Today, a dream of mine came true.
Imagine what could be done if we had an X-men-like group of the world’s best scientists, independently funded and uninfluenced by industry, tackling the most important questions in nutrition?
Starting today, we have such a group: the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI).
I am thrilled to be a part of their Board of Advisors, alongside a diverse group of experts including David Berkowitz (Ziff Brothers Investments) and Nassim Nicholas Taleb (of Black Swan fame), among others.
Funded off the bat by a foundation started by billionaire hedge fund manager John Arnold, and supported by a world-class Scientific Advisory Board, NuSI is off to races.
Born from a shared vision of its co-founders, Peter Attia, M.D. and Gary Taubes, this non-profit will fund research that applies first-of-its-kind, rigorous scientific experimentation to the field of nutrition…
Contributing researchers will span the dietary spectrum, including scientists who personally adhere to veganism; low-carb, high-protein diets; and everything in between. This purposeful “agree to disagree” mix is integral to the success of the project, as biases are discarded in favor of solid, experimental data.
No hidden agenda, no corporate interests, nothing to do with food subsidies or ulterior motives. Just good science. It’s about time, right?
Kevin Schulman, M.D., Director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute and the Center for Clinical and Genetic Economics at Duke University, had this to say:
“…Do we really have good science to support our diet recommendations? The answer is convincingly no. The largest public health crisis in the United States is being addressed with the type of data that we question in every other field of medicine: observational studies subject to selection bias, and small scale, short-term clinical studies which can’t offer definitive results…
It’s well past time for an effort such as that proposed by NuSI–to test our hypotheses with rigorous science. We owe this effort to the public and to our children who otherwise could suffer from the disastrous consequences of our scientific hubris on this issue.”
Here are two slideshows that introduce NuSI in more depth. The first is short (16 slides), the second is more in-depth (35 slides):
David Ludwig, M.D., Ph.D., Harvard Medical School Professor of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, echoes my sentiments exactly:
“…The need for philanthropic support of nutrition research has never been greater. With a willingness to focus its resources on the most difficult and risky projects, an organization like NuSI can have a transformative impact, not only on scientific understanding, but also on public health.”
And in closing, Peter Attia, M.D., the President of NuSI:
“Without all the elements – money, time and talent – working in concert, research efforts will continue to fall short of what is necessary to solve this problem [of obesity and related diseases]… NuSI will be successful because we are bringing together the best scientific minds and giving them the time and resources they require to find the answers we all need.”
Are you ready to settle some of these neverending debates, once and for all? I certainly am.
Posted on: September 12, 2012.