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ODS Update - January 2009

ODS Update

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

January 2009

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News You Can Use

Request for Applications (RFA) Now Available for the Botanical Research Centers (BRC) Program
ODS and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) plan to continue the BRC Program for another 5-year period. ODS and NCCAM invite proposals from both new applicants and currently funded centers. The application process involves two stages. All applicants are required to submit pre-applications under PAR-09-091 for peer review. Applicants submitting the most meritorious pre-application proposals will be invited to apply for center funding under RFA-OD-09-001. The purpose of the program is to promote collaborative interdisciplinary study of botanicals, particularly those found as ingredients in dietary supplements. Applicants are expected to propose research with high potential for being translated into practical benefits for human health.

Other New Funding Opportunities for Research
ODS collaborates on funding initiatives across NIH and with other agencies through mechanisms such as RFAs and Program Announcements (PAs). In the last 2 months, ODS has signed onto the following PAs, all of which can be found at

  • Mentored patient-oriented research career development award (K23 issued by the NIH) PA-09-043.
  • Mentored Clinical Scientist research career development award (K08 issued by the NIH) PA-09-042.
  • Academic career award (K07 issued by the NIH) PA-09-041.
  • Mentored research scientist development award (K01 issued by the NIH) PA-09-040.
  • Mentored quantitative research development award (K25 issued by the NIH) PA-09-039.
  • Independent scientist award (K02 issued by the NIH) PA-09-038.
  • Midcareer investigator award in patient-oriented research (K24 issued by the NIH) PA-08-151.
  • Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for individual predoctoral fellows in PharmD/PhD programs (F31 issued by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences) PA-09-029.

ODS-Funded Study Finds Ginkgo Ineffective in Reducing Development of Dementia in the Elderly
Newspapers across the country reported the results of the largest clinical trial ever to evaluate the effects of the herbal supplement ginkgo biloba on the occurrence of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. The Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory (GEM) study was cofunded by five components of NIH, including ODS. Ginkgo is commonly used to enhance memory and cognition in adults.

In the study, more than 3,000 participants aged 75 or older with normal cognition or mild cognitive impairment were randomly assigned to receive twice-daily doses of either 120 mg of a standardized extract of ginkgo or a placebo. After follow-up for an average of 6 years, ginkgo had no overall effect in reducing the chances of developing any type of dementia or Alzheimer's disease compared with placebo. Supplementation with ginkgo produced no significant adverse effects (such as an increased bleeding risk) in the subjects who took it.

The GEM study was published in the November 19, 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (PubMed citation: JAMA. 2008 Nov 19; 300(19):2253-62). An NIH news release is available at In addition, NCCAM provides study details and results in a question-and-answer format at

ODS Programs and Activities

ODS Welcomes Input to its Strategic Planning for 2010-2014 via Webinar
The ODS Strategic Planning process is in full swing, with the intent of having final goals by year's end that will guide ODS programs and activities for the years 2010-2014. Suggestions and comments are being accepted through March 31. The ODS Strategic Planning Web site ( provides information and resources, and describes how to send us your comments.

One way to contribute to ODS strategic planning is to participate in one or more Webinars scheduled in January and February 2009. Using an Internet-connected computer and telephone, you have an opportunity to view short presentations, make oral comments, and hear the comments of other "virtual" participants. Four Webinars are scheduled, each with a specific focus:

  • Research Support: Thursday, January 29, 2009, 1-2 pm EST.
  • Research Tools: Tuesday, February 3, 2009, 2-3 pm EST.
  • Science Policy: Wednesday, February 11, 2009, 1-2 pm EST.
  • Communication: Thursday, February 19, 2009, 2-3 pm EST.

Further details about the topics of the Webinars and specific information on how to participate can be found at Advanced registration for each Webinar is encouraged but not required to participate.

