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Past News Items - Nov 2013

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In the News

New Parkinson’s Disease Genes Discovered by the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center and Population Diagnostics, Inc.

Animal Study Published in Muscles, Ligaments and Tendons Journal Demonstrates Use of Rotation Medical Collagen Scaffold to Induce Formation of New Tendon-Like Tissue

Chelation Therapy Reduces Cardiovascular Events For Older Patients With Diabetes

Taste Receptors in the Gut Identified as New Target for Satiety and Glucose Regulation

Scientist Introduces New and Improved Way to Scan the Brain at International Neural Engineering Conference

Benefits of Probiotics for Inclusion into the 2015 Dietary Guidelines

Why Heart Attacks Happen to Healthy People

The “Perfect 10” for Heart Health

The American Botanical Council Celebrates 25 Years of Herbal Medicine Education

The Revolution in Modern Women's Health Care Takes a Bold New Turn at Sold-Out Lifestyle Medicine Summit

Released: 11/21/13

New Parkinson’s Disease Genes Discovered by the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center and Population Diagnostics, Inc.

Collaborative Effort to Further Validate Genetic Variants

The Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center announced today that they, in partnership with Population Diagnostics, Inc., have discovered a number of new genes relevant to the cause of Parkinson’s disease.

The innovative approach used for this study focuses first on genome-wide investigation of gene copy number variants (CNVs) followed by targeted sequencing of CNV-identified candidate genes. This strategy dramatically reduces the genome search space as compared to more traditional gene discovery tools such as single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis or exome sequencing methods. The study revealed a number of candidate genes with compelling new biological links to Parkinson’s disease as well as links to previously discovered Parkinson’s genes such as alpha-synuclein and LRRK2 (the most common known cause of familial or inherited Parkinson’s disease).

The genetic variants were originally discovered in a clinical center-based study of 468 patients from the Parkinson’s Institute that included familial and sporadic cases. The genome-wide study was performed by Population Diagnostics, Inc., a privately held company with a cutting-edge approach to systematically uncovering the genetic causes of disease. Seed funding for the validation of one novel gene found in the study was provided by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. The Parkinson’s Institute and Population Diagnostics established their collaboration focused on genetic discoveries in December 2011.

Once confirmed in a second cohort of patients from the Parkinson’s Institute, many of these new variants are expected to confer clinical utility and enable earlier disease detection that will allow separation of people living with Parkinson’s disease into additional genetic subtypes. Currently known genetic subtypes, such as SNCA, LRRK2, and PARK2, can classify and diagnose only five to ten percent of patients with Parkinson’s disease; however, the genetic discoveries from this collaboration are anticipated to dramatically boost the diagnostic yield of genetic testing in Parkinson’s patients. The novel variants in genes associated with Parkinson’s may help predict disease course and may also accelerate the development of disease-modifying drugs by serving as new therapeutic targets and illuminating new disease pathways.

“We are very excited that our collaboration with Population Diagnostics has revealed a number of new genetic variants that are relevant to the cause of Parkinson’s disease,” said Dr. Birgitt Schuele, program director of Gene Discovery and Stem Cell Modeling at the Parkinson’s Institute. “We are grateful to The Michael J. Fox Foundation, Population Diagnostics, and our Parkinson’s Institute donors for funding that enables us to do the requisite validation experiments which are critical for a better understanding of this disease. The Institute is uniquely positioned for collaborations with industry partners, like Population Diagnostics, that fast-track our understanding of disease mechanisms, the development of new and better treatments, and hopefully one day a cure.”

“I’m confident that continued collaboration between the Parkinson’s Institute and Population Diagnostics will positively impact the lives of patients with Parkinson’s disease through the eventual use of genetic-driven decisions to prevent, diagnose, and treat the disease,” said Jim Chinitz, CEO of Population Diagnostics. “The Institute uniquely combines patient care, basic research, and clinical research to provide an ideal environment for accelerating the translation of the genetic causes that we have discovered into clinical practice.”


