The big topic of discussion the last few months has been around scientific research. We are seeing a lot of information rolling out, and it seems everyone is citing the term "based on the science". While it is great that people are so interested in research, there are definitely some things you will want to know to discern good research from bad research.
This is why Dr. Rachel Keith is on the show today. She is in the middle of 2 long term research projects, so she explains all the details that go into conducting a study, and all the variables they need to account for.
This episode will help you recognize how difficult research can be, and why it might not be the best idea to cram what should be years worth of research into just a couple of months.
When you fast track research, you can run into issues where previous research has to be retracted due to insufficient data.
What To Expect From This Episode
- [2:00] Dr. Rachel Keith loves the "puzzle" component of research, but also brings it back to how it impacts people
- [3:00] The environment accounts for around 80% of someone's risk to cardiometabolic disease
- [4:30] Dr. Rachel shares how complex research is and how long it takes to discover an outcome
- [7:30] Right now we are trying to break research down that usually takes years to conduct into a condensed version within months or a year
- [14:45] As a researcher, you have to think through all the different variables that can impact the results of the study
- [20:00] You will always have variables in long term studies that you never predicted to happen
- [23:00] For Dr. Rachel's long term environmental study, they are collecting lots of biological information to try and cover different variables
- [30:00] The studies done now helps to improve futures studies
- [34:30] Her second study is testing how different types of forests can influence forest immersion
- [36:30] Some people don't understand why we keep researching the same things, and it is because we are still learning more about these subjects
Transcript For Episode (Transcripts aren't even close to 100% Accurate)
Bryan: [00:00:15] We are at an interesting time where we're seeing some fast-tracked research and even research being retracted from some prestigious medical journals, which is pretty rare to have happen.
And it's interesting because I understand that people want answers now, but the process takes a while in order to have accurate results and all the different variables need to be accounted for in the research. What's up everyone, I'm Bryan Carroll and I'm here to help people move more, eat well and be adventurous.
And today I have Dr. Rachel Keith on the show to walk us through the scientific process for conducting research and what all is involved in conducting a proper study. We also will be talking about some environmental studies, such as how living in an area with more greenery can impact your health. So let's dive into my conversation with dr.
Rachel Keith, Dr. Rachel Keith received her PhD from the university of Louisville, and she went on to get her nurse practitioner degree as well. She focuses her research on how the environment influences disease in particular cardio metabolic disease. She has become the director of human subject services and research at the Christina Lee Brown and virome Institute.
To support these goals. Most of her working includes a family of inhaled substances known as volatile organic compounds, which are thought to have detrimental health effects, but trees and plants, a version of volatiles that may be is to help. Thank you for coming on the show, dr. Rachel.
Dr. Rachel Keith: [00:01:46] Thank you for having me.
Bryan: [00:01:48] Of course. And I know you're doing a ton of research, so I just want to learn a little bit more about your background. some of the projects that you've been on and how did you get to where you are today?
Dr. Rachel Keith: [00:01:59] So I have kind of a funny background. I started out, thinking that I was going to be lovely to research instead.
So I got my PhD in physiology and biophysics and, Just loved it, but kind of realized there was still a piece missing for me. Research to me is like a bit is solving puzzles, which is what I love, but I missed that connection to the why and the people. So I went back and got my nurse practitioner degree so that I could do all human focused research.
So I started out my research looking at, cardiovascular disease, which is the number one killer of most people, not only in the U S but now in other countries as well. So cardiovascular disease has in particular, multiple reasons why you may get it. And the environment for me has always been an, a passion and.
For this particular set of health, health complications that we lump into cardio metabolic disease, the environment probably accounts for typically up to maybe 80% of someone's risk for it. So it really was kind of a good fit to start to look at. How are things around you effecting you in ways that you may not even know?
And, how can we start to understand those? And that had not been an area of research that was as, well-developed as some of the mechanisms or kind of the reasons in your body while you may have heart disease or genetics or things like that.
