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ODS Update - November 2008

ODS Update

The e-newsletter of the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS)

November 2008

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News You Can Use

ODS Welcomes Comments for its Next Strategic Plan 2010-2014
Research and education activities at ODS are guided by strategic plans that have been carefully developed with the input of many voices, including those from investigators, practitioners, industry, media, policy makers, government, and consumers. The current 2004-2009 strategic plan has served ODS well, but it is now time to consider revisions for the next 5-year period of 2010-2014. ODS asks that interested individuals and parties provide guidance and comment especially on the following issues:
  • Are the current strategic goals adequate?
  • Is ODS meeting its stakeholders' needs?
  • In the future, should some of ODS's current programs or activities be given higher (or lower) priority?
  • How can ODS more effectively provide useful information to its user community?
To help guide your thinking, please review the items on the ODS Strategic Planning Web site (http://ods.od.nih.gov/strategicplan). These include the goals and initiatives from the current strategic plan and A Report to the Public. This document summarizes progress in four key areas of ODS activities: research support, research tools, communications, and science-policy interactions.

ODS is accepting comments through March 31, 2009 in the usual ways: by e-mail, regular mail, or fax. In addition, four public meetings will be held by Webinar (live, Internet-based presentations accessed through your computer and telephone) between January 29 and February 19, 2009, where you can make oral statements; details are available on the Strategic Planning Website listed above.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Ninth Edition of Annual Bibliography of Significant Advances in Dietary Supplement Research Now Available
For the ninth consecutive year, ODS has published an Annual Bibliography highlighting 25 scientific papers representing significant advances in dietary supplement research. This edition consists of papers published in 2007. The research covers a wide array of laboratory and human observational studies and clinical trials on dietary supplement ingredients and their connections to, for example, cardiovascular health, cancer risk, and diabetes in children.

These 25 papers were chosen through a careful selection process. For this Annual Bibliography, 437 papers from 83 journals were identified through targeted literature searches. Of these, 223 of the most relevant papers were sent to 54 experts in nutrition and related fields for their review and scoring. These experts scored the papers on criteria such as study design, statistical evaluation, public health significance, and potential to advance the field. The 25 top-scoring papers were included in this Annual Bibliography.

All nine editions of the Annual Bibliography are available on the ODS Web site (http://ods.od.nih.gov/Research/Annual_Bibliographies.aspx). The news advisory for this ninth edition can be found at http://www.nih.gov/news/health/oct2008/od-23.htmexternal link icon.

Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) Research Synthesis Database Now Available
Over the course of 9 years between1997-2005, the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, National Academies, published eight reports establishing dietary recommended intakes (DRIs) for essential nutrients and other components of foods. These reports contain more than 450 recommendations for further research to enhance knowledge of nutrient needs throughout the life cycle. Continuing knowledge gaps include, for example, the requirements of children and the elderly, individual variations in requirements caused by genetics and lifestyle, and the bioavailability and interactions among nutrients.

The research recommendations are now included in a database developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with funding and expert help from ODS and others. The Dietary Reference Intake Research Synthesis Database (DRID) is Web-based with a user-friendly interface that enables one to carry out precise searches using keywords to locate specific areas of research needs, such as calcium and bone health. Nutrition researchers looking for study ideas, and other healthcare providers, are among the primary audiences for this database. It is available at http://drid.nal.usda.gov.

The DRID is a product developed under the direction of a Federal DRI Steering Committee.

New Funding Opportunities for Research
ODS collaborates on funding initiatives across NIH and with other agencies through mechanisms such as Requests for Applications (RFAs) and Program Announcements (PAs). In the last 2 months, it has signed onto the following:

  • International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups (U01 issued by the John E. Fogarty International Center for Advanced Study in the Health Sciences).
  • Basic and preclinical research on complementary and alternative medicine (R01 issued by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine).

Further details about these funding opportunities are available on the ODS Web site at http://ods.od.nih.gov/Funding/Funding.aspx.

ODS Programs and Activities

ODS's Research Portfolio in FY2008 Surpasses $22 Million
In FY2008, ODS spent $22.3 million of its $27.5 million budget on research and education-related activities in the form of grants, interagency agreements, contracts, and workshops/conferences. The following are examples in each category:
  • Grants: 104 were co-funded with nine NIH institutes and centers for a total of $15.5 million. One, for example, is to determine the anti-arthritic effects of ginger supplements; another pertains to the development of biomarkers to study botanical immunomodulators in humans. Visit the ODS Web site for a full list and description of these grants (http://ods.od.nih.gov/Funding/Grants__Contracts.aspx).
  • Interagency agreements totaling $5 million included funding to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine concentrations of heavy metals in botanical dietary supplement raw materials and finished products, as well as support to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for its National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
  • Contracts totaling $1.6 million included several to private laboratories to develop analytical methods for the identification of various dietary supplement ingredients and to Abt Associates for a pilot study to develop a dietary supplement label database.
  • Workshops/conferences: ODS provided partial support for 10 workshops and conferences for a total of $0.2 million, including one on caffeine by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and another on vitamin methodologies conducted by the American Herbal Products Association.

