Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Experts Discuss Applying Systematic Review to Nutrition Field

03.12.2008
Performing systematic reviews of nutrition related topics raises unique challenges not often encountered in the field of medicine. In a new article, a team of researchers use specific examples to describe the steps, strengths, and limitations of systematic reviews relevant to nutrition and discuss the factors that impact the results.

Systematic reviews, also referred to as evidence-based reviews, provide objective assessments with pre-specified questions that can be used to develop clinical and public health practice guidelines, make recommendations, set research agendas, and formulate scientific consensus statements.

“Systematic reviews serve as a means of synthesizing and evaluating evidence from multiple studies in a rigorous and transparent way that minimizes bias,” says corresponding author Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University. “The systematic review approach is flexible and can accommodate unique challenges posed by questions related to food and nutrition.”

Writing in the December issue of the Journal of Nutrition, the authors provide examples illustrating the flexibility of the approach to a wide range of nutrition-related topics including: effectiveness and safety of vitamin D in relation to bone health, effects of soy on health outcomes, and health effects of (n-3) fatty acids on arrythmogenic mechanisms in animal and isolated organ/cell culture studies.

“When we deal with nutrition-related topics and systematic reviews, we often address issues that are not encountered in other fields of study,” says co-author Elizabeth A. Yetley, PhD, a former senior nutrition research scientist with the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “Nutrient intake, whether from food or supplements, tends to be more difficult to accurately quantify than, for example, the daily dosage of a medication. Therefore, when performing a systematic review, it is particularly important to document methods of assessment.”

Equally important, the authors write, is the documentation of new data as it emerges, as well as objectivity. Objectivity of a systematic review comes from individuals trained in systematic review methodologies, such as co-author Joseph Lau, MD, director of the Tufts Evidence-based Practice Center at the Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies at Tufts Medical Center. “To be involved in a systematic review, I must be free of personal biases or vested interest in a particular outcome. I focus on the methodology and look to my colleagues for their nutrition expertise,” says Lau, also a professor at Tufts University School of Medicine.

The process of performing a systematic review begins with clearly defining the research question. Lichtenstein, the Stanley N. Gershoff professor at Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and colleagues advocate the “PICO” approach to formulating research questions. The acronym PICO stands for Population (participants), Intervention (or exposure for observational studies), Comparator and Outcome.”

“While systematic reviews cannot replace expert judgment and should not be used as a sole source of information for developing science-based recommendations and policies, they are valuable tools that can be adapted effectively for use in the field of nutrition,”

says Lichtenstein.

This project was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Lichtenstein AH, Yetley EA, Lau J. Journal of Nutrition. December 2008; Vol 138, Issue 12 . “Application of systematic review methodology to the field of nutrition.”

Cranney CHT, O’Donnell S, Weiler HA, Ooi DS, Atkinson SA, Ward LM, Hanley DA, Moher D, Puil L, Fang M, Yazdi F, Garritty C, Sampson M, Barrowman N, Tsertsvadze A, Mamaladze V. 2007. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. “Effectiveness and safety of vitamin D in relation to bone health.”

About Tufts University School of Nutrition

The Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University is the only independent school of nutrition in the United States. The school's eight centers, which focus on questions relating to famine, hunger, poverty, and communications, are renowned for the application of scientific research to national and international policy. For two decades, the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University has studied the relationship between good nutrition and good health in aging populations. Tufts research scientists work with federal agencies to establish the USDA Dietary Guidelines, the Dietary Reference Intakes, and other significant public policies.

If you are a member of the media interested in learning more about this topic, or speaking with a faculty member at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, or another Tufts health sciences researcher, please contact Andrea Grossman at 617-636-3728 or Christine Fennelly at 617-636-3707.

Andrea Grossman | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.tufts.edu

Further reports about: Aging Healthcare Nutrition Systematic reviews

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>