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M A Y J U N E 2 0 1 68 POTATO GROWER Why The Type Of Study Data Matters Growers know that theres a need for good data that reflect the condi- tions on your farm- soil nutrients water- as such information plays a critical role in crop production and output. Solid data is similarly criti- cal in determining whether certain pesticides should be approved for use or what bene- fits a vegetable offers at the micro- nutrient level. Its important to under- stand the differ- ences in types of research studies and the data provided as they affect your business and policy decisions made by the government. Epidemiology Epi studies also known as observational studies are used to examine what risk factors or exposures are associated with an increased or decreased risk that a person will develop a disease. They rely on data collection via recall methods or via surveysinterviews. On the other end of the spectrum are laboratory and clinical studies which can be done by directly col- lecting cell samples from live ani- mal or human subjects. A clinical trial is any research study that prospectively assigns human partic- ipants or groups of humans to one or more health- related interven- tions to evaluate the effects on health outcomes. Clinical observations are the gold standard in determining causali- ty. An Epi study shows association and the observa- tions relate primari- ly to groups of peo- ple. In the past few years Epi studies have been the basis for associating potato intake with certain health problems like diabetes and obesity. These studies are observational and do not actively involve a control group and other clinical measures NPC Messageby John Keeling NPC Executive Vice President and CEO NPC has consistently called for sound scientific principles in the regulatory process.