Archive for September, 2012

Thinking of Studying Nutritional Therapy?

If you want to understand more about what Nutritional therapy is all about, we recommend that you have a look at the articles published in the categories called “Functional Medicine” and “Personalised Nutrition” in this blogsite.  To get you started this link will give you good idea of how BANT members approach clinical practice: Functional Medicine Teaching Model Presentation

There is huge interest in the area of nutrition and health, including nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics. For those considering a vocational profession in this field, you may find it useful to look at our recommended core textbooks as well, which are an essential foundation for the future of nutrigenetic counselling:

Jones, S., Quinn S., eds.,(2005). Textbook of Functional Medicine. USA: Institute of Functional Medicine

Lord, R.S., Bralley J.A.,(2008). Laboratory Evaluations for Integrative and Functional Medicine. 2nd edn. Duluth, Georgia: Metametrix Institute.  [Table of Errata available from]

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Personalised Nutrition Videos

Selected videos at the cutting edge of science. Genetic diversity reflects evolutionary pressures from environmental changes, principally climate and diet. These drivers explain why populations and individuals vary and why one-size-fits-all dietary guidelines and public health nutrition approaches derive from out-of-date reductionist science. Nutritional therapy is person-centred, recognising individuality and the complex network of environmental factors which influence health status.

Remember to subscribe to the BANT You Tube Channel –

Please watch the videos in the order they appear starting at number 1.

1) Individuality in Caffeine Metabolism – J Craig Venter

J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., is regarded as one of the leading scientists of the 21st century for his numerous invaluable contributions to genomic research. He is Founder, Chairman, and CEO of the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), a not-for-profit, research organization with approximately 300 scientists and staff dedicated to human, microbial, plant, synthetic and environmental genomic research, and the exploration of social and ethical issues in genomics.

Dr. Venter is also Founder and CEO of Synthetic Genomics Inc (SGI), a privately held company dedicated to commercializing genomic-driven solutions to address global needs such as new sources of energy, new food and nutritional products, and next generation vaccines.

Dr. Venter began his formal education after a tour of duty as a Navy Corpsman in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968. After earning both a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and a Ph.D. in Physiology and Pharmacology from the University of California at San Diego, he was appointed professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. In 1984, he moved to the National Institutes of Health campus where he developed Expressed Sequence Tags or ESTs, a revolutionary new strategy for rapid gene discovery. In 1992 Dr. Venter founded The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR, now part of JCVI), a not-for-profit research institute, where in 1995 he and his team decoded the genome of the first free-living organism, the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae, using his new whole genome shotgun technique.

In 1998, Dr. Venter founded Celera Genomics to sequence the human genome using new tools and techniques he and his team developed. This research culminated with the February 2001 publication of the human genome in the journal, Science. He and his team at Celera also sequenced the fruit fly, mouse and rat genomes.

Dr. Venter and his team at JCVI continue to blaze new trails in genomics. They have sequenced and analyzed hundreds of genomes, and have published numerous important papers covering such areas as environmental genomics, the first complete diploid human genome, and the groundbreaking advance in creating the first self- replicating bacterial cell constructed entirely with synthetic DNA.

Dr. Venter is one of the most frequently cited scientists, and the author of more than 250 research articles. He is also the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, public honors, and scientific awards, including the 2008 United States National Medal of Science, the 2002 Gairdner Foundation International Award, the 2001 Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize and the King Faisal International Award for Science. Dr. Venter is a member of numerous prestigious scientific organizations including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Society for Microbiology.

2) Sugar: The Bitter Truth – Robert H Lustig MD

Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Division of Endocrinology; Director, UCSF Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH) Program

 Dr. Lustig is a nationally-recognized authority in the field of neuroendocrinology, with a specific emphasis on the regulation of energy balance by the central nervous system. He is currently investigating the contribution of biochemical, neural, hormonal, and genetic influences in the expression of the current obesity epidemic both in children and adults. He has defined a syndrome of vagally-mediated beta-cell hyperactivity which leads to insulin hypersecretion and obesity, and which is treatable by insulin suppression. This phenomenon may occur in up to 20% of the obese population. He is interested in the hypothalamic signal transduction of insulin and leptin, and how these two systems interact. He is studying the cardiovascular morbidity associated with hyperinsulinemia, and developing methods to evaluate and prevent this phenomenon in children. He is also analyzing the contribution of the autonomic nervous system to insulin secretion and insulin resistance in obese children, and the utility of assessing insulin dynamics in targeting obesity therapy.

