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Kantar Health Promotes Jacombs to Managing Director, APMEA

Posted: September 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm


NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire -09/03/12)- Kantar Health, a leading healthcare-focused global consultancy and marketing insights company, has promoted Graeme Jacombs to Managing Director of the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA) region. He was previously Deputy Managing Director, APMEA.

In his new role, Mr. Jacombs will be responsible for Kantar Health's regional strategy, local business planning and client support in Asia, Australia/New Zealand, India, the Middle East and Africa. He is well-prepared for this new role, having served Kantar Health and its legacy companies in a variety of roles across this region since 1993.

"I am so pleased to appoint Graeme as Managing Director, APMEA. He has been instrumental in building Kantar Health in this dynamic region," says Lynnette Cooke, Kantar Health Global CEO. "Graeme's 20 years of experience in Asia Pacific and across a wealth of therapeutic areas provide him with the unique ability to act as trusted adviser to clients. He has proven experience when it comes to providing clients with global reach and strong local insight."

"My time in this region has allowed me to gain insights into its unique issues and the challenges that pharma companies face," Mr. Jacombs says. "I look forward to further driving Kantar Health's commitment to APMEA, ensuring that we continue to provide the local understanding as well as global expertise to maximize our clients' growth in this ever-changing region."

About Kantar Health (www.kantarhealth.com) Kantar Health is a global, evidence-based decision support partner to the world's leading pharmaceutical, biotech, device and diagnostic companies. Our 700+ staff act as catalysts, working closely with customers to drive distinctive decision-making that helps them prioritize product development and portfolios, differentiate their brands and ensure product profitability after launch. We are unique in that we bring together clinical, medical and methodological expertise, commercial/marketing know-how and proprietary data. It is this rare combination, together with our unparalleled stakeholder reach, that enables us to mobilize incisive, imaginative and timely ROI-driven solutions, empowering clients to deliver better healthcare options to their customers.

With offices in over 40 countries, we excel at solving technically or logistically challenging projects around the world and across the product lifecycle, combining on-the-ground know-how and global and national proprietary data to quickly identify value drivers. As part of WPP, we can also incorporate highly innovative thinking from outside the industry into our solutions.

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Kantar Health Promotes Jacombs to Managing Director, APMEA

Health care reform encouraging hospital mergers

Posted: at 4:15 am


Lower Bucks Hospitals potential sale to Prime Healthcare is unlikely to be the last hospital deal consumers see.

The financial demands of health care reform and the ongoing transformation of the industry are pushing providers to work more closely together and, in some cases, seek out partners with which to merge, experts said.

Hospitals are facing a lot of changes as a result of various health care reforms, said Curt Schroder, a former state legislator whos now regional executive of the Delaware Valley Healthcare Council. Theyre being subjected to more fixed payment schedules, as opposed to being paid by the service. There are increased incentives for quality and efficiency and patient satisfaction goals, and there are penalties for not meeting those goals. Hospitals that might have had difficulties are finding it increasingly attractive to find a partner with which to merge.

Prime Healthcare announced Tuesday that it had agreed to buy Lower Bucks, the 156-bed acute care hospital in Bristol Township. The move comes less than a year after Lower Bucks emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Financial terms werent disclosed, but Prime Healthcare said it would invest up to $10 million on capital improvements.

Prime Healthcare spokesman Edward Barrera said health care reform is one of several factors driving the California companys expansion plans. He declined to specifically discuss the Lower Bucks Hospital deal, since it has yet to be approved.

The Affordable Healthcare Act favors consolidation so that hospital markets can take advantage of its benefits and thats why this is happening across the country, Barrera said in an email. While that might be one of the reasons that Prime Healthcare wants to acquire Lower Bucks Hospital, Primes motto is saving hospitals, saving jobs and saving lives.

Prime Healthcare is known for taking over financially troubled hospitals, Barrera said. Lower Bucks would be the companys second hospital in Pennsylvania; it acquired Roxborough Memorial in February.

The health care law encourages the creation of accountable care organizations, or ACOs, models in which doctors and hospitals are offered financial incentives to provide quality care to Medicare patients while keeping costs low.

To implement ACOs, you need to be able to offer continuum of care and services in the most cost-effective way, Barrera said. You should be able to implement services from physician aspect, acute care, chronic care, long-term care and home health. Single community hospitals will have difficulty accomplishing this integration of services and may not even survive. But in a larger health system, more of these economies of scale can be accomplished through consolidation.

