Today we had the pleasure of speaking with Leigh Keating, MS, RD, LDN, CBDT, Director of Nutrition Research of Harvard Catalyst Clinical Research Center, and Elizabeth Klerman, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Leigh and Beth are currently investigating the daily routines and rhythms of undergraduate students. The study includes several cohorts for one month each, during which they record meals using MealLogger for one week. While their current study focuses primarily on sleep habits, social networks, and mood, the protocol uses MealLogger to catch snapshots of the students’ dietary patterns. Here are just a few interesting tidbits we gleaned from the chat:
How was Meallogger used in the study ?
In order to catch a glimpse of her participant’s dietary habits, Leigh needed them to record what they eat. Since college students are no strangers to technology, Leigh felt that using their smartphones to photograph meals would make meal-tracking easier, increase compliance, and provide all the essential information that she and her team need. The timestamp MealLogger provides beneath each photo made her work easier, allowing students to effortlessly record the time of their meals. She instructed students to take one photograph before, and one after each meal to better assess portions truly consumed.
Whenever Leigh noted that a participant hadn’t been actively uploading meals, she would reach out him through MealLogger’s messaging function and troubleshoot quickly and remotely, gathering information as planned without any glitches.
Assessing portion sizes from photographs might seem challenging to some, but aligned with other well-designed protocols, Leigh’s team instructed participants to include their utensils, or at least a pen, in the photograph. Since the distance from which we photograph something can make it appear larger or smaller, this intelligent move allows foods to be seen according to scale.
Leigh and Beth will consider using MealLogger for related studies at Harvard Catalyst Clinical Research Center. Their enthusiasm for nutrition and implementing cutting-edge technology in clinical research inspires us, and we’d like to thank them very much for taking the time to speak with us.