Dr. Lustig graduated from MIT, and received his M.D. from Cornell University Medical College. He performed his pediatric residency at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and his clinical fellowship at UCSF. From there, he spent six years as a post-doctoral fellow in neuroendocrinology at The Rockefeller University in New York.

Dr. Lustig has authored over 70 research articles and 35 chapters.  He is the Chairman of the Obesity Task Force of the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society, a member of the Obesity Task force of The Endocrine Society, and on the Steering Committee of the International Endocrine Alliance to Combat Obesity.

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Evolutionary Biology Videos

Selected videos at the cutting edge of science. Genetic diversity reflects evolutionary pressures from environmental changes, principally climate and diet. These drivers explain why populations and individuals vary and why one-size-fits-all dietary guidelines and public health nutrition approaches derive from out-of-date reductionist science. Nutritional therapy is person-centred, recognising individuality and the complex network of environmental factors which influence health status.

Remember to subscribe to the BANT You Tube Channel –

Evolutionary Biology

Evolutionary biology is currently at the leading of science with new research and innovative insights set to profoundly impact medicine today. For an idea about how insights from evolutionary biology can impact us as nutritional therapists in practice, see this free article online called Evolutionary Medicine, it’s scope, interest and potential

Please watch the videos in the order they appear starting at number 1.

1) Inevitable Life – Dr Eric Smith

In this first video presented by BANT in a series covering Evolutionary and Quantum Biology on the BANT Blogsite, we introduce the subject from the beginning with a talk by Dr Eric Smith. Dr Eric Smith received the Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics from the California Institute of Technology in 1987, and a Ph.D. in Physics from The University of Texas at Austin in 1993, with a dissertation on problems in string theory and high-temperature superconductivity. From 1993 to 2000 he worked in physical, nonlinear, and statistical acoustics at the Applied Research Labs: U. T. Austin, and at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. From 2000 he has worked at the Santa Fe Institute on problems of self-organization in thermal, chemical, and biological systems. A focus of his current work is the statistical mechanics of the transition from the geochemistry of the early earth to the first levels of biological organization, with some emphasis on the emergence of the metabolic network.

Many researchers have supposed that the emergence of life hinged on a sequence of improbable events, at the same time as they have taken for granted the ability of life on earth to persist indefinitely and to “freeze in” the consequences of early accidents. Smith argues that there is ample evidence for a different interpretation: the emergence of life was an inevitable outcome of geochemistry on the early earth, and the same forces responsible for emergence have continued to support the persistence of life ever since. Smith sets out the case that metabolism preceded control in biological evolution, and that the citric acid cycle is the key bridge from geochemistry to biology.


2) Primate Evolution and Human Disease – Ajit Varki MD

Ajit Varki received basic training in physiology, medicine, biology, and biochemistry at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, The University of Nebraska, and Washington University in St. Louis.  He also has formal training and certification in internal medicine, hematology, and oncology.  He is currently distinguished professor of medicine and cellular and molecular medicine, and co-director of the Glycobiology Research and Training Center at UCSD.  Dr. Varki is executive editor of the textbook Essentials of Glycobiology.  He is also a co-director for the UCSD Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny and is an affiliate faculty member of the Living Links Center of Emory University.  Dr. Varki is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and the Association of American Physicians.

Dr. Varki is recipient of a MERIT award from the NIH, an American Cancer Society Faculty Research Award, the Karl Meyer Award of the Society for Glycobiology and the International Glycoconjugate Organization (IGO) Award (2007).  He is a member of the Faculty of 1000 and serves on the National Chimpanzee Observatory Working Group; the scientific advisory board of the Huntsman Cancer Institute (University of Utah), and the editorial board of Glycobiology.  He is a specialist advisor to the Human Gene Nomenclature Committee. Significant past appointments include: Associate Dean for Physician-Scientist Training at UCSD (2003-10); co-head, Division of Hematology/Oncology (1987-89): president of the Society for Glycobiology (1996); editor-in-chief of the Journal of Clinical Investigation (1992-97); consulting editor for the Journal of Clinical Investigation (1998-2006), and PLoS Medicine (2004-2008); interim directorship of the UCSD Cancer Center (1996-97); president of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (1998-99); scientific advisor to the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center (University of Georgia); the Yerkes Primate Center (Emory University); member of the National Advisory Committee of PubMed Central (NLM/NIH); and coordinator for the multidisciplinary UCSD Project for Explaining the Origins of Humans (1996-2007).