Released: 11/21/13

Animal Study Published in Muscles, Ligaments and Tendons Journal Demonstrates Use of Rotation Medical Collagen Scaffold to Induce Formation of New Tendon-Like Tissue

An animal study published in Muscles, Ligaments and Tendons Journal demonstrated that a new collagen scaffold technology developed by Rotation Medical, Inc. was successfully used to induce the formation of new tendon-like tissue in the infraspinatus (rotator cuff) tendon of adult sheep. Rotation Medical, a medical device company focused on developing new technologies to treat rotator cuff disease, sponsored the research.

The study was designed to determine if a porous, absorbable collagen scaffold technology would allow rapid tissue ingrowth of tendon-like tissue. Study investigators sutured scaffolds to the surface of the infraspinatus tendons of 23 adult sheep. Six weeks later, histology tissue samples demonstrated complete ingrowth with fibrovascular tissue. By 12 weeks, the scaffold had induced the formation of a layer of dense, well-integrated, and regularly-oriented collagenous tissue that significantly increased the thickness of the native tendon. At 26 weeks the scaffold was completely absorbed leaving a stable layer of mature tendon-like tissue over the surface of the host tendon. This tissue remained present at 52 weeks. The reconstituted collagen scaffold did not trigger an inflammatory response or foreign body reaction.

“The Rotation Medical reconstituted collagen scaffold consistently increased the thickness of the rotator cuff tendon by inducing the formation of well-integrated and mature tendon-like tissue,” said Steven Arnoczky, DVM, director of the Laboratory for Comparative Orthopaedic Research at Michigan State University. “These results suggest that the collagen scaffold may have a role in preventing tear progression in partial-thickness tears by increasing tendon thickness and decreasing intra-tendinous strain.”

Rotator cuff tears affect more than four million people annually in the US and are the most common source of shoulder pain and disability. Over time, tears that start out small often develop into larger, more painful and debilitating tears due to continuing degeneration of the torn tendon.

“There is a well-recognized clinical need for a better solution to treat rotator cuff disease, since current approaches focus on minimizing pain symptoms but often fail to promote the tendon healing needed to address the source of the pain. Our goal is to treat patients earlier and reduce disease progression,” said Martha Shadan, president and CEO of Rotation Medical. “This study represents an important milestone in our path to commercialization and we are committed to partnering with the clinical community to conduct additional studies to further demonstrate the effectiveness of our collagen scaffold technology.”

The Rotation Medical collagen scaffold was cleared by the FDA in 2011 for use in the management and protection of tendon injuries in which there has been no substantial loss of tendon tissue. The device is not yet commercially available in the United States. A mid-2014 launch is planned in the US.


Released: 11/20/13

Chelation Therapy Reduces Cardiovascular Events For Older Patients With Diabetes

Chelation treatments reduce cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks, and death in patients with diabetes but not in those who did not have diabetes, according to analyses of data from the National Institutes of Health-funded Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT). However, researchers say more research is needed before it’s known whether this promising finding leads to a treatment option.

“These are striking results that, if supported by future research, could point the way toward new treatments to prevent complications of diabetes,” said Gervasio A. Lamas, MD, the study’s principal investigator and chairman of medicine and chief of the Columbia University Division of Cardiology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, FL.

Chelation is a chemical process in which a substance is delivered to bind atoms of metals or minerals and hold them tightly so that they can be removed from the body. Chelation is conventionally used as a treatment for heavy metal (lead) poisoning, although some people use chelation as an unapproved and unproven treatment for conditions like heart disease.

Chelation therapy is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat heart disease. However, use of chelation therapy to treat heart disease and other health problems grew in the United States between 2002 and 2007 by nearly 68 percent to 111,000 people, according to the 2008 National Health Statistics Report.

The diabetes subgroup analysis of TACT was published today in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality & Outcomes and presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2013. TACT is a study supported by the NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

TACT’s initial report was published in the March 27, 2013, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. This previous report showed that infusions of a form of chelation therapy using disodium ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid (EDTA) produced a modest but statistically significant reduction in cardiovascular events in all EDTA-treated participants. However, further examination of the data showed that patients with diabetes were significantly impacted by chelation therapy while patients without diabetes were not.

The patients with diabetes-which made up approximately one-third of 1,708 participants-demonstrated a 41 percent overall reduction in the risk of any cardiovascular event; a 40 percent reduction in the risk of death from heart disease, non-fatal stroke, or non-fatal heart attack; a 52 percent reduction in recurrent heart attacks; and a 43 percent reduction in death from any cause. In contrast, there was no significant benefit of EDTA treatment in the subgroup of 1,045 participants who did not have diabetes.

From 2003 to 2010, 1,708 adults aged 50 and older were enrolled in TACT, of whom 633 had diabetes. Study participants had suffered a heart attack six weeks or more before enrollment (on average, the heart attack occurred about 4.5 years earlier). The participants were assigned randomly to receive 40 infusions of disodium EDTA chelation solution or a placebo solution. Patients also were randomly assigned to receive high doses of oral vitamins and minerals or an identical oral placebo. Most participants also took standard medicines for heart attack survivors, such as aspirin, beta blockers, and statins. They were followed for a minimum of one year and up to five years, with follow-up ending in October 2011.

TACT was not designed to discover how or why chelation might benefit patients with diabetes, but the findings are encouraging. Additional studies are needed before a determination can be made of the potential place of EDTA chelation therapy, if any, in the treatment of patients with coronary artery disease and diabetes.


Released: 11/18/13

Taste Receptors in the Gut Identified as New Target for Satiety and Glucose Regulation

NaZura BioHealth presents at 2014 Obesity Society’s annual scientific meeting

NaZura BioHealth today announced clinical study results indicating that activation of taste receptors in the lower gut can amplify the release of hormones involved in satiety and glucose regulation. In an oral presentation to be made today at the Obesity Society’s Annual Scientific Meeting, principal investigator Steven R. Smith, MD, will describe how NaZura’s proprietary Gut Sensory Modulation (GSM) technology can be used to intensify the body’s natural, food-driven signals.

Delivering formulations of GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) dietary ingredients and FDA-approved food additives to the lower gut activates chemosensory sweet, umami, and bitter receptors on enteroendocrine cells. These cells release a number of peptides including peptide YY (PYY), which signals satiety to the brain, and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which plays an important role in glucose regulation. The activation of taste receptors with non-nutritive agonists in effect stimulates the enteroendocrine cells to react as though a greater caloric load had been consumed. In short-term studies, NaZura has shown that formulations of sweet, umami, and bitter agonists increased the body’s food-driven production of PYY and GLP-1 twofold compared to placebo under various meal conditions.

“NaZura BioHealth has broken new ground with this concept of localized delivery of active compounds to the enteroendocrine cells with the goal of improving weight management and glucose control,” said Alain D. Baron, MD, president and chief executive officer of NaZura BioHealth. “As we’re hearing at this week’s Obesity Society meeting there remains a significant need for safe solutions to help people manage their weight.”

NaZura BioHealth Poster at Obesity Society Annual Scientific Meeting

Activation of Intestinal Taste Receptors Augmented Oral Glucose Stimulated GLP-1 and PYY in Healthy Humans

  • Date and Time: Friday, November 15, 2013, 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET
  • Presenter: Steven R. Smith, MD, director, Florida Hospital–Sanford-Burnham Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes; professor, Diabetes and Obesity Research Center, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute; and chief scientific officer, Florida Hospital Research Services.
  • Abstract ID, Category: T-60-OR, Oral Abstracts Track 3 – Appetite

Based on the GSM findings to date, NaZura is currently conducting a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind weight loss study in 240 overweight and moderately obese subjects.


Released: 11/11/13

Scientist Introduces New and Improved Way to Scan the Brain at International Neural Engineering Conference

The Center for Tomography Research Laboratory (CTECH Labs) introduced the latest technology in brain scanning at the Sixth International IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Conference on Neural Engineering at the Sheraton Hotel, San Diego, CA on November 7th.

