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Clinical Nutrition

This guide provides an overview of resources and search strategies for clinical nutrition research.

Types of Nutrition Studies

Compares disease rates among population groups and attempts to identify related conditions/behaviors (ex. Diet and exercise)


  •  observation of scurry in sailors’
  •  observation of low rate of breast cancer in Japanese

Shows correlation (relationships between diet and disease) but not causation (the actual reason for the observation)

ANIMAL STUDIES (Filter to animal)

  • Used as a starting point to help explain a hypotheses
  • Used because human studies are difficult to conduct and expensive
  • Must be followed-up with cell or human studies to verify findings because animals are differently physically and mental than humans

CELL CULTURE STUDIES (Search “Cell culture” or “cell culture techniques”)

  • Specific human body cells are isolated and grown in a laboratory
  • Study the effects of nutrients on cell processes
  • Nutrigenomics
    • The science of how genes, diet and disease interact to create health problems
    • Certain genes determine susceptibility to disease
    • Certain foods turn disease susceptibility genes on or off
    • Knowing family genetic tendencies helps determine best diet for the individual
    • Part of biochemical individuality


  • Case Control Studies
    • Small-scale epidemiological study
    • 2 closely-matching groups (age, gender, race)
    • One group has the health condition (ex. Diabetes) being examined, the other does not
    • Identify the factors (ex. Vegetable consumption) that differ between the groups
    • Provides clues about cause and prevention of disease
  • Clinical Trials
    • Researchers make a change (ex. Diet or exercise) and study the effects
    • Two subject groups: Experimental (people are given or make the change) and Control (similar people are not given or make the change)
    • Health and disease differences are measured between the two groups


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