Bryan: [00:03:39] Yeah. And one of the really exciting things that I have, or that I'm excited for having you on today is there's a lot of discussion going on right now about, you know, scientific studies, the research that goes into it, how to get conclusions from these studies and just all the variables that go into You know, creating these studies and that could change the outcome. So I would love to hear, can you explain the scientific process to my listeners so that people get a better understanding of how in depth these processes are and how long it usually it takes two conduct, a proper study.
Dr. Rachel Keith: [00:04:18] Sure. So when you think about, heart disease, we've known that heart disease has been around for decades.
Hundreds of years. Right. But we still don't know how to keep people from having it. Right. And we'll, we'll learn a little bit, so think it was the eighties, cholesterol was the big thing. Right. And then there was salt in your diet and all these things, but we've been able to change those or get medication for them.
And we see some outcomes to change, but we still have heart disease is the number one killer. Right? So there have to be other things going on or there, you know, there have to be other solutions. tobacco is another one of them that we work on a lot. When people stop smoking, we thought that would get rid of a lot of heart disease.
And it just hasn't. So what we have to do is start with what we already know. Right. We know that cholesterol can, it can lead to heart disease and high blood pressure can lead to heart failure. And what are the different. Things that we can observe that are linked to heart disease. And then we start looking at large groups of people and making those links.
And a lot of those studies come through epidemiological work. So once you make those links, you say, well, why biologically would those links be occurring? So why would high blood pressure just say, cause your heart. To to fail. And so then you start going in and looking for receptors or proteins or parts of the body that you can target.
you do animal studies potentially where you knock these genes out and you look to see if the effects go away and, you know, then you have this next layer of information. So then if you have now proteins or G or. It's usually not genes for proteins or parts of your body's like receptors that, that would need to be altered.
Then you can start to, develop medications, which is a whole nother process. And then once those medications are developed, you know, they have to go into trial as well. They do preclinical work, which is animal work. and then they go into clinical trial. And then after that you go back and you go circle back around to the epidemiological effects where you're looking at large, large groups in numbers.
So all these studies going in this circuit test kind of over and over again, pattern to really get anything moving is typically. You know, the, the drug trial part of it is usually 10 years, alone. And then you can look at 10 to 20 years before that. Have all this preclinical type work and all this kind of sorting out bits and pieces of it, to get you somewhere, to even have a jumping off point, which when you think about our current day and age right now, and what's going on, you know, we're trying to do some of these processes in months to a year.
And so all these things, all these preclinical clinical. Medications vaccines, whatever it may be, why people are susceptible are getting condensed down, but each one of those studies has a different set of variables that you would have to collect and different steps of analysis that would have to be done.
Those epidemiological studies. I mentioned, you would need large groups of people. and so a lot of times these studies are set up for a certain purpose, right? So people, I think a lot of people have heard of the Framingham heart study and it was set up to learn about heart disease in general. So they have gone back and used that study for, to figure out multiple health concerns and multiple risk factors for heart disease.
Another one is the nurses' health study, that one's talked about a lot are things called N Haynes, which is the national, has to do with, diet and health and exposure to things. So those were all set up for certain reasons. And then what someone can do for a topic like greenness is go back and look at these 20 or 30,000 people that have health information on them.
And they may have some thumb biological samples that you could use, or they have some numbers for things. that have already been measured that you can use. And then they have information that's been collected on these people and they're essentially in a repository. So if you say, Hey, I wonder what trees do for the heart.
You can go back to these studies and start to say, well, we'll look at their address. We'll geo code them. And then we can take measures from the sky to see what the greenness is around them. And then we'll start to look at, do they have heart disease? Do they not? You can we look at their blood pressure or some of these, these biological factors that have previously been tested and make what we call associations or correlations.
So that's very different than causation. That just means there's a link of some sort. And then also, as I mentioned, these studies were set up for other things, right? These studies were set up heart disease and, or to look at heart disease in general, not trees, how trees affect it so we can make these links, but there's a lot of missing questions still there.
So once these associations are made, we like kind of the Holy grails looking for causation, right? So we need to find those mechanisms. For why a tree would cause better. our health outcomes in particular for cardiovascular disease, because just saying they're better, there can be a lot of other confounders.
It may be that someone lives living closer to green. This has more money. We've all heard of social determinants of health, which would then mean that, you know, if you have more money, you have more access. To maybe healthier foods. You may have a higher level of education. You may live in an area that's less polluted.
So is it really the trees or is it these other social determinants of health? There's also with greenness been, this, this idea that, well, people are more physically active around trees, so maybe they're just walking more and we know walking is linked to cardiovascular health. And this list can go on and on and on, but the problem is none of these studies were set up to answer those questions in a scientific way.
So we then have to go build studies to start answering those questions. The hard thing is I just mentioned maybe three things that have been postulated by, epidemiological researchers, other forms of research. That could be the link between trees and health, but without studying all of them at the same time or having information on multiple layers of that, you can't do what we call correcting on the backend for statistics.
So if we want to say that trees affect your health and it's not walking, we need enough people and enough information about people's walking habits. To be able to say, well, these, these health benefits are for people, whether they walk or not. And we have statistics for that. But it takes a certain number of people to make that still valid.
We have to have a good representation of both types of people, walkers and non walkers. And then when you add in the layer of, we need people from different socioeconomic backgrounds and different that would have different social determinants of health to, again, add that on. So we get into this multiple layering, with those sort of projects.
To, to try and get to some of those answers. The other way to do it is just to start a Denovo study has say, we have this idea, we have this association and now we're going to set it up like a clinical trial. Like I was talking about some of these other things that, and drug development and stuff like that.
So then you get two groups, you have a control group and you have a treated group, usually in a clinical trial. So for a tree project, you would have a group that didn't have as many trees. And then you would have a group that you actually gave trees to. And then you follow them out for a series of time to seeing what those trees that you gave them dead.
And that's more of a prospective, type study instead of this retrospective look back with previous data, so you can choose what you're going to collect. So if you know these three or four things may affect be effected by trees and contribute to heart disease, you can choose to collect all that information in a very rigorous way so that you can do all these analytics on the backend to try and get some answers.
But it's very complicated because the other thing that I'll throw in right now too, is that five or 10 years down the road, we may have new information. And so we, you know, may have made decisions or correlations or associations without the ability to statistically look at that information. Cause we didn't know it was important at the time.
So that's why going back is, is also a tool and you really can't. Ever have a truly good, well rigorously studied disease or outcome or exposure without these different types of testing.
Bryan: [00:13:58] Yeah. And so the example that you gave that is a research study project that you are working on, and. It's pretty interesting because you're, you're sharing, like there's a lot of variables that go into these types of studies because there could be a lot of different things that impact the results.
Right. And so, as a researcher, you have to try and I think through all those possible situations that could change the results or impact the results. Which also leads to essentially there's like no perfect study, because there's always going to be some type of variables that you miss. Is that correct?
Dr. Rachel Keith: [00:14:36] I would say yes, other people may argue, but I would say yes, because like, and I guess my big thing is, you know, you may have found everything there is to know at that time, but we are adding information, at unprecedented levels right now. And with all this big data analytics, that's happening at five years down the road, what we know is going to be very different, you know, than what we know today.
And there'll be just more information that we don't even know about. We're creating some of that, that, that information right now. I mean, one of our goals is to understand how threes influence health. So we are creating new information for someone to use in the future, whether it be us or someone else.
And so, you know, someone may have never thought of measuring, measuring these background, biologic volatiles that may reduce things like blood pressure or stress as part of a cardiovascular study. But, you know, we may show that that's something people need to do. And before you know that the great London smog.
It incident people would have never thought air pollution was that closely linked to cardiovascular disease. You know, they may have thought respiratory illnesses or things like that, but they would not have known that. And now there's a whole field that's developed, surrounding air pollution, which some of these other more detrimental volatiles are associated with at times, and heart disease.
So we just can't predict the future. So you can't ever design. A perfect study. That's gonna last, forever. Now you can design a really, really good study that, that, that you can get a re a lot of really good rigorous information with that will be beneficial for a very long time, but you will always have a critic out there who says, what about this?
Bryan: [00:16:39] Yeah. And there there's a lot of keyboard warriors. That'll also tell you the same thing and they don't really know what they're looking at either. So
Dr. Rachel Keith: [00:16:47] it's interesting. the other thing is there are keyboard Wars and I think we all have our own area that we are passionate about. Right. So if I think stress is the main effector of how.
I'm going to understand everything. And I'll just stick with my tree example, right? Everything that trees do to stress this idea of reduced stress re you know, I'm going to know what reduces cortisol in the body. I'm going to know all those things. So I automatically make links to that, but I, you know, but that person is not an exercise person.
And the exercise person is automatically making their links. Too. Well, of course, if they're out walking more, if they're out getting more exercise and it's more consistent, of course, you know, so I think you always go back to what your level of comfort and expertise is and you make those associations. So the harder thing to, for projects like this is, this is a group of people coming together.
Potentially they have vastly different ideas on how, on what should be measured. And what is going to be the biggest influence on, you know, our, our outcomes. Cause we have exposure outcomes and we have primary outcomes that are health-related and exposure. Our exposure outcomes are essentially what are the things that may be causing your health to change?
And then the primary health outcomes are what health variables are changing. Is it your blood pressure's at the stiffness of your arteries? Is it, your stress hormones? Is it your inflammation or immune system? And so it's really hard to bring together all different types of background, because is it your perception of the way the trees look that reduce your stress?
Or is it a biological. volatile or these five ton aside so that the trees are using for their communication process that has a physiological response, or is it a combination of both? So the person who's, who's looking at perceptions and things like that has a very different. Study procedure than the person who's looking at the biologic volatiles and capturing both of those, that information at the same time is necessary to start to tease out some of these pieces of the puzzle.
Bryan: [00:19:12] Yeah. And like you mentioned earlier, you were talking about air quality when you're doing a five plus year study. And one of the variables that you're predicting that you need to, monitor is air quality. And then he get something that changes the world's air quality over, you know, four or five, six month period.
That's the one of those things, like you mentioned, he can't predict the future and you. Can I see that coming at all?
Dr. Rachel Keith: [00:19:38] No. So that is something that, you know, makes longterm prospective studies very difficult. We, we're hoping that the trees we planted cause we have an area that is getting a very, very large amount of trees.
They're mature trees. There are vegetative buffers that are going to filter out some of these air particles. you know, we were hoping to see the changes based on that. The problem is everyone's seen the satellite images that are up all over the internet, where you can see. You know, from the satellite, these differences, we weren't going to do that much airport air pollution reduction with trees alone.
so now one of our variables has just kind of automatically changed. So you have to build enough into the study and be flexible enough that you can pivot when needed. So the good news is we, you know, we built in one of the most extensive urban air monitoring systems in the area. Cause we're in a very small, we're in about a four square mile area.
So we are going to be able to monitor some of that. again, we're trying to figure out ways to do the measures for things like stress, how much time people are spending indoors versus outdoors, because it's gonna be very different for people. you know, the, the impact on people's lifestyle. We now have to capture that because that has totally potentially changed the trajectory for a lot of the people in our study of what their health may or may not look, look like.
And on top of it, people in our study area who may acquire. you know, COVID-19, we don't know what that does to people's health long term. So we have to gather information like that too, and potentially monitor them longterm asking about things that we don't even know, you know, today. What, what the most important questions are.
Because we're seeing things like chronic or like, cytokine, storm and inflammation coming out with COVID, which also can impact heart health or vascular you, your, your cardiovascular system, your vascular health in general. So these are all things that then do what we call compound our study results.
It could have been someone who got trees, but now they have much worse cardiovascular outcomes because they got sick during this time. Or they were very stressed and their diet changed and they stayed inside and they weren't able to go outside or get exercise. or it could be someone that was in our control area.
He was living by the highway, but now they have all this period of time that they're not getting exposed to those potentially. or to those chemicals that we know do cause heart disease. So they had a little, you know, a little period of despite during that. And how do we collect the information? and we need to make sure that we're flexible enough to create that information and build it into our study.
Bryan: [00:22:35] Yep. You have different lifestyle factors and variables. You have, stress variables. People could get different jobs, they can lose jobs. They can have different living situations. There's a lot that goes into it.
Dr. Rachel Keith: [00:22:47] There is. And that's the thing. So I want to study like what we're doing for. This tree project just, and I'm, I know I'm going to miss them.
In some places we do things like collect hair, toe nails, all different types of blood by all different types. I mean, we can spin it and process it to get the different components out of the blood urine, cheek swabs for cells. So we collect all this biological information. And then we have to ask about stress, how much time you spend outside, how much exercise you have, your occupation, the foods you eat.
If you use tobacco, if you drink, if you use recreational drugs, your demographics, you know, including things about your sex, your race, your ethnicity, your age, but also things about your income and your education level, because we know those affect health. And then we have to layer that in. With exposure information.
Where do you work? How long do you work there? Do you commute to work? How do you commute to work? what's in your home. Do you cook with the fan on, do you use the fan in your bathroom? all these things lead to the exposures in your home and your workplace. and then we have to come back and test the air itself to look at.
How, you know, what chemicals are in the air. And then, so it's all these layers and layers and layers of information. And one study visit with a participant can take hours. So that's the other thing is these people have to be willing and, understand that it can be somewhat. You know, a lengthy collection process, and then we ask them to do that repeatedly over time.
Bryan: [00:24:31] Yep. Yeah. That's why it's so fascinating when you're looking at what it takes to actually put on and conduct a great study because there's so much that goes into it and there's a lot of. preparation process, right? You have to think about what do we need for this to be successful.
Dr. Rachel Keith: [00:24:48] So to me, there's two parts of the preparation part two, there's the science part, right?
So we have to go back and look at, what's known. We have to go and look and say, what do we know. What do we need to know more about where are the gaps? What is maybe not as solid as we need? What makes sense to study? Because there has to be some sort of logical connection, right? You're not going to just out of the blue lead to something totally off the wall.
So you have to understand all that to build what you're even looking at. But then on the logistics side, you have to understand also, how are you going to get people in the door? How are you going to get them committed to this project? How are you going to keep them for five years? You have to call them.
You have to follow up. You have to update that people move, you know, are you going to take people. that may move. Do they have to, do you want them to have certain risk factors? Do you not want them to have risk factors? Can people who use tobacco VN can people who not use tobacco be in, because they might have higher levels of some of the things that are associated with air pollution by this burning of the tobacco.
So you have to design all that and figure out how you're going to build that. And how do you make it palatable to someone and beneficial to them and not just us? Cause we don't want to do this extractive type research where we just go in and treat someone like they're a Guinea pig and get the information we want and leave.
So we want to actually use these type of projects to build up a community. Like what can we do with them? What value is in it for them? And how can we build it in a way. That is valuable for, for, for our participants and our community and the people accepting trees and accepting, you know, and very graciously donating information and specimens, for these studies.
And it's a very complex mix of skills that are needed to do both sides of that.
Bryan: [00:26:45] Yep. And then the people they have to come for the full time, right?
Dr. Rachel Keith: [00:26:50] Yeah. So with these types of studies, you do, there are all kinds of different study designs, some of which are iterative. So every, you would take a randomized representation, you know, potentially of an area.
And then you just keep re sampling. But with this type of study where you're doing an intervention, you know, we really consider the trees like the pill, right. So instead of using someone up a blood pressure pill, we're giving the community a tree. So if we can't follow the same person and have those before and after measures like you would with taking a pill or a drug, we lose a lot of value to the information we're collecting.
We can still do things which are part of the project, like looking at overall hospitalization rates for, for those zip codes or looking at overall mortality for the zip codes, you can still look at some community stuff, but that real value of Y you know, right now we're looking at people's how well their endothelium or the lining of their vasculature.
Changes. And those are early indications of heart disease or looking at their lung function and things like that. We can't, you know, we can't watch those on that more discrete level if we don't have people commit to doing this over time. And that's the real information that's valuable because what we want to do is just like a medication is dose these sort of things too, right?
Like how many trees do you need? How much greenness do you need? How much do they. Just need to filter air pollution or is this aesthetic stress relieving effect enough? So we're also studying the trees we need to understand. Do you need a mixture of trees is one type of tree better than the other. Do you need a certain dose?
