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Make it Personal

It's essential that researchers effectively communicate their work to the public, but sometimes they need to use more than just the facts to do so. According to a new JAMA editorial, scientists should use anecdotes when speaking about their work to the public, reports Katherine Harmon at the Scientific American Observations blog. According to the editorial's authors, the University of Pennsylvania's Zachary Meisel and Jason Karlawish, researchers should take a page out of the books of advocacy groups that specialize in telling personal stories to convey a point. "In the scientific realm, anecdotal evidence — the individual patient, the single result — tends to be shunned in favor of large, dense data sets and impersonal statistical analyses," Harmon says. Although that should remain the foundation of good research, stories can be used as examples of that science, she adds. "Stories are an essential part of how individuals understand and use evidence," Meisel and Karlawish write in JAMA. "Each time, those who espouse only evidence — without narratives about real people — struggle to control the debate. Typically, they lose."

The Scan

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.