In past issues of Applied Metabolics I've written summaries of new research presented at various science conferences. Years ago, I used to attend a few of these myself, but quickly came to the realization that doing so was a waste of time, at least for me. Most of the conferences consist of scientists presenting Power Point displays of their published research. But if you peruse the science journals like I do, this information is old news. Certainly not worth the expense of attending one of these conferences in person. The other motive to attend such conferences is to hang out with fellow scientists at often exotic locations. It's more of a vacation that anything else. But the one useful aspect of these conferences are what's known as "poster presentations." This involves setting up boards in a large room that displays brand new research that hasn't yet been published in science journals. This has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that the research is new and may contain useful information that hasn't yet been presented in any other form. The disadvantage is that since the studies presented in poster form have not been published yet, they have not undergone peer review. Peer review involves the study being read by other scientists who are not involved with the study to determine the validity of the study. If the study meets the standards of peer review, such as accuracy and truth, the study is then published in a professional journal. But poster presented studies have no such peer review, and as such could be both inaccurate and useless.
You have to understand what constitutes a good study to predict the value of poster studies. Luckily, after reading countless scientific studies over the past 40 years, I can easily assess the value of a study. But some studies have more practical value than others. That is, while many studies offer interesting information, it often is of no immediate practical value to someone who is engaged in exercise or sports. Another problem is that many of the studies are animal studies, usually involving rats or mice as subjects. The problem here is that what applies to animals such as lab rats doesn't necessarily also apply to human physiology. In fact, in a large percentage of cases, it doesn't. Think about that next time you see a blog or "science site" with a headline that looks impressive but turns out to be a rat study. This is the reason why I rarely discuss animal studies in this publication. I think it's more useful to focus on research that has more applicability to humans.
A more recent problem with the poster studies is that many of them are nothing more than thinly disguised commercials for products such as food supplements. If you read the small print under such studies you will find . . .