How much air pollution could one tree pull out? Do other trees give off more of these biologic BOC or these Bhutan asides? That would be more, that would be beneficial. So it's all, it's, it's a complex mix of problems that you can't solve without this, this kind of high level of commitment, over time.
Bryan: [00:28:57] Awesome. I think. You know, when you're doing a study like this, obviously you want to be able to get some conclusions at the end of it. Right. But I think what's even more important is the work that you're doing now helps to prepare for future studies, by providing them different variables to look at and different things that they can use to improve studies for the future.
Dr. Rachel Keith: [00:29:21] So, yeah. So the thing I love about research is the thing I hate about it the most too. You never, you're never at the end. Right? You just, it's kinda like you have to love learning and you have to be passionate about continuation because it's not like mowing the grass where you can sit back and look and awe, it looks so great.
Right? Like when you finish a project, you can't just sit back and like, I have the answers you usually end up with just as many questions, like. Okay, great. We know this now, but now, you know, there's still gaps. Where can we fill in those new gaps that we've learned? So it's, it's, it's maddening at times too, because you know, there, there's always more questions, but, incrementally, I think you start to see, you know, information build and you get more and more answers as you go along.
Bryan: [00:30:16] And I think the, the big thing to take away from that too, is, science is never finished. Right? There's always more to learn.
Dr. Rachel Keith: [00:30:24] There's always more to learn and actually, you know, I always tell people, the other thing about science is you can't go. If you, if you're doing good research, you can't go look up the answer.
Right. Like you can't go to the web or a book and find the answer because then you're just doing something someone else did. So with research, there really is no answer and there's no end and it's, it's. Fascinating, but it can, you know, but, but it's, it's a process. It's a journey. It's not a destination.
Bryan: [00:30:58] And so, I would like for you to share another example of different variables in a study, and you're working on as a second research project that you are doing, which I'm. It hasn't quite started. Right? You're still in like the preparation phase. We're still in
Dr. Rachel Keith: [00:31:13] the preliminary phase for this. We've done some kind of what we call pilot tests.
So we kind of send people out with the feasibility of the study, meaning can we, can we execute the plan? Can we get some preliminary data to know that, that, that there's a good chance that we would get good information and the information is. It's going to support our hypothesis. But what we're doing is the project I've been talking about in the past is actually called Greenheart and Louisville.
And that's where we go into a residential area. And we put trees where we're just putting a bunch of trees in a small area, and then we have a control area. And we're seeing the difference between the two groups. This is using the person. And they're, they're people who live in urban areas and we're actually putting them in it in a green area.
So we're calling it green immersion. It is akin to the idea of forest bathing with some differences. but it's the idea of, can we take a person and change their environment instead of changing the environment around the person? If that makes sense. And so we're looking at a lot of the same things. Can we monitor, can we use these people's bio monitors to see how the change is?
The more immediate, more acute changes in air pollution or these biologic measures affect their health and, you know, does their stress get reduced as their blood pressure get reduced? Cause there's some information coming out of forest bathing like that. But they don't always tie it back to the biological mechanisms.
And with forest bathing, there was also an element of meditation with some of them that can confound, which we were talking about earlier, some of our results. So if we start to tease out some of these other confounding parts, we can do a study like this. So someone could go to an area that has more pine.
cause there are some areas that have a lot of pine and we can measure, the effects of that. And then they could go to a deciduous area. They could go to different types of forest, the same person to see if they have different reactions to those different, Environments and what that, what those those health effects are and how long do they last and how long do you have to be in the forest to get those?
Because not everywhere is going to be able to just go in and plant, thousands of trees.
Bryan: [00:33:29] And so you're looking at different type of, forest as well, right? Like urban forest versus like deep in the woods or no one will ever find you type of forest.
Dr. Rachel Keith: [00:33:40] We're looking at urban forest, we're looking at, you know, maybe like a, a pine forest versus the deciduous spores.
We're also looking at deep in the woods, limited civilization. We're also looking at formal gardens. Do formal gardens have the same sort of effect. You know, they have trees, they have vegetation, they have greenery. do those have similar effects? so we're looking at all different types of vegetation and trying to understand what that, what that ideal mixes or does it matter?