The Electrical Capacitance Volume Tomography (or the ECVT) was first developed by CTECH Labs to enable 4D brain activity scanning. The technology offers low-cost, radiation-free, instantaneous detection of abnormalities in the brain caused by tumors, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and other brain dysfunctions.

The ECVT sensor system measures the electrical signals of the brain and generates a volumetric map of brain activity, based on a Neural-Network Multi-criteria Optimization Image Reconstruction Technique (NN-MOIRT). The ECVT is able to detect brain tumors by examining brain functional abnormalities, as the tumors block the propagation of neuro-signals and cause abnormalities in the brain activity image. The ECVT sensor design has been optimized for the detection of brain tumors in different sensitivity regions of the brain.

The ECVT was developed in 2004 by Dr. Warsito Purwo Taruno-founder and director of CTECH Labs-in collaboration with Ohio State University. In the United States, the ECVT is currently being used by NASA for experimentation of zero gravity fuel gauging and by the US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory for the development of next-generation, clean-energy power plants.

Whereas CT Scans and MRIs observe only the anatomy of the human brain in 2D, ECVT enables doctors to observe the brain’s function in real time, using computerized sensor systems. ECVT is low energy (5 volts) in contrast to CT Scans (requiring hundreds of thousands of volts) and MRIs (requiring 1-3T of magnetic field). ECVT also emits no radiation and requires only an easy-to-operate and non-invasive helmet scanner.

Says Dr. Warsito, “We are excited to present our latest development on ECVT and hope that, with further research, ECVT will become the next generation of brain scanning.”

About CTECH Labs Edwar Technology

CTECH Labs Edwar Technology developed the prototype for ECVT in 2004 and continues to research and study new applications for the technology. CTECH Labs has collaborated with world universities and centers for research and development, including Ohio State University (US), National Natural Science Laboratory of Japan, and Universiti Kebangsaan (Malaysia). ECVT has been featured in Science Daily (US), Scenta (UK), Chemical Online, and Electronics Weekly.

About Dr. Warsito

Dr. Warsito Purwo Taruno is the founder and director of CTECH Labs. He earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering and his PhD in Electrical Engineering from Shizuoka University. In 2004, Dr. Warsito invented the prototype for ECVT together with Prof L.S. Fan and Dr Qussai Marashdeh of Ohio State University.


Released: 11/06/13

Benefits of Probiotics for Inclusion into the 2015 Dietary Guidelines

Julie Smolyansky, President and CEO of Lifeway Foods, public health advocate and member of the UN Foundation's Global Entrepreneurs Council, announced today that she has submitted comments for review and possible inclusion in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Her recommendations encourage health practitioners, doctors, nutritionists and other related professionals to understand and promote the health benefits of probiotic-rich foods such as kefir and yogurt. Her submitted comments include a medical study titled "Kefir improves lactose digestion and tolerance in adults with lactose maldigestion," which explored the digestive benefits of kefir which compared favorably to yogurt. Lifeway kefir was also featured in a study titled "Resolution of Recurrent Clostridium difficile-associated Diarrhea Using Staggered Antibiotic Withdrawal and Kefir" performed by Dr. Johan S. Bakken that correlated the resolution of diarrhea when subjects consumed daily kefir intake with antibiotics.

"I submitted my recommendations because I want to be sure Americans possess the latest information about healthy food options such as probiotics so they can live healthy and happy lives," said Ms. Smolyansky. "The guidelines should incorporate the latest nutritional thinking that includes foods like kefir and other probiotic-rich foods that can aid digestive health, improve immune response, and aid in the management of several chronic ailments."

The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion produces the Dietary Guidelines for Americans every five years along with the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). A committee of nutrition experts is tasked with review peer-reviewed science articles on diet and health as well as contributions from nutrition industry experts such as Ms. Smolyansky. The 2010 version of the guidelines recommended individuals should balance eating more vegetables, fruits, and seafood with increased physical activity.

