Researchers Say Absolutely No Drinking While Pregnant

Pregnant woman with glass of red wine
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) in the United States has long been estimated at no more than three children per 1,000. A new study published in the journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence reports that the prevalence of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is between 3 and 8 per 1,000 and when combined with partial FAS (PFAS) the prevalence of both actually ranges between 11 to 25 children per 1,000.
Lead researcher Philip May, Ph.D., research professor with the UNC Nutrition Research Institute (NRI) at the NC Research Campus in Kannapolis, NC, emphasized that the study “Prevalence and characteristics of fetal alcohol syndrome and partial fetal syndrome in Rocky Mountain Region City” is only the second population-based study completed in the United States that aimed to establish more accurate rates of FAS and PFAS. [read more]

Holy Zettabytes! Free Public Lecture

compchipHow do scientists make use of the mass amounts of data their research generates? Join us for the next Appetite for Life Presentation, Tuesday, November 10at 7 PM to find out.  
Cory Brouwer, Ph.D., from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte will present his topic,  Getting Personal with Bioinformatics: How the future of healthcare relies on a discipline you may not have heard of yet.  
The program is at 7:00 PM in the D.H. Murdock Research Institute at 150 Research Campus Drive, Kannapolis and will be simultaneously webcast. Click here to register or click here for instructions on how to attend virtually.
Precision, or personalized, medicine is an approach to treatment that takes into account an individual’s variability in their genes, environment and lifestyle. Earlier this year, President Obama announced in his State of the Union address a new Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) with the goal of revolutionizing how we improve health and treat disease based on a better understanding of this variability that makes each one of us unique. As exciting as these advances and initiatives are, they have also created lots and lots of data; volumes that are measured in terabytes, petabytes, exabytes and zettabytes. How do we turn this incredible volume of data into the information that guides precision medicine and helps determine which treatment a cancer patient should receive to treat a tumor? [learn more]


Stephen Hursting, Ph.D., M.P.H., Awarded Grant from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation

image2533669The Breast Cancer Research Foundation seeks “to prevent and cure breast cancer by advancing the world’s most promising research.” Since 1993 BCRF-supported investigators have been deeply involved in every major advance in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. In 2015-2016, BCRF is awarding $48.5 million in grants to more than 240 scientists to advance this work. Among those recipients is Stephen Hursting, Ph.D., M.P.H., Professor of Nutrition at the UNC Nutrition Research Institute.
Dr. Hursting, who has received BCRF grants since 2003, conducts studies suggesting that moderate weight loss may be insufficient to reverse the cancer-associated metabolic and inflammatory perturbations that occur with chronic obesity. This year, Dr. Hursting continues his collaboration with BCRF researcher Dr. Carol Fabian in testing a combination of moderate weight loss with one of several additional interventions that have the potential to have high translational impact, including anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent sulindac. [read more]


Is Life Expectancy a Good Measure of Health?

senior woman and doctor with tablet pc at hospital
From the desk of Mirko Hennig, Ph.D. 
“Wishing you a long, happy and healthy life” is what we repeatedly say as we get older. A recent, global study published in The Lancet (2015; 386, p.743-800) clearly emphasizes the importance of the latter referring to our quality of life. According to the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, worldwide life expectancy at birth rose by 6.2 years between 1990 and 2013. However, these additional years come at a price as healthy life expectancy at birth increased by only 5.4 years over the same 13 year time span.
The massive, country-specific assessment utilized age-specific mortalities and data accumulated for 306 diseases in 188 countries between 1990 and 2013. While the study highlights the need for more and better data about disabilities to estimate healthy life expectancies in a more reliable manner, several consistent trends emerge. [read more]