Early-Life Predictors of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

January 22, 2020 –The clinical teams at the UNC Nutrition Research Institute and in South Africa led by principal investigator Philip A. May, PhD have published findings of a decade-long effort to drive down the age at which the diagnosis of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) can be made in affected children. The paper, “Early-Life Predictors of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders” is published inPediatrics. There is a continuum of disabilities associated with prenatal alcohol exposure that can negatively impact cognitive, behavioral and educational development. Early diagnosis will likely make timely nutrition and other interventions for children with FASD possible and more effective the earlier they are begun. The May team concluded from their years of work that assessment of a combination of growth, dysmorphology, and neurobehavioral characteristics allows for accurate identification of most children with FASD as early as 9 to 18 months. Read the paper here.


January AFL Program Recap: “Genes and Individual Response to Nutrients in Bone Health”

January 22, 2020 If you missed January’s Appetite for Life presentation by Saroja Voruganti, PhD, you can catch up. Watch the entire program on video now. The live presentation took place at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College in Kannapolis on Thursday, January 16, 2020.

Studies have shown that obesity and diabetes weaken bones and increase the risk for fractures. Poor bone health can also result from smoking, consuming alcohol, and taking certain medications, and is more prevalent in older females who are Caucasian or Asian and are less physically active than average. However, it is also known that people with specific genetic variants are more prone to bone weakness and may suffer bone loss at a younger age. In her talk, Dr. Voruganti explains the precision nutrition research her lab is conducting to understand how diet and food can help strengthen the bones, especially in those who are more prone to bone loss.

Although bone mass is greatly influenced by genetics, nutrition and lifestyle factors can modify the effects of genetics. Learn all the connections between bone health, genes, and individual response by viewing the video here.


Help the NRI make nutrition discoveries: Become a study participant

January 22, 2020 – NRI research starts in the laboratory then, sometimes, moves into clinical trials. These studies rely on people who volunteer to be a part of scientific discovery to find new ways to detect, treat or even prevent disease. At the NRI, research focuses on the intersection of nutrition and genetics and, therefore, each clinical study has different requirements. When you participate in a clinical trial you provide opportunity to researchers and hope to so many people worldwide. Check the opportunities here to see if you are eligible.