Thursday, February 21, 2008

Introduction

Who am I? I'm a 35-year-old postdoctoral fellow working at an academic diabetes research center. I've spent the last 12 years working in labs studying various aspects of the biology of obesity and type II diabetes.

What is this blog all about? Everybody knows that what we eat is one of the most important determinants of our overall health. But navigating the tremendous amount of diet and fitness advice we have available to us can be overwhelming. The goal of this blog is to try to give people an impartial assessment of current scientific findings on food, fitness, obesity, and type II diabetes as well as to look at the scientific basis for the "conventional wisdom" on these topics. I will always provide full citations for any scientific papers discussed here, and I strongly encourage readers to seek out these papers for themselves (most state-funded medical schools have libraries of scientific journals that are available to the general public) and post your own interpretations in the comments.

I will not accept any advertising on this blog, and you won't see any links to industry advocacy groups. Unfortunately, special interests in the food and diet industries have played far too big a role in the dissemination of information about health and fitness, and I hope this blog will be one small step against that. Everyone has biases, including me, but I will be doing everything I can to minimize the extent to which mine can be said to be financial. One negative consequence of my lack of financial interest in this blog, though, is that I can't promise how regularly I will be able to update it. I'm hoping to shoot for once a week.

Why am I doing this? I really enjoy talking about what I do and sharing the major findings in my field with people. Scientists in general have a somewhat isolated existence...we spend all day in research labs, we tend to speak in a language that most people can't understand, and we communicate our findings through journals that are read pretty much only by other scientists (save for the tiny percentage of papers whose existence is picked up on by science journalists). As a consequence, even many physicians are not aware of current developments in biology. We all have bodies and we all want to do what we can to keep them healthy. Unfortunately, with so many conflicting sources of information out there, this is not always an easy task. Science doesn't have all the answers, but it can help us navigate through the messages that are presented to us. And my hope is that I can facilitate that navigation.

6 comments:

Piffle said...

What do you think of the press release from Sciencedaily today about gastric bypass surgery having an effect on diabetes independent of weight loss?

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080305113659.htm

I thought it was interesting, but to me the way it points is to look at some of those hormones biochemically rather than by doing more of such radical surgery on humans. Though if they're going to have it done anyway, they're certainly worth looking at.

HT said...

I look forward to reading more of your blog. I think we need more factual information available to people, rather than distortion and bias, and blogs are one way to do that. I'm glad you're looking specifically at the results of studies.

Dr. LaWade said...

Piffle, I do plan to write something about that study soon! You're right that it raises a lot of interesting questions. And thanks for the feedback, ht!

Callicebus said...

Hi -

I found your blog through a link at BFD. This is a great idea, and I'm glad someone actually working in the field is able (not to mention willing!) to give the rest of us a breakdown of actual studies. I'll be back!

Kelly said...

I have a feeling your blog might help my marriage. :) My husband is a scientist (geneticist) and hates it when I spout off something related to weight and weight loss and health without some sort of study to back it up. I'm sure I will definitely have some suggestions for topics based on whatever our latest discussion is at home.

Anonymous said...

what a great idea for a blog!