"Healthcare costs are rising in part because we often treat ailments with expensive medical intervention while healthy eating backed by science can be used as effective prevention," continued Ms. Smolyansky. "These recommendations are just a part of my global advocacy work on presenting new solutions to the global health crisis."

Ms. Smolyansky is a proponent of maintaining health through both physical activity and proper nutrition. She participates in several health-based initiatives including Every Mother Counts, an advocacy and mobilization campaign to increase education and support for maternal mortality reduction globally. As a member of the Global Entrepreneurs Council of the United Nations Foundation, she works towards solving the greatest global challenges of our time by looking at situations through the lens of an entrepreneur, including global malnutrition and human rights issues in the United States and around the world.

To view Ms. Smolyansky's complete recommendations, visit: health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2015/comments/readComments.aspx.


Released: 11/06/13

Why Heart Attacks Happen to Healthy People

Dr. Doug Harrington, clinical professor at USC Keck School of Medicine, presented "Why Do Heart Attacks Happen to 'Healthy People'?" on behalf of nonprofit, GUARDaHEART at both the 13th Annual Maui Cardiovascular Symposium and at the 5th Annual Orange County Symposium.

Dr. Harrington's presentations addressed the issue of why half of patients who have heart attacks have normal cholesterol. Harrington revealed the latest data on Aviir's MIRISK VP advanced cardiovascular risk assessment test, which can improve identification of at risk patients by determining their risk for the #1 cause of heart attacks – vulnerable plaque rupture. MIRISK VP evaluates multiple pathways of heart disease progression and can help physicians diagnose "vulnerable patients" who may be unaware of their risk of a heart attack or unstable angina.

The November Orange County Symposium entitled "A Brave New World: Navigating Through Problems in Contemporary Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Management" was jointly sponsored by the American Society for Preventive Cardiology and AKH Inc. The Pacific Lipid Association, the California Chapter of the ACC, and the California Chapter of AACE endorsed the conference. Hosting committee member, Nathan D. Wong, PhD, FACC commented "the work of GUARDaHEART in helping people to better understand their cardiovascular health using novel risk assessment tools is a commendable mission and an important step towards helping America and other parts of the world reduce cardiovascular disease."


Released: 11/05/13

The “Perfect 10” for Heart Health

Metagenics, Inc., a nutrigenomics and lifestyle medicine company focused on improving health, today launched Mega 10 - a unique omega fatty acid supplement combining specially designed levels of purified omega-7s and omega-3s to provide both targeted support for healthy blood lipids and general support for overall cardiovascular health.

“Science is just beginning to uncover the potential of omega-7 fatty acids. Omega-7s as purified palmitoleic acid may provide targeted support for healthy blood lipids, including triglycerides, as well as other cardiometabolic health markers, such as hs-CRP.”

Omega-7s (as purified palmitoleic acid) are now being highlighted in emerging research for their possible benefits to cardiovascular health-specifically their potential to support healthy blood lipids and cardiometabolic health markers. The benefits of omega-7s can complement those of omega-3s, which have been recognized in over 20,000 published scientific studies to support overall cardiovascular health in addition to other benefits of general wellness.

“It’s well established that omega-3’s like EPA and DHA are essential fatty acids that can be found in important areas throughout the body,” said Dr. Michael Roizen, Chief Wellness Officer at Cleveland Clinic and Chief Medical Consultant for the “Dr. Oz Show.” “Science is just beginning to uncover the potential of omega-7 fatty acids. Omega-7s as purified palmitoleic acid may provide targeted support for healthy blood lipids, including triglycerides, as well as other cardiometabolic health markers, such as hs-CRP.”

Results from a recent study comprised of patients who took a supplement containing purified omega-7s and participated in a lifestyle change program, demonstrated support for healthy blood lipids, including triglycerides. i Results from a second recent double-blinded, placebo-controlled study with healthy patients demonstrated similar support for maintaining healthy blood lipids, further supporting the potential role of omega-7s in promoting cardiovascular health. ii

Mega 10 is a more complete omega formula for cardiovascular health, combining purified omega-7 fatty acids with concentrated levels of purity-tested omega-3s, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Each softgel provides 500 mg of combined EPA and DHA-6.6 times more than the leading krill oil product.

“Many unpurified omega-7 products, such as those from sea buckthorn, may contain high concentrations of palmitic acid, a fatty acid that has been associated with negative health effects. Mega 10 provides 210 mg of omega-7s per softgel derived from a unique purification process that helps filter undesirable palmitic acid and deliver concentrated levels of palmitoleic acid,” said John Troup, Metagenics Chief Science Officer. “Like all of our OmegaGenics fatty acid formulas, Mega 10 is purity guaranteed and tested by a third-party lab to assure the highest quality to deliver its full potential.”


Released: 11/01/13

The American Botanical Council Celebrates 25 Years of Herbal Medicine Education

On November 1, the American Botanical Council (ABC) celebrates a quarter century of promoting the responsible, science-based use of herbal medicine. The independent nonprofit's 25th anniversary is a major milestone for the Austin, Texas-based organization and speaks to its enduring message of informed, research-supported healing through nature - one that has resonated with thousands of members and supporters both locally and in many countries around the world.

"I've been affiliated with and have supported ABC since its inception, because I believe in its mission," said internationally renowned author and integrative medicine pioneer Andrew Weil, MD, the founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. Dr. Weil, whose image has twice graced the cover of TIME Magazine, said, "As more health professionals are trained to use medicinal plants and other natural therapies, healthcare costs will decrease and health outcomes will improve. Education is required for this to happen, education of the sort that ABC has provided over the past 25 years and I'm sure will continue to provide."

In the 1980s, when the modern herbal medicine movement was experiencing a revival and consumer awareness and exposure to natural medicine was slowly increasing, ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal saw the need for an authoritative, science-based source of information on botanical medicine to act as a touchstone for herbal education and quality for all aspects of the herbal industry including consumers. The Texan visionary, whose passion for herbal medicine earned him the nickname "Herbal Cowboy," together with two internationally respected medicinal plant experts - the eminent ethnobotanist James A. Duke, PhD, and the late distinguished pharmacognosist Norman R. Farnsworth, PhD - established the educational nonprofit American Botanical Council in 1988.

"I think of Mark as the great herbal diplomat," said Rosemary Gladstar, herbalist, prolific author, educator, and founder of the nonprofit conservation organization United Plant Savers. Gladstar, whom Blumenthal nicknamed the "Godmother of American Herbalism," praised his efforts over the past 25 years as being "beautifully, seriously, and joyfully effective."

As ABC celebrates its 25th anniversary in November 2013, the organization's flagship publication - the quarterly, peer-reviewed journal HerbalGram - commemorates 30 years of herbal education with its 100th issue. Part scientific journal, part consumer magazine, HerbalGram has furthered ABC's unique nonprofit educational mission by disseminating extensively researched, literature-supported, and expertly peer-reviewed information on botanical medicine.

"Under Mark Blumenthal's steady editorial guidance, the information [in HerbalGram] has always been cutting-edge and in a word - reliable," said author and medicinal plant expert Steven Foster, whose stunning botanical photography has adorned the magazine's pages since its early years. "From history to new clinical studies, reporting on new regulatory and market developments to comprehensive reviews and covering the world's herbs and the world of herbs, no publication has provided more to all interested stakeholders in every aspect of herbal medicine."

In addition to HerbalGram, ABC boasts numerous other publications that provide dependable herbal medicine information for consumers, healthcare practitioners, researchers, educators, industry, the media, and more. The nonprofit's most recent publication, the weekly online newsletter, "Herbal News & Events," keeps ABC members and supporters abreast of events, conferences, and news items relevant to the herbal community. HerbalEGram, ABC's monthly online periodical for members, also reaches a milestone this month, celebrating 10 years of publishing timely, original, in-house features and news articles.

Members of ABC can also access HerbMedPro, a professional, continuously updated database of medicinal plant research articles searchable by herb name, condition, indication, and more. ABC provides free online access to HerbMed, a "sister" database featuring 20 to 30 herbs from HerbMedPro that are rotated on a regular basis. Making this unique resource free to the public increases the number of people who benefit from updated information on herbs, in accordance with ABC's nonprofit educational mission.

Another notable resource is the organization's HerbClip service, which for two decades has provided summaries and critical reviews of seminal articles on medicinal plant research and clinical trials, as well as information on regulation, marketing, conservation, and sustainability.

These services and many others - including a digitized version of The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs; ABC's Healthy Ingredients, a plant-based dietary supplements and cosmetics reference page; and the lauded, historical compilation of The Complete German Commission E Monographs - are all available online through ABC's information-rich website, herbalgram.org.

ABC's headquarters at the 160-year-old Case Mill Homestead in the heart of East Austin serves as an extension of the organization's commitment to herbal

education. Purchased in 1997, the property was renovated with the help of the nonprofit's first capital campaign and updated with expansive medicinal plant gardens, a greenhouse, and annex that functions as home for ABC's library and a community meeting space sometimes used by other Austin nonprofits. With guidance from ABC's dedicated education department, the gardens are used as a tool for dietetic and pharmacy interns from local universities, who apply their research in hands-on medicine-making labs and presentations using herbs from the grounds. The Case Mill Homestead also functions as the idyllic setting of ABC's annual HerbDay event, where community members gather to celebrate the healing properties of plants.

For the past three years, ABC also has been actively involved in establishing and directing a major international collaborative research project addressing the quality of herbal ingredients used in consumer products. In 2011, ABC joined forces with the nonprofit American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) and the University of Mississippi's National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR) to bring to light the accidental and intentional adulteration of botanical materials. To date, the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program is underwritten and/or endorsed by more than 100 natural product industry companies, independent analytical laboratories, nonprofit and professional organizations, trade associations, accredited natural medicine institutions, and more.

The American Botanical Council's dedication and passion for providing reliable information on herbal medicine for the past 25 years has impacted thousands of individuals around the world, from eager-to-be-educated consumers to distinguished medicinal plant experts.

"Mark Blumenthal and the American Botanical Council have played a tremendous and important role in opening the eyes and minds of countless healthcare professionals to the importance of herbal medicines in healing, eco-conservation, traditional use, and even economics," said Aviva Romm, MD, Yale-trained physician, herbalist, and award-winning author.

As an example of ABC's global impact, Kerry Bone, one of the leading medicinal plant experts in Australia, wrote, "Congratulations to Mark and [the ABC] team for their tireless work over 25 years in representing and promoting botanical therapy as a rational and credible healthcare alternative."

"We are deeply grateful to all of our members, donors, and other supporters who have made this milestone possible," said Blumenthal. "From medicinal plant researchers, healthcare professionals, consumers, industry members, and many others, in the United States and 80 countries around the world, ABC's success is a result of the strong ongoing support of people who value reliable, science-based information on the many positive health effects of herbs, spices, teas, phytomedicines, and other beneficial plants and fungi."


Released: 11/01/13

The Revolution in Modern Women's Health Care Takes a Bold New Turn at Sold-Out Lifestyle Medicine Summit

Enlightened Practitioners Discover New Therapies and Patient-Centered Approaches That Put Women First in Making Healthcare Decisions

Aliso Viejo, Calif.– The health issues facing today's woman are clear, but how to effectively address them is not. That concern is what drew more than 750 forward-thinking healthcare practitioners who attended the sold-out second annual Lifestyle Medicine Summit sponsored by Metagenics, held October 4-6 in Chicago. Practitioners from around the country learned that "lifestyle medicine" represents a shift in the conventional healthcare model to one that empowers women to be an active participant in caring for their health—especially when empowered with the latest information available to weigh healthcare options and associated risks and benefits.