Health care economist Adam C. Powell said similar mergers are happening across the country, in large part because of health care reform. Earlier this month, Chester County Hospital said it would look for a larger, more financially secure partner in order to grow.

Originally posted here:
Health care reform encouraging hospital mergers

Holistic Healing

Posted: at 4:14 am


Gloria Hernandez swears by it.

So do Cristina Jimenez, and Nancy and Maung Paing.

These people all patients at Integrated Holistic Medicine (www.ihmhealing.com) in Boca Raton are just a small sampling of the increasing number of South Floridians turning to some form of alternative treatment protocols, such as acupuncture, reflexology, massage, chiropractic, herbal remedies and aromatherapy.

In fact, according to studies and surveys conducted by the National Institutes of Health, more than one-third of all Americans are now turning to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) before seeking traditional Western medical health care.

Many of the people we see have already been to doctors who simply prescribed painkillers to relieve their pain rather than getting to the root of whats causing it, explains Carlos Restrepo, 31, who co-owns IHM with Su Sandy Aung.

What holistic practitioners hold most sacred is the belief in the interconnectedness of the entire body that is, that ones physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual states not only relate to one another, but actually influence each other.

Sure, everyone knows the old the-leg-bones-connected-to-the-hip-bone way of thinking.

But the holistic healer takes that approach a step further. He or she surmises that physical pain can manifest for myriad reasons many of which have nothing to do with the symptomatic body part(s).

The body has its own intelligence, says Laura Norman, a world-renowned reflexologist who treats clients in her Delray Beach dojo (lauranorman.com). For instance, you might experience back pain because you feel as if youre carrying around the weight of the world on your shoulders. Or maybe its because you let people walk all over you.

Therefore, to most effectively treat their clientele, holistic practitioners usually cultivate more than just the often-superficial doctor-patient relationship.

See more here:
Holistic Healing

Fight Aging! Newsletter, September 3rd 2012

Posted: September 2, 2012 at 3:52 pm


FIGHT AGING! NEWSLETTER
September 3rd 2012

The Fight Aging! Newsletter is a weekly email containing news, opinions, and happenings for people interested in aging science and engineered longevity: making use of diet, lifestyle choices, technology, and proven medical advances to live healthy, longer lives. This newsletter is published under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. In short, this means that you are encouraged to republish and rewrite it in any way you see fit, the only requirements being that you provide attribution and a link to Fight Aging!

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CONTENT

- A Perspective on Progress in Longevity Science
- What's Really Delaying the Defeat of Aging?
- Absent Optimism
- Everyone Has a Plan to Save Medicare
- Discussion
- Latest Headlines from Fight Aging!
    - SIRT6 Overexpression Reverses DNA Repair Decline in Aging Mice
    - A Good Lifestyle Makes a Difference Even Late in Life
    - Impact of Mid-Life Fitness on Later Risk of Age-Related Disease
    - No Extension of Average Lifespan in Primate Study of Calorie Restriction
    - A View of Diet and Aging
    - Work on Blocking Damage in Brain Injury
    - More on DNA Methylation and Human Longevity
    - Cytomegalovirus and Type 2 Diabetes Risk
    - How Long Do You Want to Live?
    - Wiring Up Engineered Tissue

A PERSPECTIVE ON PROGRESS IN LONGEVITY SCIENCE

Here is an overview of some of what I see when looking out on the world of research and development relating to engineered longevity, spurred by someone who asked whether it was plausible for aging to be defeated by 2029:

http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2012/08/an-outline-of-progress-in-longevity-science.php

"The bottom line is that the research community and state of the field today is very different from that of even a mere ten years ago. This is a time of rapid change and progress: far more is known and far more impressive feats of medicine can be performed in the lab and the clinic. There is every reason to believe that ten years from now we'll be able to say the same thing. Costs in biotechnology and life science research are falling rapidly, and with that trend more research can be accomplished in each new year.

"That said, however, the only way that we'll see significant inroads into the defeat of aging by 2029 is for the SENS Foundation and its attendant research community to undergo the same sort of growth over the next decade as has been exhibited in recent years by regenerative medicine, calorie restriction research, or study of the genetics of longevity. A growth to billions in funding and thousands of researchers, in other words. It will require at least that and a decade of time in order to have a 50/50 shot at reversing aging in old mice in the lab - which is to say something that can make them live at least twice as long as they otherwise would have done.

