Navigation Links
GOOOAAALLL! What soccer can teach health researchers
Date:12/17/2012

(Edmonton) Make no mistake, Alex Clark and Lionel Messi were not separated at birth.

Both might be stars in their own right, but Clark, associate dean of research in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta, realizes he's not about to woo stadiums of crazed soccer fans like FC Barcelona's all-time top scorer.

"It would probably take you about five seconds of watching Lionel Messi move the ball to work out who is the more talented soccer player; however, a lot of health research would see us as very similar," says Clark, noting they're both male, under 5-foot-11, have brown hair and are top performers in their fields.

"From a health perspective, the current approaches we are using to look at complex interventions would not be able to pick up the difference between Alex Clark and Lionel Messi."

And therein lies the problem, adds Clark, who used the soccer analogy in a new paper published Dec. 17 in the British Medical Journal. The paper was co-written by nursing peerand fellow soccer fanLorraine Thirsk and researchers from the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney, Australia.

Though the analogy is intentionally absurd, Clark says the lessons to be learned from soccer are realand can help save lives. Whereas health research focuses on what is readily quantifiable, soccer fans and announcers appreciate the complexities that make Messi the player he is, and a host of other intangibles during a matchfrom field conditions to injuries to opponents to coaching and managing.

"Our health research needs to tap into these 'Messi intangibles' when we are evaluating treatments and interventions. A simplistic trial is not going to do that," Clark says. "That's why you end up with some studies that say a program is successful and some studies that don't. And decades of research is published like that, with contrary findings and no understanding of why."

Thirsk says many of the questions health researchers ask are the soccer equivalent of asking, "Does Messi score goals?" or "Does Manchester United win?" Researchers can try to evaluate whether a diabetes self-care management program works, but it doesn't explain other factors such as differences in population, individual behaviour, education and other intangibles.

"Those are factors that are much more difficult to count and observe," she says. "What we should be asking is what works for whom, when and why."

Embrace failure, say researchers

Researchers also need to learn from failure, Thirsk and Clark say. When Messi has a bad day on the pitch, fans and announcers are keen to ask why. "In health-care research, negative findings either don't get published or are spun into positive findings," Clark says.

"Sports fans love failure because failure gives you a really concerted effort to work out, 'Why are we not winning? What on earth is going on?' In health, we see denial, methodological changes to hide failure or just spinning," adds Clark, noting research shows 40 per cent of studies have negative findings that are spun into positives because of a scientific culture that looks down on failure.

"That raises deep questions about our scientific culture. We need to embrace those hard questions and reflections to learn from failure and create research that is of higher quality, is more useful and is more likely to benefit people in Canada and elsewhere in the world."


'/>"/>

Contact: Bryan Alary
bryan.alary@ualberta.ca
780-492-0436
University of Alberta
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Can Playing Soccer Lead to Brain Damage?
2. Psychological testing may predict success in soccer
3. Medical schools fall short on teaching students about obesity
4. Video game with biofeedback teaches children to curb their anger
5. Virtual reality simulator helps teach surgery for brain cancer, reports Neurosurgery
6. Teaching Young Hockey Players to Body Check Doesnt Cut Injury Risk
7. New curriculum teaches internal medicine residents high value, cost-conscious care principles
8. Teach Prescribers About Dangers of Long-Acting Pain Meds: FDA
9. To Improve School Nutrition, Involve Teachers and Parents
10. Funding for teacher classroom management study
11. Fathers Can Teach Their Children Persistence: Study
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Hamlin Dental Group and Dr. Hamid Reza, dentist in ... the month of February, patients who visit Hamlin Dental Group will receive a ticket ... two at the Cheesecake Factory. , Tickets are available for routine dental visits ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... Los Angeles, California (PRWEB) , ... February 23, ... ... for Global Sports Development will host a diverse symposium on “Doping ... School of Law and Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP. The symposium will ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... in clinical trials, today announced that Premier Research, a leading clinical development service ... Clinical trials are becoming increasingly complex, due in part to an array of ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The Center for Autism and Related Disorders ... Research and Treatment (RI-CART) and Cinemaworld to present Sensory Friendly Films. The events ... films in an environment that accommodates their unique needs. , Launched in January, ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... Top cosmetic and periodontal dentist ... program today with a new Indiegogo campaign . Individuals are now able to ... the Los Angeles area, either as a participating patient or through an Indiegogo donation. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)... , Südkorea, 23. Februar 2017 LG Innotek ... Sterilisationsaufgaben vorgestellt. Die Sterilisationsleistung beträgt das 1,5-fache des 45-mW-Moduls ... Strahlung im Bereich zwischen 200 und 280 nm und eignet ... Bakterien, indem es ihre DNA zerstört. Das Produkt von ... ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... Im Rahmen seiner Schlüsselwachstumsstrategie arbeitet die ... südwestlichen chinesischen Provinz Guizhou, 2017 mit dem Angebot von Anreize ... der Entwicklung einer eingebetteten Hightech-Schlüsselindustrie. Foto - ... ... ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... , February 23, 2017 ... from increasing caseload for varicose veins in their body. ... globe are prompting the adoption of endovenous laser therapy ... global endovenous laser therapy market, published by ... of lifestyle choices and consequences of obesity have collectively ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: