Neglected Areas of Research: What Study Would You Have Done with Unlimited Resources?

Neglected Areas of Research: What Study Would You Have Done with Unlimited Resources?

To improve our healthcare we need important research that is not being done. Often times health topics aren't studied due to lack of funds and resources. We’ve been asking our podcast guests where the missing research is in the field they are experts in. 

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Here is what they said:

Amy Shenk Morrison: How to Improve Your Fitness Starting with Mental Health

What study would you have done with unlimited time, budget and resources?

It would be utilizing ice baths to mitigate anxiety symptoms. I have this strong inkling that we can use a stressful situation that’s controlled in a safe environment, like an ice bath, to actually mitigate and diminish anxiety symptoms, but it’s just a theory, right?

I would love to have unlimited time, unlimited money, and unlimited help with creating that because we’re getting better at dealing with anxiety, but I think we need to step into stress a little bit more, and step into stress that’s manageable. Instead of simply avoiding [stress], so there is that compassion and tenderness, but we always have to choose to heal. There always has to be an action that we internally have to do ourselves. I think there needs to be an understanding of how stepping into controlled stress impacts our anxiety levels, and how we can get those lower every time.

Terry Wahls, MDHow to Live a Healthy Lifestyle: From Gut Health to Life Purpose 

What study would you have done with unlimited time, budget and resources?

People would really like to know, “Can I decline these toxic drugs that have high risk, and if I just do diet and lifestyle am I hurting my myself?” The way to answer that is to do a parallel corporate study, where we have people doing the best drug therapy and we have people doing the best lifestyle therapy. What happens with their brain bind? What happens with the number of acute lesions? What happens with their function? 

This would be a huge study basically for every systemic autoimmune issue because that’s the question all functional medicine docs are wrestling with. People will come to us [and say], “Is a functional approach just as effective as these drugs that cost $50,000-$100,000 a year?” For you or I, our perspective is, “Yeah, that’s what we see!” Our peers need to see someone do a rigorous study where you have blinded assessors assessing the outcomes of both studies and get that published. That’s how we change clinical practice, and that’s what we’re going to do.

Kelly Brogan, MD: Women Power: Solving the Root Cause of our Mental Health Crisis

What study would you have done with unlimited time, budget and resources?

I would love this study on so many different dimensions, including things like vaccinations, antibiotics, and all of those interventions that we assume to be the only legitimate choice under duress. Homebirth, I mean you name it. The study that I would love is you have 2 inpatient units. 

One of the inpatient units is the gold standard allopathic model.... The people who work there, many of my friends, are tirelessly devoted to their patients. That is the conventional model. They use medication and feed them hospital food and they do all the things that they do. 

Then, you have a comparator where you have folks with similar presenting symptoms and they are in what I would call a ‘healing environment.’ They are provided all the pillars we just described including detox practices, like coffee enemas, organic food, and there is a high prioritization in training them in the ritual of self care. The self care sort of engagement that I describe takes about 2-2.5 hours of our day. It’s a lot, from your morning routine and ritual being totally different than it would’ve been otherwise and once you layer in all of these different things. I mean this is true for me to this day. My priority in my day is my self care, and the rest of my life is around that. My self care includes dancing. It could include many different things. It could include massage. Whatever it includes, as you determine after that 30-day reset. It’s beginning to enculturate people around self care and then there’s community that is growing this empowerment consciousness and this personal responsibility and beginning to walk each alone, but together.

So you compare the outcomes of those 2 in a short period of time, so we can stick to the 2-month model. How do people report their experience? And that’s a lot of what we’re trying to do with this study we’re doing here. It’s never been done, it’s never been done. It’s just basic comparison. So with vaccination, there has never been one time, never, ever, ever has there been a population studied who lives under the principles of non-engineered and non-pharmaceutically managed immunity and then a population who opts for the current schedule. How do they do? What is their life’s experience? 

So these kinds of basic, naturalistic, observational studies are actually very powerful and important, I think.

Kat Toups, MD, DFAPA, IFMCP: - Brain Health & Aging: Exploring New Insights on Dementia

What study would you have done with unlimited time, budget and resources?

I really want to know more about the infections. I think the infections are a huge trigger for an immune response in the brain. They’re turning on the microglia, and that is leading to all kinds of problems. Personally, I’ve found it very difficult to try to make lists and understand which infections are affecting the brain. I do have maybe a 2-page list, and I try to research different ones, but I’d really like to see more data coming out about specific infections because it’s really trying to figure out which ones we test and how much to test.

The viruses we know are a huge factor. Some wonderful research came out of, was it Singapore? or somewhere in that region of the world in the past year. Huge numbers of patients, you know, 20,000-30,000 subjects. They looked at people who had never taken a course of Acyclovir, which is an antiviral that’s used for herpes outbreaks. They found that people who had taken a single course or more of Acyclovir had something like a 20x lower risk for Alzheimer’s, and again this doesn’t tell us that the Acyclovir prevented the Alzheimer’s. It didn’t say that the herpes virus caused the Alzheimer’s, but we know that when they do autopsies of people who died with Alzheimer’s...that something like 99% of people that died with Alzheimer’s had high levels of herpes simplex 1 in their brain. Well, herpes simplex 1 is pretty ubiquitous, you know? I don’t know the exact number, but its something like 80 percent of us have had that at some time-- that’s like cold sores or fever blisters, but those viruses stay in our body and they go and hang out in our brain. As long as our immune system is strong our immune system will keep those viruses intact. 

Anything that hurts our immune system, be it emotional trauma, head trauma, some other kind of sickness, or lack of hormones, so the neurons aren’t as healthy or there not enough fat (we kind of didn’t talk about the role of cholesterol and fat in the brain, but I have problems with patients whose cholesterol is too low to support their brain function and that’s another topic), then these viruses can just wake up and reactivate. When we have an active virus replicating in our brain, what’s going to happen our immune cells is they are going to get in gear to fight those invaders. The way they fight is they release these inflammatories cytokines, and it can end up as amyloid in the brain. 

That’s the area that I really want to know and understand more about, is the role of infections and viruses and which ones are doing what, so that we can more adequately test and address those for people.

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