On Sunday my blog and social media presence celebrated its 2nd anniversary! While that may not seem like much, it is. As many of you reading this know, being active on social media is not for everyone. So today I high-five myself for making it through two years!
Recently, Karl, the cow/calf herd manager at the research station where I am based, asked if I wanted to go look at the calves. I jumped on the opportunity, as it had been a few months since I had seen them, I also grabbed an office support staff member who missed the baby calf viewing.
Karl has this herd split into two groups, as they are easier to manage. Karl also explained that these cows have two roles, they are part research herd and part teaching herd.
As part of the physiology research herd, these cows may have blood drawn to look at progesterone levels, they may have different breeding synchronization methods, or they may be fed different feed rations to see how the fetus responds, and later how that calf performs in life.
Fun fact: cows that experience stress (i.e. diet limitations) while pregnant, have calves that generally do not perform as well as calves born to cows with minimal stress. By using cows as a model, we now know the same holds true for humans! To read more about cattle fetal programming, visit here, here, and here. Did you know cattle also have a 9 month gestation period just like humans?
As part of the teaching herd, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) graduate students learn how to collect blood, help with various cattle tasks as needed, and may assist with surgeries if and when necessary. It is a very hands-on, real world approach.
ALL animals involved in research and the people who work directly with them, must be current on their IACUC (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee) training, and all facilities are inspected twice a year to ensure they are safe for both animal and human. Read more about IACUC here.
As you can see, these research cows are very healthy, have plentiful amounts of grass in their pastures, and appear to be happy. Karl and the UNL students ensure they are well taken care of daily! The research cows look just like any other cow that you may see in pastures! The cows also play a role in making advancements in human health and medicine, how cool is that!?
My colleague, Kayla Colgrove, shares how easy it can be to eat healthy on a budget, as well as tricks to make eating healthy easier. I like meal planning and preparing stuff for lunches on the weekends too. Which of these tips do you like?
People quote a lot of “research” on the internet, however, the sources are generally not peer reviewed or from reputable resources.
A super handy tip when trying to find peer reviewed or credible information is to type what you want to look up and then follow it with site:edu. For example, this would look like heat stress site:edu. Adding the site:edu ensures that research which has been peer reviewed or research done by a university come up first in your search. These are generally seen as more credible than popular media and various websites. Also, it also puts you in touch with people who are “experts” on a topic, so you could potentially follow up on a topic.
Another fun fact… If Google is your go-to for looking up a topic, then go to Google scholar.Google scholar “provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites”.
Once you have found these research based articles, reading through them can be daunting. However, Elsevier, an academic publishing company, released a handy little infographic on how to read scientific papers. I thought it had some great points, and I encourage you to check it out. Hopefully it makes ready scientific literature a little less daunting.
From the comments below, you will see that my friend Stephen shared another tip! I was not aware of this but have been trying it out and find it very helpful. When you do a Google search, type skeptic after what you want to look up. For example, this would look like GMO skeptic. From what I can tell, it filters out the popular media stuff (usually not very reliable or true) and brings up content that is worth reading!
This blog post was recently shared with me about the purpose of science, and how science may make mistakes, but how they are usually corrected via more/other science. A good read.
What other tips do you have for finding credible, scientific, peer-reviewed information?
I am a member of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) – the professional membership organization for persons in Extension. Next week I head to South Dakota for the 100th annual conference… It’s kind of a big deal 🙂
As I put final touches on my presentation, prepare last minute details for the events and committees I am helping with, and pack for a variety of events such as the pre-conference animal science tour, learning sessions, and more, I was reflecting on the past four conferences I have attended.
This throwback Thursday I will share some of my highlights from the past four years.