3) The Year of Darwin – Dr Sean B. Carroll

Sean B. Carroll is an award-winning scientist, author, and educator. He is currently Vice President for Science Education of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the largest private supporter of science education activities in the US, and Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Wisconsin. His research has centered on the genes that control animal body patterns and play major roles in the evolution of animal diversity. Major discoveries from his laboratory have been featured in TIME, US News & World Report, The New York Times, Discover, and Natural History.

Sean is the author of Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species (2009, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), The Making of the Fittest (2006, W.W. Norton) and of Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo (2005, W.W. Norton). He also writes a monthly feature “Remarkable Creatures” for the New York Times Science Times.

Sean is also author of the student text Into The Jungle: Great Adventures in the Search for Evolution (2008, Pearson, Benjamin Cummings), co-author with Jen Grenier and Scott Weatherbee of the textbook From DNA to Diversity: Molecular Genetics and the Evolution of Animal Design (2nd ed, 2005; Blackwell Scientific) and with Anthony Griffiths, Susan Wessler, and John Doebley of the textbook Introduction to Genetic Analysis (10e, 2011, W.H. Freeman and Co.). He is also the author or co-author of more than 100 scientific papers.

Sean is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has received the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science, National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, the Shaw Scientist Award of the Milwaukee Foundation, the Stephen Jay Gould Prize for promoting the public understanding of evolution, the Viktor Hamburger Outstanding Educator Prize, the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Biology Teachers, and numerous honorary lectureships. Sean was named one of America’s most promising leaders under 40 by TIME Magazine in 1994.

He earned his B.A. in Biology at Washington University in St. Louis, his Ph.D. in Immunology at Tufts Medical School, and carried out his postdoctoral research with Dr. Matthew Scott at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He received an honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Minnesota in 2009.

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Systems Biology Videos

Selected videos at the cutting edge of science. Genetic diversity reflects evolutionary pressures from environmental changes, principally climate and diet. These drivers explain why populations and individuals vary and why one-size-fits-all dietary guidelines and public health nutrition approaches derive from out-of-date reductionist science. Nutritional therapy is person-centred, recognising individuality and the complex network of environmental factors which influence health status.

Remember to subscribe to the BANT You Tube Channel –

Systems Biology and Human Health

Despite clear scientific support for the fact that human biology shares many of the characteristics of complex adaptive systems  which requires a systems biology approach for full understanding, the orthodox linear medical model which sees the body as a machine with simple effects localised to a single cause persists strongly in conventional medical approaches to healthcare. See the paper on “Non-linear dynamics for clinicians: chaos theory, fractals, and complexity at the bedside” in the Lancet here: and another example of an article in Nature on systems biology of the cell here:

Complex adaptive systems are known to be highly flexible and are constantly poised on the edge of being a coherent organized system and collapsing into what appears like chaos. They thrive in their instability allowing them to adapt at the edge of chaos. They are non-linear and attempts to control them can be destructive. They cannot be broken down into separate, more simple parts and small stimuli can lead to disproportionately large changes in the entire system.

A good example of a such as system is the human autonomic nervous system as measured by heart rate variability. It is well understood that when a human heart beats healthily, it follows a chaotic pattern. When it beats too uniformly, it is a sign of chronic stress and ill health. See a full paper on heart rate variability, standards of measurement, physiological interpretation, and clinical use by the  Task Force of the European Society of Cardiology and the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology here: and more discussion in Scientific American here:  Chaos and fractals in human physiology:

Another example is the human immune system and especially how it interacts with the complex adaptive system known as the gut microflora “ecosystem.” Scientists are now starting to use quantitative computing methods based on non-linear models of dynamic complexity theory to predict the changes resulting from stimuli on this internal ecosystem. See “The emerging medical ecology of the human gut microbiome in Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 2012 here:

Please watch the videos in the order they appear starting at number 1.

