If it helps gerbils, it could help you Essay
If it helps gerbils, it could help you
The article’s authors completed a study in which they fed three chemicals (choline, uridine monophosphate (UMP), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)) to gerbils. They also had a control group. The gerbils that were fed the nutrients performed better on mazes and other gerbil-specific intelligence tests after consuming the supplements for four weeks. This study is biased. It has been thought for quite some time that these nutrients, especially DHA, were beneficial. The doctors had a bias – they wanted this outcome.
They also failed to state the source of the nutrients. It is known that if the nutrients are produced synthetically that they are not as helpful as naturally occurring nutrients, and synthetic nutrients may actually be harmful. It is necessary to explain, therefore, how the scientists obtained the nutrients and how people may obtain them. The scientists also used a very short trial period. Four weeks is not a very long time over which to increase intelligence. Studying the effects of these nutrients in the long term may have yielded different results.
Not much information is given in this report. Did the scientists do anything else to the gerbils in the four weeks of the study? For example, did they spend any time training the gerbils to run the mazes? Was the amount of time in the mazes different for the animals on the supplements vs. not on the supplements? None of these questions are addressed. If the gerbils who received the supplements were also aided in other ways, it may invalidate the results, but the study results published here don’t say anything about the procedures.
Dosage information is also not available. It would be necessary to know how much of each nutrient should be taken, and how, to achieve the results. Of course, the scientists are also assuming that the results found in gerbils will actually transfer to humans, which may or may not be true. It is, however, relatively accepted in the scientific community that these nutrients do benefit humans, so perhaps the study was actually useless. Finally, the scientists were obviously very biased by personal beliefs.
One of the study’s authors had this to say regarding proposed increased human intelligence through the use of these supplementary nutrients: “…it’s not too far a stretch to hope that people’s intelligence can also be improved. Quite frankly, this can’t happen soon enough, as every environmentalist, advocate of evolution and war opponent will attest. ” This scientist is implying that anyone who disagrees with his politics is lacking in intelligence.
If his personal biases are that obvious in his critique of the study (which showed exactly what he expected and wanted), it is likely that his personal biases also affected the study’s outcomes. Most “scientific” research that comes out today is described minimally, and is done with the ‘correct’ answer already in mind. Scientists find themselves “accidentally” discovering exactly what they had set out to find. These biases are harmful and unprofessional, and this article is a good example of exactly that.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 18 December 2016
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