Group Assignment #1

Prompt: Define and summarize the knowledge gaps associated with your particular challenge.

Knowledge Gaps: Improving Nutrition to Combat Disease and Obesity

  When looking at the plethora of news magazines and the spread of unscientifically backed media, it becomes an incredulously task to decipher the direct correlation between sufficient nutrition and a healthy diet. With nearly any journalist possessing the capability to publish seemingly convincing information, the top results from the average search engine can be deceiving. A simple Google search possesses the ability to showcase misleading research, crafting the most ultimate knowledge gap of all: an echo chamber of misinformation.

  A truth that Google does agree to is that the most leading causes of death within America are cancer and heart disease. The average nutritional specialist advocates that the result of this is based of a correlation between an individual’s diet and nutrition. However the accuracy, there are certain unknown factors that still remain when searching for the best way to improve nutrition while combatting disease and obesity.

  Various dietary routines have proven to successfully provide healthier lifestyles to various people. The problem? Not everyone fits into one cookie-cutter nutritional model, and when it comes to accurately finding solutions to address this predicament, there are gaps. Currently science is divided over how to approach this solution, with some studies suggesting an individualized approach to combat obesity and the alternative to come up with a unified solution that can be universally implemented. In order to absolve this division, further scientific evidence is still necessary in order to determine whether it is reasonable to treat obesity as an individualized disorder with unique treatments or as a problem with a generalizable, nonspecific solution. This grand challenge is broad in scope, causing solutions to overlap and contradict each other. Ironically, the best way to treat obesity may be counterproductive to treating heart disease.

  Attempting to completely understand the combatting obesity and heart disease problem poses as the most difficult knowledge gap. When studying the issue, there is a multitude of seemingly causative factors associating with disease with diet and nutrition. This is primarily due to that fact that most of the studies conducted on this issue usually examine entire populations in attempt to correlate two variables. When examining diseases with significant impact on vast populations, scientists tend to study the correlation between nutrition and the disease itself. While this type of epidemiological study is inexpensive and can provide some interesting insights, it is not entirely sufficient since correlation does not necessarily equate to causation. In other words, these studies associate two variables but are unable to confirm that one variable causes the other variable to increase, decrease, or stay the same. Since this cannot be completely validated, confounding variables must be taken into consideration.

  When it comes to drafting a possible solution to treating and creating preventive measures towards these diseases, there is a general scientific lack of knowledge regarding them, let alone how diet affects them. Though scientists have not been able to decipher the direct biological causes of certain diseases, they, however, have been been successful in hypothesizing how diseases originate—how they spread throughout the body, and the causes of the disease. Cancer was first studied in 1915. Within the 1970s, scientists were able to discover oncogenes and tumor repressor genes. As time and technology progressed, more information about cancer becomes uncovered, drafting new correlations and stirring new viewpoints towards curing it. Scientists have been studying cancer for a long time, but no official cure has been successfully discovered. This is due to the abundant amount of research that needs to be sought after when addressing cancer, such as a scientist being unable to see how diet correlates to cancer and disease. To really understand how malnutrition affects a disease, all aspects of it must be known, and currently, we are still not completely at the level of knowledge. Scientists may have the ability to conject educated guesses, but the actual scientific truth still remains a mystery.

  When imploring one gap in knowledge, one may find solutions in another. In order to permanently absolve the obesity/disease factor, we must encourage scientists to not only refer to the previous conducted data, but to think of what the entirety of it ommits. Sometimes, the answers lie in between the lines.


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