The Purjes Foundation

Clinical Trials & Other Research Studies

Plant-Based Cardiovascular Clinical Trial

The Purjes Foundation funded a clinical trial at NYU Medical Center comparing a plant-based diet with the diet recommended by the American Heart Association (the “AHA”) for people with cardiovascular disease. The AHA diet contains animal-based foods. The trial involved 100 participants with severe cardiovascular disease randomly divided into two groups, one eating plant-based foods and the other eating the diet recommended by the AHA, for a period of 8 weeks. All the food was paid for by the Purjes Foundation, as were many other costs and fees.

The primary blood marker tested was C-Reactive Protein, referred to as “hsCRP” or just “CRP”. This is an important marker of inflammation that is involved in virtually every inflammatory chronic disease. The lower the CRP, the better. The Purjes Foundation trial demonstrated conclusively that the patients on the plant-based diet saw their CRP levels fall 32%, or more than four times the 7% drop registered by the AHA group.

These results were so significant that the Wall Street Journal published a feature article on the trial. Visit the Articles page to read the article.

In December 2018, the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Heart Association, a highly regarded medical journal, published the research article submitted by the NYU principal investigators describing the details and results of the trial. That research article can be found here.


Erectile Dysfunction Trial

The Purjes Foundation has agreed in principle to fund one or more erectile dysfunction clinical trials at Montefiore Hospital, a unit of the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in the Bronx, NY.

The studies will be randomized controlled clinical trials in which men will be randomly assigned to either a plant-based diet group, or a control group that will be on a high protein, low carbohydrate “he-man” diet. There may also be a second control group on the standard American diet.

Men who have erectile dysfunction typically suffer from poor blood circulation. In fact, erectile dysfunction is often the “canary in the coal mine”, the early warning signal of cardiovascular disease. The trial at NYU Medical Center funded by the Purjes Foundation that demonstrated improved cardiovascular markers on a plant-based diet, suggests there should be improved outcomes for erectile dysfunction on a similar diet. Most people think that a “he-man” diet loaded with animal protein is synonymous with male virility, but if it can be shown that a plant-based diet improves erectile function while the “he-man” diet actually worsens it, that would be big news.

The studies at Montefiore Hospital will be conducted in 2018 and 2019.


Type 1 Diabetes Pilot Study

The Purjes Foundation has funded a pilot study to assess the feasibility of teaching young adults with type 1 diabetes how to incorporate plant-based nutrition into their lifestyles. This study is being conducted by the Wendy Novak Diabetes Center at the University of Louisville Medical School.

 The pilot study is intended to determine the information modules needed to best educate young patients -- children, teenagers and young adults -- about healthy, plant-based eating, and improving their overall health as they transition from pediatric to adult diabetes care.

 The hope with this clinical study is to provide two things: the acceptability of plant-based nutrition in a younger population, and a  relationship between plant-based eating and better health outcomes.

Once the acceptability of plant-based education and nutrition in children and young adults has been established, and the evidence of health benefits is demonstrated for the younger diabetes population, the Wendy Novak Diabetes Center would like to propose utilizing the education modules developed in the study for the inpatient center of its children's hospital. They also want to develop an inpatient, plant-based nutrition menu. The vision is to eventually expand the education program into the school system, and the ultimate plan is to provide the education modules through social media.


Other Studies

The Purjes Foundation is in active discussions with several other hospitals and clinics for proposed trials in various chronic diseases. These include more cardiovascular trials, as well as diabetes, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.