"Of all the items covered in this post, only SENS provides a path towards achieving this end. Even regenerative medicine and complete control over stem cells can't offer the possibility of reversing aging in and of itself - it is only the way to reverse one component of aging, the decline of tissue maintenance and frailty that results from stem cells shutting down. You will still get nailed by your own mitochondria and the build up of metabolic byproducts even if your stem cells are perfectly restored.

"[So], no, there is no plausible road to the defeat of aging by 2029. But there is a plausible road to the first laboratory demonstrations of real, meaningful, but partial age reversal by then, ways to actually repair the root biological causes of aging rather than just slow it down. Whether that happens or not depends absolutely on funding - there are more than enough scientists and research groups out there who would work on the SENS vision for rejuvenation biotechnology if given a budget, but as of yet not enough funding sources to make it a reality."

WHAT'S REALLY DELAYING THE DEFEAT OF AGING?

Aubrey de Grey of the SENS Foundation answers this question in an open access editorial from the Rejuvenation Research journal:

http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2012/08/whats-really-delaying-the-defeat-of-aging.php

"In the mid-1990s, when I decided to switch from computer science to gerontology, I recognized that the creation of a credible assault on aging would require solving three basic problems: (1) Creating a credible plan; (2) getting the people best placed to implement it to be interested in doing so; and (3) giving them the financial resources to get on with the job.

"I broke the back of the first problem in mid-2000, when I realized that regenerative medicine - repairing the accumulating damage of aging - will probably be far simpler and easier to implement than the alternative followed by most biogerontologists, namely slowing the creation of that damage. By that time, I had also done most of the heavy lifting of item 2 (as I continued to do thereafter), by connecting with leading researchers worldwide, mostly face to face at conferences, and improving their understanding of how their expertise could be productively applied to aging. By way of illustration, quite a few of the most prestigious such people are named on the front cover of this journal as associate editors, and they accepted such a position for that reason. But what about item 3?

"Unfortunately, I cannot tell so positive a story with respect to financial resources. Nearly a decade ago, I began to make public predictions of how soon we would achieve success in our crusade. I did so, as I still do, in the manner that (for better or worse) preoccupies the general public, namely in terms of longevity, but I have always been careful to incorporate two key caveats: (1) The level of uncertainty of the time frames, even if only scientific uncertainty is considered, and (2) the reliance of such estimates on adequate funding.

"The first of these caveats is often elided, but it is simple: I estimate that we have a 50% chance of achieving the milestone of "robust human rejuvenation" (essentially, the rejuvenation of 60 year olds comprehensively enough that they won't be biologically 60 again until they're chronologically 90) within 25 years, but I also estimate that we have at least a 10% chance of not getting there in 100 years. But...that is all subject to the second caveat, namely funding.

"Tragically, the level of funding that has been forthcoming during the past decade is only a few percent (at most) of what is necessary. The rate of progress in research to defeat aging has been quite amazing in view of that, but nonetheless, I estimate that it has been only about one-third of what could have been achieved with 10-20 times more money."

ABSENT OPTIMISM

Our culture is far too short-sighted, focused on what is, and pessimistic, and that harms the prospects for progress:

http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2012/08/absent-optimism.php

"For a society in the midst of accelerating, rapid, and evident technological progress, public discussion and attitudes show a surprising lack of optimism for the future. Optimism of course exists, but nowhere near as widely as it should. It seems self-evident at this point that a golden era lies ahead in which we defeat disease and aging, colonize the solar system, and expand the limits of what it means to be human. We and our descendants will discard pain and suffering along the way, just as we have already discarded so much of the pain and suffering that our ancestors bore. ... The upward ramp of the necessary underlying technology is within our grasp. But you wouldn't think this from listening to the public. Much of the world seems convinced that nothing but collapse and catastrophe lies ahead: their view of the future is the ever-mistaken Malthusian collection of beliefs revolving around static resources that are exhausted. They fail to see the dynamism of resource generation and progress that proved past Mathusians just as wrong as the present crop."

EVERYONE HAS A PLAN TO SAVE MEDICARE

There are any number of people out there putting forward their proposals:

http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2012/08/everyone-has-a-plan-to-save-medicare.php

"Having a plan to save Medicare is somewhat like wearing a tie or cufflinks, in that it is somewhat de reigueur in some parts of society - but ultimately a cultural signal of belonging, of little value otherwise. The economic future of the US is somewhat grim; the decline of an empire is inevitable as its increasingly unaccountable elite class debauch the currency, centralize power, and regulate all aspects of a citizen's life. They tax and waste ever more of the flow of resources whilst destroying the freedom and competition needed for the creation of those resources - in much the same way as a cancer is parasitic to its host but ultimately destroys both host and itself. This is an inexorable progression of society, built upon the foundation of human nature and the individual actions and interactions of millions of people. It has happened over and again and is just about as likely as the tide to be turned aside.

