TS Picks: June 15, 2015

Memory-based dietary assessments; organs-on-a-chip; scientists in Italy accused of spreading plant pathogen

Jun 15, 2015
Tracy Vence

FLICKR, TIFOTTER

Selections from The Scientist’s reading list:

  • Scientists have long lamented human nutrition–related study designs and the reliability of dietary data. In a Mayo Clinic Proceedings report published this month (June 9), researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Queensland School of Medicine in New Orleans, critique memory-based dietary assessment methods (M-BM). Because they rely on people’s abilities to accurately recall their nutritional habits, the authors argued these methods are flawed. The authors “conclude that M-BM data cannot be used to inform national dietary guidelines and that the continued funding of M-BMs constitutes an unscientific and major misuse of research resources.”
     
  • “[D]ata promised by organs-on-a-chip could accelerate drug development and allow researchers to carry out experiments too risky for human volunteers.” — The Economist, “Towards a Body-on-a-Chip,” June 13
     
  • Researchers in Puglia, Italy, investigating the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa are being questioned by local police. They are accused of letting the bacterium, which is endemic in parts of the Americas, out of the lab, where it is infecting olive trees, Nature News reported this month (June 1). “It’s frustrating to hear all these complaints when you think you are doing a public service,” Mediterranean Agronomic Institute’s Anna Maria D’Onghia, who has been questioned by police, told Nature.