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Field Notes

November 20, 2017

  • Study: More Athletes Doping than Previously Thought

    UNC statistician Jay Schaffer and eight other scientists worldwide developed and used a scientific lie-detector test of sorts with 2,167 athletes at two international track and field competitions. Shaffer co-authored the resulting study to determine the probability of doping.

    While traditional drug testing through blood and urine analysis typically reveals doping in 1-2 percent of athletes, the tests can fail to detect “cutting-edge doping techniques,” according to the study. Indeed, the statistically proven and validated survey method used by researchers estimated that 44 percent of athletes were doping at the 2011 International Association of Athletics Federation World Championships in Athletics in South Korea and 57 percent were doping in the 2011 Quadrennial Pan-Arab Games in Qatar, the two competitions where they administered their test.

    “We were shocked by the results,” say Schaffer, adding the study’s goal is to come up with a better way to measure doping for the study commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

  • Dairy Supplement Effective Post-Exercise for Cancer Survivors

    A study led by a UNC researcher shows that kefir is an effective post-exercise dairy beverage that won’t cause stomach upset. “The beverage received high scores overall and, except for an improvement in overall liking, we observed no significant differences in physical and psychological feelings before and after participants learned that it contained kefir and had potential health benefits,” said lead investigator Laura K. Stewart, Ph.D., associate professor in UNC’s School of Sport and Exercise Science.

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  • UNC Researchers Develop Unique Community Safety Program for South Dakota Reservation

    UNC researchers have developed unique programming for a grant-funded project to address community safety on the Cheyenne River Reservation in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. Assistant Professor of School Psychology David Hulac and graduate assistant Lauren Rankin collaborated on the project with the South Dakota District of the Federal Probation and Pretrial Services (FPPS). South Dakota District of the FPPS funded the project to develop training manuals in order to help prevent crime and reintegrate those who have committed crimes.

  • Biology Class Helps Protect Endangered Plants

    Students worked this summer alongside Bureau of Land Management botanist Carol Dawson to collect data aimed at protecting two endangered plants: Osterhout’s Milkvetch and Fenland’s Beardtongue. Fifteen undergraduate students in Associate Professor Mitchell McGlaughlin’s intensive field botany course compiled the data with the help of three graduate students while completing a weeklong portion of the class that takes students into the field to learn about local flora. They spent most of their time in the Middle Park region near Kremmling, Colorado. Students collected data relating to plant abundance, reproductive status and insect damage in long-term monitoring plots. The data is used to determine if the endangered plant populations are increasing, decreasing or stable, which has direct implications for the type of activities that can occur on public lands where the plants grow.