Dietary Supplement Element Methodology Workshop, March 23-24, 2009
The ODS Analytical Methods and Reference Materials Program will hold its Dietary Supplement Element Methodology Workshop on March 23-24, 2009 at the Marriott Gaithersburg Washingtonian Center Hotel in Gaithersburg, MD. This workshop will evaluate the state of analytical methods for minerals (both nutrient and nonnutrient, including toxic elements) in dietary supplement products. It will focus on identifying gaps in methodology, with a view toward designing a research program to fill these gaps. ODS is seeking input from scientists who develop and use analytical methods to determine the elemental content of dietary supplements. Seating at this workshop is limited. Visit the ODS Web site ( for registration information.

ODS to Host 3rd Annual Dietary Supplement Research Practicum (DSRP)
The application process is now open for the 3rd Annual DSRP to be held June 1-5 on the main NIH campus. This 5-day intensive educational opportunity will provide a thorough overview and grounding on issues, concepts, unknowns, and controversies about dietary supplements and supplement ingredients. It is open to academic faculty in the health sciences and their doctoral or postdoctoral students/fellows with a serious interest in the subject. In addition to presentations and discussions at the NIH, participants will spend a day in Washington, DC to meet with representatives of Congress and various stakeholder groups (the dietary supplement industry, consumer advocacy groups, and media) who study, advocate, regulate, or educate about dietary supplements.

Applications will be accepted until March 31. Attendance will be limited to approximately 80 individuals. Students may also apply for travel awards. The practicum Web site ( provides details about the agenda, application process, selection criteria, and the availability of travel awards.

ODS Staff News

Recent ODS Staff Publications

Ann C. Looker, Christine M. Pfeiffer, David A. Lacher, Rosemary L. Schleicher, Mary Frances Picciano, and Elizabeth A. Yetley. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D status of the US population: 1988-1994 compared with 2000-2004. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 88(6):1519-1527, December 2008.

ODS Upcoming Staff Presentations and Exhibits
(January - March 2009)

Scripps — Natural Supplements: An Evidence-Based Update
January 22-25, 2009: Paradise Point Resort, 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 present a session titled The Future of Dietary Supplement Research — Answering Important Questions on Sunday, January 25. ODS will also 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.

Southern Society for Clinical Investigation
February 12-14, 2009: New Orleans, LA

Rebecca Costello will give a presentation titled Vitamin D and Health in the 21st Century: An Update.

Natural Health Products Research Society "Gateway to Wellness"
February 18-21, 2009: Vancouver, British Columbia

Joseph Betz will give a presentation titled Analytical Methods and Challenges in Toxicology/Safety Monitoring Programs and will present an ODS poster, National Institutes of Health, Dietary Supplement Methods and Reference Materials Program, Accomplishments and Future Directions. ODS will also have an exhibit booth at this conference.

Integrative Healthcare Symposium
February 19-21, 2009: New York, NY

Mary Frances Picciano will give an invited talk titled Vitamin D in Health and Disease on February 19.

Nutrition and Cancer Prevention Research Practicum
March 16-20, 2009: Rockville, MD

ODS staff will speak at this practicum sponsored by the Nutritional Science Research Group, Division of Cancer Prevention, NCI, and the Department of Nutrition, NIH Clinical Center. Dr. Picciano will give a presentation titled Folate and Cancer Prevention on March 16. Dr. Dwyer will give a talk on Flavonoids on March 16. Dr. Coates will give a presentation titled The Role of Evidence-Based Reviews for Nutrition Topics: The ODS Experience on March 20.

Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital Medical Center
March 27, 2009: Plattsburgh, NY

Mary Frances Picciano will deliver Grand Rounds on Dietary Supplement Use in the United States.

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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ODS Update is not copyrighted and is in the public domain. If you copy or distribute its content, please credit the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements and include the publication title and date. Do not use our information in any way that suggests we endorse any commercial product or service.

To contact the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), go to the "Contact Us" page of the ODS Web site: