality and credibility. Medical information may also be unreferenced or incomplete. It can also be changed by anyone.

Healthcare providers need to remind their patients that not all health information they see on social media is true. They should also guide them to peer-reviewed websites where all information is subject to quality control.

Concerns over professionalism.

A major risk in the use of social media in healthcare is the possibility of posting content that can damage the reputation of providers, students, and the healthcare institution as a whole. Physicians are very concerned that people might lose respect for them if they share inaccurate information or judge them if they share their personal opinion over certain topics. Many healthcare providers also fear that people might perceive them negatively through photos, comments, likes, and other social media activities. Ensuring that they are providing only relevant and appropriate information is the best way to avoid such issues and controversies.

Patient–HCP boundary.

Boundary violations can occur without the physician and the patient even knowing it. A lot of times, it’s the patients who initiate online communication by sending ‘friend requests’ to their physicians. Unknowingly, this violates boundary policies between healthcare professionals and patients. Rather than communicating on social media channels, HCPs should consider setting up a website to be used for sharing posts regarding medical events or services. This way, patients can follow updates in a more professional manner. Also, HCPs should refrain from using investigating the personal behaviors of their patients in making a clinical judgment, such as knowing whether or not they have quit smoking or are observing a healthy diet.

When used responsibly, social media can be a powerful tool to promote health education, build positive HCP-patient relationships, and improve healthcare quality.

The Power Of Fitness And Weight Loss As Self Care

A recent report by the NPR charts the rise of the $10 billion self care industry.  Far from dismissing it as flippant or purely cosmetic, it seems that there is a power to self-care which is only just emerging.  The January Empowered #patientchat focused on the importance of self-care for both patients and care partners, and many contributors highlighted health and fitness as valuable opportunities for self-care and empowerment.  So how can you empower yourself to make great health and fitness choices? And how will they benefit you?

Losing pounds, gaining results

Studies have shown that losing 5-10% of your body weight can make a real difference to your physical health, helping to protect from conditions such as heart disease, arthritis and diabetes.  It can also be a real boost to your self-esteem to start seeing results on the scales or in your jeans. Finding the motivation to stick to a plan, and seeing it pay off as you hit milestones and goals is hugely rewarding and empowering.  Fitness is a journey that no-one else can take for you; you can have cheerleaders and a full support crew, but it’s you doing the work, which is why it feels so great when you achieve. Not seeing the results you were hoping for by now? It may be that you’re making some of the common weight loss mistakes that can prevent effective and lasting weight loss.  By reading up and avoiding the pitfalls, you can get on with building a better body.

Boosting your body

Nourishing your body from within with good healthy food is one of the most meaningful forms of self-care. The USDA offers sound advice on creating a varied, nutritious plate to ensure that your body is boosted in the nutrients it needs.  Drinking plenty of water is also always a powerful tool, enabling your body to replenish and restore itself.  Put simply, taking time to feed yourself with a rainbow of fruit and vegetables, lean proteins and fiber, along with all the other food groups in moderation, will strengthen your body and boost your immune system.  There’s also evidence that the colors and textures will help your mental health too; so why wait?

There’s no doubt that obesity is bad for the body, and it already affects over a third of US adults. What’s becoming clearer though, is that taking a positive approach to weight loss, through regular exercise and healthy eating, not only improves physical health but greatly boosts mental health and well-being.  Empower yourself by embracing your health and fitness, and you may just find it to be the greatest expression of self-care possible.


Photo by Martine Jacobsen on Unsplash

6 Nutrition Tips to Protect Your Brain and Balance Your Mood

With 25 percent of adults and 10 percent of children experiencing mental illness each year and major depression burgeoning into a leading cause of disability around the world, it’s easy to feel stressed about the state of stress. However, recent research is revealing a new line of defense against mood disorders that’s a little bit different from the traditional approach of medication and therapy: the diet.

A growing body of data suggests our gut health directly influences brain development and mental health. It’s believed that the microorganisms residing in human guts, known as the microbiome, impact the generation and metabolization of neurotransmitters like mood-boosting serotonin and dopamine, along with other neuroactive chemicals.

Unfortunately, when people are experiencing mental illness or otherwise feeling down, they’re far more likely to reach for comfort foods that are high in fat, sugar, and refined carbohydrates than health food. But it turns out that comfort foods aren’t so comforting after all: Simple carbohydrates and processed foods have been shown to increase the risk of depression, while a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods seem to protect the brain.

So if you’re experiencing depression, anxiety, or other mood problems, and want to stop them before larger problems occur (or, if you just want to help prevent these issues from starting in the first place), how can you tailor your diet for a healthy brain?

  • Limit alcohol consumption. While it’s tempting to reach for a glass of wine after a tough day, heavy alcohol consumption can lead to addiction and actually exacerbate mood disorders by interfering with the body’s metabolization of tryptophan, an amino acid that’s critical in the production of serotonin.
  • Stick to complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates like sugar, corn syrup, and refined grains cause blood sugar fluctuations that can lead to mood swings and brain fog. And while simple carbohydrates can provide a short-term serotonin boost, complex carbs like legumes, whole grains, and fibrous vegetables are much more effective at providing your brain lasting, stable serotonin.
  • Eat tryptophan. In order for carbohydrates to effectively boost serotonin, they need to be consumed alongside tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that gets converted into serotonin, and you’ll find it in proteins like turkey, duck, eggs, and beef.
  • Get your vitamins. Deficiencies of B12, folate, selenium, and vitamin D have all been linked to higher rates of mood disorders like depression. To make sure you’re getting enough of these important nutrients, consume plenty of seafood, lean meats, dairy, and eggs (B12, selenium, and vitamin D), and legumes, nuts, and dark leafy greens (folate). And spend plenty of time outdoors, even in the winter months, because sunlight is one of the best sources of vitamin D. Supplements can be a great tool, especially for vegetarians and vegans, but too much selenium and vitamin D can be toxic, so consult with your doctor before adding supplements to your diet.
  • Look for antioxidant-rich foods. Antioxidants have been connected to reduced cognitive decline and cancer risk, and evidence suggests that they can even help with moods. Deeply pigmented fruits and vegetables like berries, dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, and carrots are all great sources of antioxidants, as are nuts, whole grains, legumes, and fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Consume probiotics. Lactobacillus and bifidobacterium have been shown to reduce anxiety-like behavior in mice, and scientists believe the mood-enhancing benefits of these probiotic bacteria extend to humans. And while these beneficial bacteria may be difficult to pronounce, they’re easy to find. Look for fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, miso, tempeh, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha that contain active cultures.

Eating well can go a long way toward promoting good mental health, whether you’re currently experiencing a mood disorder or just want to protect your cognition as you age. And while diet alone may not be enough to manage a mental illness, it’s an invaluable tool in the fight for a healthy, happy brain.


Image via Pixabay by Foundry

A How-To On Reading Scientific Papers

“Be skeptical. But when you get proof, accept proof.” – Michael Specter

That quote is from Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives, where New Yorker staff writer Michael Specter examined the distrust of science that’s turned discussion of scientific topics into a potential minefield. Some good examples of that minefield are climate change, and childhood vaccinations.

Anyone interested in scientific progress – full disclosure, I’m in that group – needs to understand the ideas being explored in scientific papers, the dispatches from the front lines of scientific thinking and discovery. To arrive at that understanding, you have to be able to understand what you’re reading, and I’ll be the first to admit that isn’t easy.

Scientific papers are written by scientists, for scientists, and follow a set of rules and formal structures that can feel like they’re designed to prevent any understanding by the average Joe/Jane “just plain human.” In this post, my goal is to help anyone interested in, but not formally trained in, science tackle reading – and understanding! – an article in any scientific journal.

10 steps to scientific (article) understanding

  1. Check the source

    • What journal is publishing the article? Check Beall’s List, and if the journal appears there, you can stop reading – it’s a fake journal.
    • Who is the lead author, and what organization or institution is s/he affiliated with? If it’s an established university or research institute (University of Chicago or Scripps Institute, for example), keep reading.
  2. Read the introduction first, not the abstract

    • The introduction will reveal the Big Question, the one that the research project worked to reveal the answer to. For instance, an article in the Christmas 2017 issue of The BMJ reports on research into the effects of pet ownership on human biomarkers of ageing; the introduction clearly lays out the Big Question as “ we examined the prospective link between pet ownership and a selected range of objective biomarkers of ageing proposed for use in large scale population based studies of older people.”
  3. Write out your own summary of what the research was examining

    • This will give you a grasp of why the researchers wanted to ask the Big Question, and a framework for assessing what their answers to that question are.
  4. Identify the null hypothesis

    • The null hypothesis could really be better termed the “nullifiable” hypothesis, since the purpose of the research project is to nullify the hypothesis that there are no differences in possible answers to the Big Question.
    • An example of a null hypothesis is “the world is flat,” which is what Copernicus worked to scientifically disprove a while back. He was successful, but there are some people who still reject his conclusions. (Warning: opening that link might be hazardous to your sanity.)
  5. Look at the approach, and the methods, used in the research study or experiment(s)

    • What did the researchers do to answer the Big Question? What specific experiments did they run?
    • Sketch out diagrams of each experiment or data crunch.
  6. Read the results section of the article

    • Look at the written results, as well as all charts and figures related to those results.
    • What are the sample sizes? Really small sample sizes are a red flag.
    • What results are listed as “significant,” and what as “non-significant”? If you want to totally geek out on this topic, this post will make your geeky day.
  7. Do the results actually answer the Big Question?

    • Using your own judgment, do you think the study authors have answered the question asked in the introduction?
    • Do this before you read the paper’s conclusion.
  8. Does the conclusion make sense, in light of everything you’ve read and evaluated while going through the paper?

    • Do you agree with the conclusion?
    • Can you identify an alternative explanation for the results in the article?
    • What are the next steps the authors see emerging from their research?
  9. Read the abstract at the beginning of the paper

    • In light of the work you did in Steps 1 through 8, does the abstract line up with what the authors said their research purpose was?
    • Does it fit with your own interpretation of the paper?
  10. What are other scientists saying about the paper?

    • Have other scientists written about this paper?
    • What other research is referenced in the paper?
    • Have the authors of that research weighed in on the paper you’re evaluating?

Reading, and understanding, scientific papers takes practice. It’s also fun, if you’re a science nerd, or just interested in new scientific discoveries. And it’s work worth doing, because the more you know, the more likely it is that you yourself might make a discovery that makes a difference.

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