The Summit is the premier forum for advancing lifestyle medicine. This year’s theme "Women's Health: What Women Really Want," brought together 18 world-class physicians, research clinicians and other practitioners across a variety of fields to lead discussions on some of today's top concerns and underlying risk factors that negatively impact a woman's quality of life. The goal of this year's Summit was to inform and inspire practitioners with innovative nutritional and lifestyle medicine strategies that give their female patients the tools they need to be healthier. The Summit was once again sponsored by Metagenics, Inc., a nutrigenomics and lifestyle medicine company focused on improving health.

"We are proud to host the Lifestyle Medicine Summit to provide a collaborative forum for healthcare practitioners to not only learn new and exciting approaches, but also to connect with other caring, like-minded professionals who are helping to change the modern healthcare experience," said Willy Pardinas, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Americas for Metagenics. "There has never been a more opportune time for practitioners to embrace innovative strategies that help patients make meaningful, lasting changes in their health and the way they feel."

Women of today may be living longer, but they're not necessarily healthier. In fact, modern living behaviors are contributing factors to the rising tide of many common chronic diseases and conditions—including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, mood disorders, back pain, fatigue, autoimmune disorders, and hormone-related conditions. Breakout sessions at the Summit provided insights into recent scientific advancements and clinical discoveries in preventing and managing common women's health issues and bothersome symptoms.

Noteworthy sessions and speakers from the Summit included:

  • Mark Hyman, MD, six-time New York Times bestselling author, and an internationally recognized leader in his field, spoke to healthcare practitioners about the five major triggers of autoimmune disease, stating that "less than one-third of those with an autoimmune disease are diagnosed." Dr. Hyman also revealed that 80 percent of those affected are women. "The primary causes of disease are toxins, allergens, microbes, stress, and poor diet. Nutrients like omega-3, zinc, vitamin D, magnesium, and vitamin A may help to treat some causes, along with stress management."
  • Christiane Northrup, MD, internationally known for her empowering approach to women's health and wellness, closed the Summit with an earnest discussion of what female patients desire in modern health care. Dr. Northrup revealed that probiotics play an important role in training the immune system. "There has been a large increase in autoimmune and allergic diseases in societies that are considered to have very good hygiene," said Dr. Northrup. "These increases may have occurred because our immune systems are not being challenged by pathogenic organisms. Introducing good bacteria like probiotics can support the immune system in a healthy way and help build it up."

"What I learned at this conference is beyond standard of care and looks more closely at the biology and science of human wellness," said summit attendee, Dan Harper, MD, integrative medicine family practitioner from Solana Beach, California. "Medicine is traditionally focused on treatment, and this conference focuses on prevention at the molecular level."

The theme of the 2014 Lifestyle Medicine Summit is "Transformational Patient Care: Powering the Paradigm Shift" and will build on previous events to encompass a broader range of conditions and challenges that may be effectively managed with personalized lifestyle medicine strategies. Another stellar line up of world class speakers will participate. The 2014 Lifestyle Medicine Summit will be held September 26-28 in Nashville, TN at the newly built Omni Hotel. Early registration is encouraged, as previous events have sold out months in advance.

About Metagenics, Inc.

Metagenics, Inc. (www.metagenics.com) is a nutrigenomics and lifestyle medicine company dedicated to helping people live happier, healthier lives by realizing their genetic potential. Founded in 1983, Metagenics serves more than 75,000 healthcare providers worldwide through premium quality, science-based medical foods, nutritional formulas, and lifestyle therapy programs such as FirstLine Therapy to help their patients achieve a lifetime of good health. Metagenics’ scientific staff—among the largest in the nutrigenomics industry—has published more than 80 articles in peer-reviewed journals and has been awarded more than 50 international or domestic patents. The company’s educational arm, Metagenics Educational Programs, collaborates with renowned medical experts to annually deliver more than 200 events designed to help healthcare professionals stay on the leading edge of lifestyle medicine and incorporate nutrition into their clinical practice.

Metagenics maintains its corporate headquarters in Aliso Viejo, CA; R&D headquarters in Gig Harbor, WA; and operating subsidiaries in Brussels, Belgium and Brisbane, Australia.


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