Preview of American Society for Nutrition meeting at EB 2013


Health and fitness enthusiasts who are turning their eyes toward Boston for coverage of the mecca of marathoning may want to keep their gazes fixed there for all the latest in nutrition science, from its role in food to physical activity.

Taking place in the city only a week after the Boston Marathon is a “mecca” of a different sort—of the life sciences. Experimental Biology 2013 is a must-attend conference (or must-follow event using the Twitter hashtag #EB2013) for those who are seriously interested in topics such as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, nutrition, and pharmacology. The event will feature more than 400 booths, plenary award lectures, workshops, and oral and poster presentations.

I’m glad to report that, for a second year, I’ve been selected to officially cover the American Society for Nutrition’s Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting at the conference. You can follow along through my twitter feed @daviddespain and through the coverage on this blog. Looking over ASN’s program, you can see that we’re in store for some really exciting sessions throughout the conference. I’ll bring your attention to just a few of the discussions that are sure to be popular each day.

Nutrition Hot Topics

ASN Logo

  • Friday, April 19: What Comes First: The Food or the Nutrient? David Jacobs, Ph.D., of the University of Minnesota and David Katz, MD, MPH, of Yale University will address food, diet patterns, nutrients in related to health and disease. This session promises to entertain as Dr. Katz drives home the message that “We have decisive evidence that lifestyle can prevent at least 60% of type 2 diabetes, and reason to believe it can prevent nearly all of it.” (source: ASN’s Nutrition Notes Daily preview April 2013 issue).
  • Saturday (early morning), April 20: Managing the Microbiome in Human GI Disease There’s no way to better kick off a conference than to go in with a guts-and-bugs discussion in the morning. The session will review the current status of the science in the field of microbiome research. Thomas Ziegler, MD, of Emory University is charing the session.
  • Saturday (late morning), April 20: Caloric Restriction in Humans: Is it Feasible, Effective, and Safe? With the world’s aging population, there exists a lot of interest in ways to achieve “healthy aging”. CR promises benefits, but its practice is controversial. Susan Roberts, Ph.D., of Tufts University and John Speakman, Ph.D., of University of Aberdeen will be charing the event.  
  • Sunday (early morning), April 21: Are Dietary Bioactives Ready for Review for Recommended Intakes? Although flavonoids and other bioactives may not be essential, they can affect the body in a variety of ways that contribute to health. Is it time to establish recommended dietary intakes for them? John Erdman, Ph.D., of University of Illinois, and Doug Balentine, Ph.D., of Unilever will chair the event.
  • Sunday (late morning), April 21: The Presidential Symposium: Regulation of Growth and Metabolism through Amino Acid Sensing Teresa Davis, Ph.D., President of ASN, will chair a symposium that will review how amino acids regulate protein synthesis and affect hormones. The topic is an important one as it relates to growth of tissues, metabolism, and in research of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
  • Monday, April 22: Obesity-related Inflammation and Vitamin D and Calcium Metabolism The role of vitamin D and calcium in managing weight and inflammation is a hot topic in nutrition science. Cristina Palacios, Ph.D., of University of Puerto Rico, and Christopher Cifelli, Ph.D., will chair the session.
  • Tuesday, April 23: W.O. Atwater Lecture: How Can We Make Diet Relevant In the Age of Powerful Drugs? Modern medicine has the upper hand in comparison to diet when it comes evidence from randomized controlled trials. David Jenkins, MD, Ph.D., DSc, of University of Toronto will discuss how to use of methods such as ultrasound and MRI imaging to improve research and enhance acceptance of dietary approaches for prevention and treatment of chronic disease.
  • Tuesday, April 23: Sweetened Beverages and Health: Current State of Scientific Understandings The debate rages on about what the science really says regarding the role of sugary drinks in promoting obesity and diabetes. Edward Saltzman, MD, of Tufts University will chair the discussion. Another sugar showdown! (See my coverage last year of EB2012’s discussion centered around the metabolic consequences of fructose, sucrose, and high fructose corn syrup.)
  • Wednesday, April 24: First Global Summit on the Health Effects of Yogurt Who doesn’t enjoy yogurt? This one-day event will review the state of the evidence surrounding  yogurt’s role for addressing nutrient deficiencies, managing body weight, and reducing risk of chronic disease.

More EB 2013 Coverage

That’s only a taste of what’s to come. ASN’s preview issue of Nutrition Notes Daily has more. The ASN meeting will include more than 1,900 scientific abstracts and dozens of symposia this year. That is a lot of nutrition science!

Fortunately, there will be other ASN members joining me in the coverage through tweets, blog posts, and videos. So, be sure to follow their updates, too:

ASN members

Other meeting bloggers

Last year’s coverage

Want a reminder of all the happenings from last year? Check out my coverage of EB 2012.

Published by David Despain, MS, CFS

David is a science and health writer living on Long Island, New York. He's written for a variety of publications including Scientific American, Outside Online, the American Society for Nutrition's (ASN) Nutrition Notes Daily, and Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT) Food Technology magazine and Live! blog. He's also covered new findings reported at scientific meetings including Experimental Biology, AAAS, AOCS, CASW, Sigma Xi, IFT, and others on his personal blog "Evolving Health." David is also an active member of organizations including the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society for Nutrition, the Institute of Food Technologists, and the National Audubon Society. David has a master's degree in human nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, and a bachelor's degree in English from University of Illinois at Springfield. He also earned his Certified Food Scientist credential from the Institute of Food Technologists.

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