Cause no one really knows. Everyone just says green and lumps, everything together right now.
Bryan: [00:34:18] And, what are some of the, the, main markers that you would be assessing for that type of study?
Dr. Rachel Keith: [00:34:25] So for this type of study, we're very lucky we have portable, equipment that can do ultrasounding to look at those lining of the, of the arteries as well, which we call flow me, mediating a dilation.
So it tells us how healthy your arteries are. We have, we can look at the stiffness of your arteries. We do do the blood urine, all those sort of biological markers for inflammation, immune responses, CRP, all those sort of things. And then we also ask people about their stress levels and their anxiety and those sorts of things.
And then we look at those volatile organic compounds or different exposure markers in the urine, both of. For air pollution or for the plant biologics. And we look at stress markers like cortisol, all, we were able to do all those in a field setting as
Bryan: [00:35:16] well. Awesome. I'm super excited to see what comes out of these studies once you, worked through them all and are able to come up with some conclusions.
are there any final thoughts that you want to share when it comes to these types of studies, the scientific process, and anything else
Dr. Rachel Keith: [00:35:34] around that? No, I think it just really is, you know, I think the scientific process, I think some people don't understand why we keep looking at things over and over and over again.
you know, isle trees I think, are going to be something akin to tobacco where people are like, Oh yeah, trees are good. And why are you studying them? And, you know, Because on the flip side, people would say, you know, we know tobacco's not good for you. Why do you need to study it? It's because we still are learning.
And, you know, I mentioned the scientific process is a journey. It's not a destination and we can learn, and we can continue to make new insights and make new thoughts. this is not a black and white. Arena where it's, it's cut and dry, so we can continue to help people with their health. if we continue the scientific process, but if we, you know, turn to opinions and, and, and those sort of things more, or.
You know, we just, we just say, Oh, it's bad and let's move on or it's Oh, it's good. And move on. Then, then there's a depth that we miss of understanding that, I think it's necessary because new things always pop up. Right. I mean, new, new things always pop up that you have to figure out how to deal with
Bryan: [00:36:54] right.
Yep. I love it. Well, people can find [email protected], or at louisville.edu/in virome. so when people want to reach out to you, are you able to, like talk with people directly or do you just want them to kind of follow what then by Rome Institute is working on?
Dr. Rachel Keith: [00:37:16] No, I can speak with people directly.
Bryan: [00:37:19] Okay. Perfect. Well, thank you so much for coming on. I'm super excited to share this because I, like we mentioned, there's, you know, so much information coming out right now. There's a lot of discussion around studies and research and. I mean, frankly, most people don't know what goes into, conducting a study in the first place.
So I think this type of information is exactly what people need to know. Okay. To be able to filter through the mass amounts of information that's coming out. So thank you so much.
Dr. Rachel Keith: [00:37:47] Thanks for having me.
Bryan: [00:37:49] I hope you have learned a little more about the scientific process and all the steps that go into it in order to create a great study.
And as we mentioned in the episode, every study we conduct today allows for better testing and research in the future. However, this process does take time and we have to have some patients while we wait for answers. And I will be checking in with dr. Rachel and a few years to see what the results are indicating with the research she is currently conducting.
If you liked this episode, then head into your podcast app and leave me a quick rating and review those ratings are the lifeblood of podcasts and it helps to get our show in front of more people. And for a few more days, our nutrition coaching program is open for enrollment. If you are ready to make the changes to reach your dietary goals.
And now is the time to join me in nutrition coaching, head on over to summit for wellness.com/nutrition to register. Next week. I have Melissa Norris on the show. So let's go learn more about her. I am here with Melissa K. Norris. Hey Melissa, what is one unique thing about you that most people don't know?
Melissa: [00:38:56] Most people don't know that I actually used to train horses and amateur barrel race.
Bryan: [00:39:04] Ooh, where'd you do that at.
