My Week at Uni – Data

It’s been a data and number heavy week! As a self-labelled excel addict, I’ve quite enjoyed it! I really do love numbers; I say I dislike maths but I like order and numbers/statistics provide clear evidence in science and I love a database. I have spreadsheets for everything, I even have a database for my knitting patterns, (yes, I did just say that, it’s not an issue, it’s perfectly normal =p).

Monday was a long day we had 4 hours of lectures but only had about 1 hours’ worth of education the rest was all filler. Tuesday was a good day, the research methods lecture was actually useful, the lecturer seemed better this week and we were able to have a play in the exercise lab where we worked out our individual moderate exercise intensity ranges – linking this all in with substrate usage (whether you metabolise fatty acids or glucose energy and how much).

Thursday, we had 4 hours in the computer rooms. First, we had a session with Nutritics (think my fitness pal for nutritional professionals), it was interesting to have a play with the site and look at its capabilities. Then we had a couple of hours to reacquaint ourselves with SPSS which we first used last year briefly. SPSS is like Excel on crack. You don’t use sums in the same way but you can manipulate and analyse data in such a variety of ways and create many different types of figures and diagrams. It was a useful session to remember how to use SPSS and what can be done with it.

Besides uni lessons, it’s been a busy week of uni reading and weekly assignments and work, I’ve had a lot of yoga cover this week. Although it’s been busy it’s felt manageable and enjoyable (despite getting caught in a very heavy downpour at the beginning of the week!)

Personal learning this week: The way we think about an experience can change it from negative to positive or vice versa.

Interesting things I’ve learnt this week:

  • An artist created a green rabbit – Eduardo Kac, an artist, worked with genetic researchers to splice the green fluorescent protein (GFP) of a jellyfish into the genome of an albino rabbit. There’s controversy around the image released as it would change the colour of the skin not the rabbit’s hair and that’s not to mention the obvious controversy and ethical issues around manipulating an animal’s genetic code. This was in 2000.
  • The healthy body fat range for females is 21-33% – This is based on the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for females between the ages of 22 and 39. It’d be easy when looking at some ‘idealised’ images of the female body to think that we should have as little fat as possible. Just as having too much fat on the body can lead to health issues so to can having too little body fat.
  • Placebos are not always placebos – A new study has looked into the lack of descriptions in placebo drugs (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/eci.13169). Placebos are meant to be inert, meaning they are not supposed to have an effect on the patient physically, neither positive nor negative. This allows for a greater reliability in determining the outcome of a course of action, sometimes symptoms can improve of their own volition or due to other lifestyle changes and sometimes psychology can have an impact. However, some placebos have been known to contain ingredients which have had an impact on the outcomes and this has not been disclosed in the results of the study. One such example would be a placebo used in a study looking at lowering cholesterol; the placebo contained olive oil, an ingredient known to help lower cholesterol. This skews data and renders the study much less useful and much less reliable. Correct and full disclosure of all details is so important with scientific reporting but is not always done in a lot of different ways!

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