Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Help Fund High-Quality Research on Diet and Health

University of California, San Francisco researcher Dr. Ashley Mason has asked me to spread the word about a diet-health study she's preparing to conduct in collaboration with Dr. Lynda Frassetto.  Dr. Frassetto is a widely recognized expert on mineral metabolism and bone health, and also one of the few researchers who has managed to wrangle funding to study the health impacts of a Paleolithic-style diet.  Her findings have been quite provocative.  

Together with their collaborators, Drs. Mason and Frassetto are preparing another diet-health trial to study the impact of two different diets on polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS.  PCOS is a common hormonal disorder among reproductive-age women, and its signs and symptoms include ovarian cysts, excess hair growth, menstrual irregularity or absence, infertility, and obesity.  Its causes are unknown, but insulin resistance is a core characteristic of it and is thought to play an important role.  PCOS is thought to be influenced by diet and lifestyle. 


A research team including Drs. Frassetto and Mason, as well as Drs. Umesh Masharani, Heather Huddleston, and Michael Cohn will test a Paleolithic-style diet and an American Diabetes Asssociation diet to see if either or both improves insulin resistance and menstrual cycle regularity for women with PCOS.  Each diet will likely have beneficial effects, however it remains unknown which will be more effective at treating PCOS.

Currently, it's exceedingly difficult for researchers to land funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to do nutrition-related research in the context of disease treatment or management, particularly if it involves a Paleo diet. Recognizing the important potential of fleshing out the relationship between diet and health, researchers are looking for other ways to fund their work.  This study will give them the early data they need to start large, truly definitive studies of the links between diet and insulin resistance, and you can help make it happen.

Please check out their crowdfunding website to learn more about the study, the researchers, and make tax-deductible donations to support their work. And, if you're attending the Ancestral Health Symposium, one of the "backer" rewards is having lunch with the researchers.

Click here to see their crowdfunding site! 



This post was prepared in part using content provided by Dr. Mason.

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