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:3/24/2017)... ... March 24, 2017 , ... ... its innovative EcoQube Frame vertical micro-veggies garden on Kickstarter . Surpassing the ... product – with nearly 2,000 consumers (and counting) already backing the campaign. ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... County, NY (PRWEB) , ... March 24, 2017 , ... ... Somers and White Plains, N.Y., is pleased to announce Westchester resident Lauren C. Enea ... a law clerk for the firm, will concentrate her practice in elder law, Medicaid ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... , ... March 24, 2017 , ... ... first Certified Medical Reiki™ Master in Frederick, MD. Judy says, “I am passionate ... during what is often a very difficult and challenging time.” , A Certified ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... March 24, 2017 , ... “The Communion of ... people of God in congregations across the United States. “The Communion of ... in 1964 who has served congregations in seven states throughout his long career ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... The physicians of KSF Orthopaedic Center PA ... Area. The new location is located at 2255 E. Mossy Oaks Rd., Suite 440, ... newest location will provide patients living in the north Houston area (The Woodlands, Conroe, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:3/24/2017)... , Mar. 24, 2017 Research ... Management in the U.S.: Consumer Strategies" report to their ... ... how adults approach and treat their physical pain, emphasizing consumer ... distinct groups: pain sufferers and adults who have selected illnesses/conditions ...
(Date:3/24/2017)...   The Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs ... the pharmaceutical industry has appointed Dr. Jane ... formed scientific advisory board. Dr. Chin will be ... ever medical affairs think tank within the pharmaceutical ... ACMA, please visit  www.medicalaffairsspecialist.org .  Connect with ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... FinancialBuzz.com News Commentary  ... According to new data published Arcview ... legal cannabis market is projected to continue to grow at ... the current presidential administration. The report created by Arcview,s data ... growth in this industry are the passage and subsequent implementation ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: