NEWS

Chicago Mayor Commends Collaborative Water Research Projects

Chicago Mayor Commends Collaborative Water Research Projects

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was at the signing of an MOU that outlines ways to increase collaboration between Northwestern University and Ben-Gurion University’s Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research at the at the Water Technology & Environment Control (WATEC) Conference in Israel. The mayor’s comments about interdisciplinary […]

Pica Among Hispanic Women Living in the US

Pica Among Hispanic Women Living in the US

Our article “Pica is prevalent and strongly associated with iron deficiency among Hispanic pregnant women living in the United States” recently published in the journal Appetite. Structured interviews (n=187) were conducted with pregnant Hispanic women living in Salinas Valley, California, during their antenatal care visits; hemoglobin, serum […]

Pica, Parrots, and People – An NPR Articles Discusses Clay Eating

Pica, Parrots, and People – An NPR Articles Discusses Clay Eating

NPR journalist Carolyn Beans recently interviewed Dr. Young about a recent scientific article that documents the geophagic behavior of Amazonian parrots. The authors set out to test the two leading hypotheses about geophagy:

  1. earth is consumed to protect against toxins in the diet (i.e. secondary plant metabolites)
  2. during periods of increased nutritional demand, clay is used as a micronutrient supplement

The authors found that for the majority of parrot species observed, clay eating peaked during breeding season and was unrelated to food availability. They interpreted this to indicate that pica among parrots serves as a means of micronutrient supplementation (nutritional demands for sodium increase among birds during breeding periods). Although the study benefits from a large sample size and long data collection period, Dr. Young warned against mistaking correlation with causation. She also argues that clay analysis is needed in order add plausibility to the authors’ conclusions– we still need to know if the clay being consumed is actually high in sodium, and if parrots preferentially choose clays that richer in sodium.

Check out the full NPR coverage here.

After Nearly a Year Away, Vicky is Back – And Ready to Write Her Dissertation!

After Nearly a Year Away, Vicky is Back – And Ready to Write Her Dissertation!

For 10 productive months, Vicky was in Singida, Tanzania doing work that will ultimately inform her PhD dissertation. As part of the Singida Nutrition and Agro-ecology Project (SNAP), Vicky helped implement two surveys and completed much of the qualitative data collection. She will use data […]

Welcome to the Team, Maggie!

Welcome to the Team, Maggie!

We offer a warm welcome to Margaret Butler, an incoming Ph.D. student at Northwestern University, focusing on biological anthropology and human biology. She is passionate about biocultural approaches to anthropological research concerning human health. Her undergraduate thesis was an exploration of the variables impacting women’s […]

Congrats to Katie – From Fellow to Faculty Member at Cornell!

Congrats to Katie – From Fellow to Faculty Member at Cornell!

Dr. Katie Fiorella, an Atkinson Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell University jointly hosted by our group and Chris Barrett’s, is completing her post-doc and moving into a new role. She will join the faculty in Population Medicine and in Cornell’s new Masters in Public Health program as the lead in the food systems and health concentration. Katie’s postdoctoral fellowship included a collaboration with WorldFish Cambodia on the role of animal source foods. This work examines the nutritional and biodiversity benefits of a new management strategy in rice field fisheries called Community Fish Refuges. Community Fish Refuges are managed, protected areas that allow community members to create a new source population of fish to support food and livelihoods in inland Cambodia. Stay tuned for upcoming publications from this work!

Katie’s ongoing work around Lake Victoria in Kenya has resulted in exciting and novel findings. In a study published in PNAS, Katie and co-authors found that illness in fishermen alters the sustainability of fishing behavior. Read the article here and learn more about this work in a radio interview and other media coverage.

Making a Splash in the New “Water Security” Journal

Making a Splash in the New “Water Security” Journal

This week, our paper came out in the newish journal “Water Security”. In it, we argue that water security shouldn’t be seen as merely the sufficiency of water as an object (“H2O”), but should be reconceptualized and explicitly linked to broader social and political relations that […]

SNAP Takes Home First Prize at Nane-Nane Fair in Central Tanzania

SNAP Takes Home First Prize at Nane-Nane Fair in Central Tanzania

Mentor farmers representing the Singida Nutrition and Agro-ecology Project (SNAP) won first place at the Nane Nane (Farmer’s Day celebrated each year in Tanzania) Fair in Dodoma. SNAP farmers were selected to represent the Rural Singida District at the fair, ahead of several other local […]

Reporting on Water Quality Testing Methods in Western Kenya

Reporting on Water Quality Testing Methods in Western Kenya

Our paper about human sensory perceptions of water quality and the tools used to quantify bacterial load in water was recently published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. In January 2016, Shalean Collins, Patrick Mbullo, and Joshua Miller collected water samples at both the source and storage locations for numerous households in Western Kenya. Two different methods were used to measure the concentration of E. coli, a pathogenic bacteria, in the water samples: Colilert and compartment bag tests. Our results indicate that both measures were highly correlated (i.e. they provide comparable assessments). We also found that self-reported ratings of water taste and smell were related to the quality of the water, meaning that water which people rated as tasting or smelling poorly was more likely to be contaminated with E. coli.

 

Collecting water samples in rural Western Kenya.
Undergrads Hard at Work During the Summer

Undergrads Hard at Work During the Summer

Tracy and Julia, Northwestern undergraduates, are two of the students who have been hard at work this summer for the Young Research Group. Tracy and Julia have been focusing on data analyses for SNAP, our agro-ecological study in Tanzania, and HWISE, our global household water […]