Being Part Of A Medical Study Can Be A Long, Slow Slog : Shots

Here’s a kale salad and sweet potato that did get their portraits taken in the name of medical research.

Courtesy of Brandie Jefferson


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Courtesy of Brandie Jefferson

Here’s a kale salad and sweet potato that did get their portraits taken in the name of medical research.

Courtesy of Brandie Jefferson

“Why am I doing this, again?”

I’ve asked myself that question several mornings over the past few months as my stomach begins growling, usually after I smell popcorn in my coworker’s office. He’s on a strict 10 a.m. popcorn schedule that coincides with my strict 10 a.m. hunger pang schedule.

I am following an intermittent fasting program as part of a clinical trial for people with multiple sclerosis. For the past five months, I have tried to eat only between noon and 8 p.m., and am allowed only water, tea or coffee during the remaining 16 hours.

Brandie Jefferson was tasked with sending photos of what she ate two days a week to researchers. But it got harder to remember to do that before the food was gone.

Courtesy of Brandie Jefferson


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Courtesy of Brandie Jefferson

Brandie Jefferson was tasked with sending photos of what she ate two days a week to researchers. But it got harder to remember to do that before the food was gone.

Courtesy of Brandie Jefferson

It’s part of a study at Johns Hopkins Medicine in which researchers are looking at bacteria in the guts of patients with multiple sclerosis to determine whether intermittent fasting changes the number, the types, or the functions of our bacteria. They’re also looking to see if any of those changes affect inflammation and the symptoms we experience.

Scientists know that fasting can affect the microbiome, according to Dr. Ellen Mowry, associate professor of neurology and epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University and lead researcher for the study. But they don’t yet know now. Right now, researchers are simply trying to determine which dietary changes affect the microbiome and what the effects are. It’s a complicated interplay of microbes, the human body, the environment and genetics.

The science is hard, yes, but so is the intermittent fasting!

Mowry said in an email that when she tries to fast…

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