Tutorial 1: Bioelectromagnetics research and its theoretical bases: How to reduce confusion and improve scientific progress
Wednesday, June 22, 2022 • 8:30 – 9:30, Large Hall
Rodney Croft1, 2
1Illawarra Health & Medical Research Institute, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia
2Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research, Australia
In recent years, science has been faced with a substantive challenge in that it has been shown that many of its conclusions are not replicable. This is referred to as the ‘replication crisis’, and is problematic because it shows that we can’t rely on many of the conclusions reported in scientific articles. Indeed it is particularly problematic because simple indicators of which conclusions can be relied-on have not been identified. Although this is an issue for all researchers, it is particularly important for those starting their careers, as there is not an unambiguous body of facts that can be relied on, and is it not always clear how to choose research methods that provide meaningful contributions to science. However, by understanding the theoretical bases of the scientific method, and how many of the current research practices differ from what has been shown to be appropriate, we have the opportunity to refine our research practices to overcome the replication crisis and the lack of certainty that it entails.
This tutorial will help improve people’s understanding of the strengths and limitations of various aspects of the scientific method, and in doing so provide both the means to differentiate between real and spurious claims, and the opportunity to pursue research objectives more rapidly and reliably. To this end, the tutorial will: 1/ Provide a background to the scientific method, including how it differs from other methods and why it is thought to produce more trustworthy conclusions; 2/ Show how a range of important methodological issues currently used in science relate to those theoretical bases (e.g. statistics, attribution of causation, appeal to experts, appeal to summary documents); 3/ Show how divergence between scientific practice and its theoretical bases can lead to false claims and failed replication; and 4/ Provide guidance on how to more validly conduct and interpret research.
Tutorial 2: Oxidative stress in research and the problem of biomarkers in EMF research
Wednesday, June 22, 2022 • 8:30 – 9:30, Small Hall 2
Felix Meyer1, Bernd Henschenmacher2, Pietro Ghezzi3 & Henry J. Forman4, 5
1Department effects and risks of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, Federal Office for Radiation Protection, Cottbus, Germany, 03046
2Department effects and risks of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, Federal Office for Radiation Protection, Oberschleißheim, Germany, 85764
3Dipartimento di Scienze Biomolecolari (DISB), Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo, Urbino, Italy, 61029
4Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA, 90089
5University of California Merced, Merced, California, USA, 95343
Oxidative stress is hypothesized to play a major role in explaining putative effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic on cells, animals and humans. There are many papers claiming to show an alteration and even enhancement of the production of reactive chemical species leading to oxidative stress after exposure to electromagnetic fields from static fields to fields in the radiofrequency range. Many of these papers have methodological flaws including the use of inappropriate markers for oxidative stress or the use of inadequate measurement methods or both of these problems. Additionally, the use of proper controls is missing in many papers.