Melissa: [00:39:06] we just did like, just a little local circuit. So I live in the Pacific Northwest, so it was just around the Cedar Woolley and, Derrington and some Arlington in Stanwood, just they had like play dates.
so not like the actual rodeo. So, so I say very amateurish. but yeah, I used to have, Oh goodness. I think I used to have four horses at one time, in various stages of, of training and, it was really fun. Had. a lot of fun. I love to go fast, like Gallup and run were my favorite. and learned a ton.
I think that the horse has probably taught me more than I actually taught them. But, but I don't have horses now. I haven't had horses in almost 10 years, but, yeah, one thing most people don't know.
Bryan: [00:39:51] And, and what will we be learning about in our interview together?
Melissa: [00:39:54] We are going to be learning about growing your own food, especially with an eye on a year's worth of food and ways to preserve and the best crops to grow.
If you're looking at a food self-sufficiency standpoint,
Bryan: [00:40:12] what are your favorite foods or nutrients that you think everyone should get more of in their diet?
Melissa: [00:40:17] Okay. This one was kind of fun and I had to sit and think about it, but one of them I would have to say, and it's probably because it's one that I have been really trying to incorporate in more, probably the past five years.
And that would be collagen and gelatin. So grass fed bones. Of course are a great source making your own homemade bone broth, which is how I consume the majority of mine. but I feel like it's really helped in my gut health journey and healing there. And then the other one is. Different forms of fermented foods, which is probably like, I'm sure, probably a lot of people, I feel like these items are kind of, I don't know if trendy is the right word, but I feel like probably a lot of people say these, but I thought that I had a pretty good job of eating like different fermented foods and whatnot.
And I actually did the via me where you. Hopefully, this doesn't sound gross, but you do a stool sample. And so they actually look at your gut microbiome, like what yours is and they show you like where you're low and where your high end and where you need more diversity on everything. It's really fascinating actually.
But I was low. I did not have as many forms of different, pre and probiotics strains as I thought I would. And so I'm like, wow. And I think compared to the. Average American diet that I do a pretty good job. And so I've been trying to intentionally consume more and different types, not just relying on, you know, say yogurt or kombucha or sauerkraut, but all different types of fermented foods, to increase my gut flora there.
Bryan: [00:41:55] And what are your top three health tips for anyone who wants to improve their overall wellness?
Melissa: [00:42:00] Okay. Again, these probably are going to sound like. Ones that I'm sure a lot of people say, but sleep, making sure that you're getting adequate sleep and not just going to bed at a certain time and waking up at a certain time that that can definitely help.
but that you're quality of sleep is actually really sound not just your time in bed. So. For that, you know, making sure that you're a mattress is good or kind of, you know, just checking in, like, are you getting a lot of restless sleep? Is it a certain time, et cetera? just kind of tracking your sleep and if possible, like your deep sleep, et cetera.
And then the second one, and this might sound weird, but is your awareness. Because oftentimes I had a lot of signals from my body that I wasn't paying attention to, or I chose to ignore. And if I had really been aware of what was going on and kind of like listening to your gut, like, you know, you know, when things are off.
But just being very aware of not only if things are off and then, you know, going to a doctor or. Natural health practitioner, whatever, until you can kind of get to the root of what you think is going on or find an answer. but even just being aware of how certain foods are suiting activities, how they really are truly affecting you in that kind of goes back to like when you start to track your sleep.
like I really became aware of on days when I exercise, how did that affect my sleep? So just being really. Aware of yourself and your body. Cause too often we are so busy and we're just doing the things that we always do. And we're not really aware of how they are both positively and negatively affecting us.
and then the third one would be movement and not just exercise. So exercise is great. but actually just making sure that we are moving our bodies every day now for gardeners and home homesteaders, usually we are. Doing that just, you know, just as part of the lifestyle, but even for myself, I would find that I wasn't always really getting in quality movement every day.
Even if it wasn't a daylight or I was necessarily exercising, but making sure that I was getting out and doing some walking, it was just around the property for a little bit or something like that. But I think that movement. Helps our thoughts flow as well. I can kind of help get some of negativity out that we might be experiencing or stress.
So those are my top three.
Bryan: [00:44:29] If you are looking to grow your own garden this year and want some tips and tricks to help your garden be successful, make sure to listen to that episode and until then keep climbing to the peak of your health.