In order for scientific research to be of great value, it must meet the most rigorous standards of quality. Studies must be randomized and well-controlled with sufficient sample sizes and evaluation periods. They should also be conducted in an open and transparent manner. Randomized controlled trials (RCT) are widely recognized as the gold standard in scientific research. In an RCT, two groups are randomly selected from the same population, making them statistically equivalent to the overall population. This structure allows scientists to isolate the effect of an intervention apart from complicating factors. RCTs are the best way to learn whether a treatment or intervention actually works as intended. As such, LJAF seeks to advance high-quality research by funding well-designed RCTs in various fields. In addition, we support organizations that are working to improve the overall quality of scientific research.
We are the lead funder of the Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford University (METRICS). METRICS is bringing researchers together from diverse disciplines to improve the way scientists conduct, report, and share their research. It is uncovering weaknesses in scientific investigation, identifying ways to improve efficiency and reliability, and working to reduce bias in study design and outcomes reporting.
LJAF also seeded the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI), an organization that is addressing the urgent need for more rigorous research in nutrition science. Currently, one-third of adults are obese and more than 4,000 people die every day from obesity and related diseases. Although many nutrition studies have been conducted over the past several decades, these experiments were riddled with problems and have failed to provide any credible evidence about what is causing the obesity epidemic. NuSI’s ambitious research agenda includes well-designed, highly controlled studies that will be more reliable than all those conducted before. The NuSI team aims to drive a 50 percent reduction in the prevalence of obesity by answering one critical question—what should we eat to be healthy?
METRICS Co-Director Steven Goodman explains how the center is bringing researchers together to improve the way scientists conduct, report, and share their research.
NuSI President Peter Attia describes how the organization is addressing the urgent need for more rigorous research in nutrition science.