1) TEDMED 2012 – Albert-László Barabási

Albert-László Barabási is a Distinguished University Professor at Northeastern University, where he directs the Center for Complex Network Research, and holds appointments in the Departments of Physics, Computer Science and Biology, as well as in the Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women Hospital, and is a member of the Center for Cancer Systems Biology at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. A Hungarian born native of Transylvania, Romania, he received his Masters in Theoretical Physics at the Eötvös University in Budapest, Hungary and was awarded a Ph.D. three years later at Boston University. After a year at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, he joined Notre Dame as an Assistant Professor, and in 2001 was promoted to the Professor and the Emil T. Hofman Chair. Barabási latest book is “Bursts: The Hidden Pattern Behind Everything We Do” (Dutton, 2010) available in five languages. He has also authored “Linked: The New Science of Networks” (Perseus, 2002), currently available in eleven languages, is co-author of “Fractal Concepts in Surface Growth” (Cambridge, 1995), and the co-editor of “The Structure and Dynamics of Networks” (Princeton, 2005). His work lead to the discovery of scale-free networks in 1999, and proposed the Barabasi-Albert model to explain their widespread emergence in natural, technological and social systems, from the cellular telephone to the WWW or online communities. His work on complex networks have been widely featured in the media, including the cover of Nature, Science News and many other journals, and written about in Science, Science News, New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, American Scientist, Discover, Business Week, Die Zeit, El Pais, Le Monde, London’s Daily Telegraph, National Geographic, The Chronicle of Higher Education, New Scientist, and La Republica, among others. He has been interviewed by BBC Radio, National Public Radio, CBS and ABC News, CNN, NBC, and many other media outlets.

2) Emergence – Complexity from Simplicity, Order from Chaos (1 of 2)

3) Emergence – Complexity from Simplicity, Order from Chaos (2 of 2)

4) Modeling Complex Adaptive Systems – John Holland PhD

John H. Holland is professor of computer science and engineering and professor of psychology at the University of Michigan; he is also external professor and member of the executive committee of the board of trustees at the Santa Fe Institute. Professor Holland was made a MacArthur fellow in 1992 and is a fellow of the World Economic Forum. He serves on the Advisory Board on Complexity at the McDonnell Foundation. Professor Holland has been interested for more than 40 years in what are now called complex adaptive systems (CAS). He formulated genetic algorithms, classifier systems, and the Echo models as tools for studying the dynamics of such systems. His books Hidden Order (1995) and Emergence (1998) summarize many of his thoughts about complex adaptive systems. Research Interests include the study of cognitive processes and complex adaptive systems in general, using mathematical models and computer simulation.


5) 2011 Allen Institute of Brain Science Symposium – Dr Eric Schadt

Chairman, Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences; Director, Institute of Genomics and Multiscale Biology; Jean C. and James W. Crystal Professor of Genomics, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City.

Dr. Eric Schadt, a visionary in the use of computational biology in genomics, joined the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in August 2011. His focus is on generating and integrating large-scale, high-dimension molecular, cellular, and clinical data to build more predictive disease models that will improve the ability to diagnosis and treat diseases.

His efforts are motivated by the genomics and systems biology research he led as Executive Scientific Director of Genetics at Rosetta Inpharmatics, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., to elucidate common human diseases and drug response using novel computational approaches applied to genetic and molecular profiling data. His research helped revolutionize a field in statistical genetics (the genetics of gene expression), has energized the systems biology field, and has led to a number of discoveries relating to the causes of common human diseases. When Dr. Schadt left Merck in 2009, more than 50% of all the company’s new drug discovery programs in the metabolic space were derived from his work.

Since June 2009, Dr. Schadt has served as Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of Pacific Biosciences, overseeing the firm’s scientific strategy including creating the vision for next-generation sequencing applications of the company’s technology. He currently retains that position, and Mount Sinai will use technology platforms from Pacific Biosciences to query biological data.

Dr. Schadt is a founding member of Sage Bionetworks, an open access genomics initiative designed to build and support databases and an accessible platform for creating innovative, dynamic disease models.

Dr. Schadt has co-authored numerous studies on gene expression and analysis published in peer-reviewed medical journals including Nature, Nature Genetics and The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

Recently appointed Fellow to the Institute of Systems and Synthetic Biology, Imperial College London, Dr. Schadt received a Ph.D. in bio-mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) (requiring Ph.D. candidacy in molecular biology and mathematics); an M.A. in pure mathematics from the University of California, Davis (UCD); and a B.S. in applied mathematics/computer science from California Polytechnic State University.

6) Mitochondrial Paradigm for Degenerative Diseases, Aging and Cancer Research on Aging – Dr Douglas Wallace

Dr. Douglas Wallace is the Director of the Center for Molecular & Mitochondrial Medicine and Genetics, University of California at Irvine. He is one of the nation’s leading genetics researchers, helping to discover how defects in inherited genes contribute to neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Through his research, Wallace has shown that defects in mitochondrial genes are major contributors to degenerative diseases, cancer and aging. A recent study of his, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows a link between mtDNA mutations and prostate cancer. He’s using that link now to test non-toxic drugs to kill prostate cancer in mice.