Institute of Medicine to Review Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for Vitamin D and Calcium
Recommended intakes for vitamin D and calcium were last updated in 1997. In the ensuing 11 years, much new research on these two nutrients has been published, some of it with public-health implications. With co-funding from ODS and other public sources, the Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the National Academies will evaluate this evidence and issue updated Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for vitamin D and calcium in the summer of 2010.

The FNB review will consider both chronic and non-chronic disease indicators in its evaluation. Indicators for adequacy and excess of vitamin D and calcium will be selected based on the strength and quality of evidence, as well as public health significance, taking into consideration sources of uncertainty in the data. Systematic evidence-based reviews of the literature will also be incorporated. One such review, funded by ODS and titled Effectiveness and Safety of Vitamin D in Relation to Bone Health, has been published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (and is available in its entirety at http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/tp/vitadtp.htmexternal link icon). A second AHRQ-coordinated review co-funded by ODS and currently in progress is an update of this first review expanded to include calcium as well as vitamin D and a broader set of health outcomes.

While not available prior to this e-newsletter, the FNB will soon make available information on the DRI review of vitamin D and calcium on its Web site at http://www.iom.edu/CMS/3708.aspxexternal link icon.

ODS Staff News

Mary Frances Picciano, PhD, ODS Senior Nutrition Research Scientist, received a Merit Award from the NIH Office of the Director "in recognition of exceptional service in developing an NIH Vitamin D research initiative and related activities." It was presented at an Honor Awards Ceremony on November 20 at the NIH.

Robert M. Russell, MD, has joined ODS on a part-time basis as a Visiting Scientist for 1 year beginning October 2008. He is Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Nutrition at Tufts University and the former Director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts. While at ODS, he will provide leadership for the development of systematic reviews for nutrition topics. Dr. Russell's biography is available at http://ods.od.nih.gov/About/Robert_M_Russell.aspx.

Patsy M. Brannon, PhD, RD, a Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University has spent part of her time between April 2007 and October 2008 as a Visiting Professor at ODS. In that capacity, she coordinated (with Dr. Mary Frances Picciano) ODS's Vitamin D Initiative to establish an NIH-wide evidence-based research agenda for vitamin D. Dr. Brannon organized the ODS co-sponsored NIH symposium titled Vitamin D and Health in the 21st Century on September 5-6, 2007, and the establishment of a Federal Working Group on Vitamin D to promote and move forward the research agenda developed from the symposium.

Recent ODS Staff Publications

Catherine M. Stoney, Paul M. Coates, and Josephine P. Briggs. Letter to editor: Integrity of active components of botanical products used in complementary and alternative medicine. Journal of the American Medical Association 300(17):1995-1996, November 5, 2008.

Upcoming Events (December 2008 - February 2009)

National Institute of Health and Nutrition
December 2, 2008: Tokyo, Japan

Paul Coates will give a presentation titled Dietary Supplements in the United States: Claims and Evidence.

International Life Sciences Institute
December 3, 2008: Tokyo, Japan

Paul Coates will give a presentation titled Evaluating the Health Effects of Dietary Supplements.

Society for Risk Analysis 2008 Annual Meeting
December 10, 2008: Boston, MA

http://sra.org/events/sra-2008-annual-meetingexternal link icon
Robert Russell will give a presentation titled Low-Dose Dose-Response Thresholds in Risk Assessment: a Cross Disciplinary Analysis of Key Events from Vitamin A Exposure to Adverse Events.

International Life Sciences Institute: Decision Making for Recommendations and Communications Based on Totality of Food Related Research Workshop
December 15, 2008: Washington, DC

Robert Russell will give a presentation titled Application of Epidemiologic Data in DRI Development: Approaches Toward Harmonization. Mary Frances Picciano will give a presentation titled Vitamin D and Health.

International Life Sciences Institute 2009 Annual Meeting
January 20, 2009: Tucson, AZ

Robert Russell will speak at a symposium titled Application of Threshold Concepts to Pathogens, Allergens, Nutrients, and Chemicals.

Scripps -- Natural Supplements: An Evidence-Based Update.
January 22-25, 2009: San Diego, CA

Rebecca Costello will co-present a workshop titled Dietary Supplement Resources: Answering Questions at the Point of Care on Saturday, January 24. Paul Coates will give a presentation titled The Future of Dietary Supplement Research--Answering Important Questions on Sunday, January 25. ODS will have an exhibit booth at this conference.

American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition
February 1-4, 2009: New Orleans, LA

Mary Frances Picciano will give a presentation titled Folate: Its Role in Health and Disease during Clinical Nutrition Week 2009.

Integrative Healthcare Symposium
February 19-21: New York, NY

Mary Frances Picciano will give a presentation at the Opening Plenary Panel: Vitamin D in Health and Disease.


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ODS Update provides information on news, activities, and resources from the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). ODS is a program office within the Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The mission of ODS is to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements by evaluating scientific information, stimulating and supporting research, disseminating research results, and educating the public to foster an enhanced quality of life and health for the U.S. population.

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To contact the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), go to the "Contact Us" page of the ODS Web site: http://ods.od.nih.gov/Contact_Us.aspx.