Last year, a team of undergrads from Duke University hypothesized that dietary intervention could reduce mercury toxicity in humans. The results are in and they reported no statistically significant decrease in blood mercury concentration of the participants in their study. The small number of participants and variation in the data prevent the team from inferring an effect from the planned intervention.
We love featuring “negative” results because the most common answer a scientist gets when testing a hypothesis is they didn’t find significant results. Success on our platform is measured by successfully executing the research and sharing the learnings. Science is about the journey, not the destination.
The team learned that dietary interventions in the setting in Peru are feasible to implement when integrated with existing health post infrastructure. The challenge for them was getting participants to “buy in” and exhibit willingness to change their diet. The materials from their workshops educating the participants on how mercury affects human health and how mercury cycles through the environment is now available to the community.
This is a prime example of what we like to see in final results, successful execution of the scientific experiments and transparent reporting back to the public.