7) Scaling Laws in Biology and Other Complex Systems – Geoffrey H West PhD

Science Board, Science Steering Committee Distinguished Professor and Past President, Santa Fe Institute. Geoffrey West is a theoretical physicist whose primary interests have been in fundamental questions in physics, especially those concerning the elementary particles, their interactions and cosmological implications. West served as SFI President from July 2005 through July 2009. Prior to joining the Santa Fe Institute as a Distinguished Professor in 2003, he was the leader, and founder, of the high energy physics group at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he is one of only approximately ten Senior Fellows.

His long-term fascination in general scaling phenomena evolved into a highly productive collaboration on the origin of universal scaling laws that pervade biology from the molecular genomic scale up through mitochondria and cells to whole organisms and ecosystems. This led to the development of realistic quantitative models for the structural and functional design of organisms based on underlying universal principles. This work, begun at the Institute, has received much attention in both the scientific and popular press, and provides a framework for quantitative understanding of problems ranging from fundamental issues in biology (such as cell size, growth, metabolic rate, DNA nucleotide substitution rates, and the structure and dynamics of ecosystems) to questions at the forefront of medical research (such as aging, sleep, and cancer). Among his current interests is the extension of these ideas to understand quantitatively the structure and dynamics of social organizations, such as cities and corporations, including the relationships between economies of scale, growth, innovation and wealth creation and their implications for long-term survivability and sustainability.

He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and was one of their Centenary Speakers in 2003. He has been a lecturer in many popular and distinguished scientist series worldwide, as well as at the World Economic Forum. Among recent honors he was a co-receiver of the Mercer Award from the Ecological Society of America, the Weldon Memorial Prize (2005), Oxford University and the Glenn Award for research on Aging. In 2006 he was named one of Time magazine’s”100 Most Influential People in the World” and his work selected as one of the breakthrough ideas of 2007 by the Harvard Business Review. He is the author of several books, a visiting Professor of Mathematics at Imperial College, London, and an Associate Fellow of the Said Business School at Oxford University.

West received his BA from Cambridge University in 1961 and his doctorate from Stanford University in 1966, where he returned in 1970 to become a member of the faculty. West is married to Jacqueline West, a psychologist in private practice; they have two children: Joshua, a geologist at Oxford University and an Olympic silver-medalist, and Devorah, a political scientist at the Brookings Institute.

8) Systems Approaches to Understanding Circadian Transcriptional Networks – Steven A. Kay PhD

Dr. Steve Kay is currently the Dean of the Division of Biological Sciences and holds the Richard C. Atkinson Chair in the Biological Sciences at the University of California, San Diego, and Distinguished Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology.  Previously, he was Chairman, Department of Biochemistry, Professor of Cell Biology and Director of the Institute for Childhood and Neglected Diseases at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in La Jolla where he was a faculty member from 1996 to 2007.  His academic research concerns the molecular genetic basis of circadian rhythms in plants, animals and humans. He was also recently the Director of Discovery Research at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF), where he built a large Department of applying human genome science to biomedical research and drug discovery. Dr. Kay was also the founder, former Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Phenomix Corporation, a drug discovery and development company based in San Diego.

9) System Approaches to Biology and Medicine and the emergence of proactive P4 medicine – Dr Lee Hood 

Leroy Hood, MD, PhD, President and co-founder of the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, is a pioneer in systems approaches to biology and medicine. Dr. Hood’s research has focused on the study of molecular immunology, biotechnology and genomics. His professional career began at Caltech, where he and his colleagues developed the DNA sequencer and synthesizer and the protein synthesizer and sequencer–four instruments that paved the way for the successful mapping of the human genome and lead to his receiving this year’s prestigious Russ Prize, awarded by the Academy of Engineering. A pillar in the biotechnology field, Dr. Hood has played a role in founding more than fourteen biotechnology companies, including Amgen, Applied Biosystems, Darwin, The Accelerator and Integrated Diagnostics. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine, one of only 10 people in the world to be elected to all three academies. In addition to having published more than 700 peer reviewed articles, he has coauthored textbooks in biochemistry, immunology, molecular biology and genetics, as well as a popular book on the human genome project, The Code of Codes. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Lasker Award, the Kyoto Prize and the Heinz Award in Technology. Dr. Hood has also received 17 honorary degrees from prestigious universities in the US and other countries.

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