"So having a plan to save Medicare is rather like having a plan to save a part of your cancer. That portion in the lower left, perhaps. Medicare is but one part of the network of regulation, perverse incentives, and regulatory capture that causes medicine in the US to be ever more expensive, wasteful, and poor in quality. It's large enough to be considered in the context of the more general economic decline across the board, which occurs for roughly the same set of reasons, and is just as hard to turn back. Medicine is in a more advanced state of socialist decrepitude than most other US industries, but the same process operates throughout society.

"From there let me segue into a discussion of responses to shortage. Regulation inevitably creates shortage and rationing: we see this in the provision of medicine in countries like Canada and the UK, where regulators set up waiting systems or simply forbid treatment, especially to the old. Much of the public discussion that results from this state of affairs looks at what to do about the shortages - though of course without a great deal of reflection on how they came to exist in the first place, sad to say. There are two broad lines of thinking here: firstly, use less of whatever is rationed; secondly try to create more of whatever is in short supply.

"One of the defining and frankly rather sorry aspects of our age is that public debates veer towards cutting back on use far more often than towards creating abundance. See the bulk of the environmentalist or other Malthusian movements for example - they have little to say about building more of whatever it is they think is in short supply.

"When it comes to Medicare, and given that very few people are calling to get rid of the whole system and let freedom and free markets rule the day, the two sides of the coin look much like (a) a call for increased rationing of services to ensure that people use less in the way of medicine, and (b) a call for ways to create greater health such that people use less in the way of medicine. There are of course many different approaches to either of these paths, but both ultimately sidestep the real issue, the real cause of the problem - and this again is absolutely characteristic of debate over societal organization and politics in our age."

DISCUSSION

The highlights and headlines from the past week follow below. Remember - if you like this newsletter, the chances are that your friends will find it useful too. Forward it on, or post a copy to your favorite online communities. Encourage the people you know to pitch in and make a difference to the future of health and longevity!

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LATEST HEADLINES FROM FIGHT AGING!

SIRT6 OVEREXPRESSION REVERSES DNA REPAIR DECLINE IN AGING MICE
Friday, August 31, 2012
http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2012/08/sirt6-overexpression-reverses-dna-repair-decline-in-aging-mice.php
This interesting research result adds a little more to the debate over whether nuclear DNA damage is relevant to aging beyond its effects on cancer risk - though I think it's still a bit early to point to differences in DNA repair as the definitive cause of SIRT6-related longevity in mice: researchers "found that the decline in a cell's ability to repair DNA during aging coincided with a global reduction in the levels of proteins involved in the repair process. [They] tried to reverse the age-related decline in DNA repair efficiency by restoring the proteins to their original levels and found only one protein, SIRT6, did the trick. ... [Other research results have shown] that overexpressing the SIRT6 protein extended the lifespans of mice. Our research looked at DNA repair and found a reason for the increased longevity, and that is SIRT6's role in promoting more efficient DNA repair. ... The next step [is] to study the factors that regulate SIRT6, in an effort to learn more about the early stages of the DNA repair process. ... multiple groups are trying to develop drugs that activate SIRT6, and [researchers hope] that this research will one day lead to therapies that help extend a person's lifespan and treat cancer. ... SIRT6 plays a critical role in repairing the most dangerous type of DNA damage: double-strand breaks. DNA is a two-stranded molecule, and breaks can occur to one strand of the molecule or to both. In the case of single-strand breaks, the unbroken strand guides the repair process and the DNA molecule is typically restored to its original state. However, double-strand breaks, in which both strands are severed, are particularly hazardous because they are more difficult to repair and can lead to a rearrangement of the cell's genetic material."

A GOOD LIFESTYLE MAKES A DIFFERENCE EVEN LATE IN LIFE
Friday, August 31, 2012
http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2012/08/a-good-lifestyle-makes-a-difference-even-late-in-life.php
Keeping up on the health basics makes a difference even in the last years of life: "It is well known that lifestyle factors, like being overweight, smoking and heavy drinking, predict death among elderly people. But is it uncertain whether these associations are applicable to people aged 75 years or more. So a team of researchers based in Sweden measured the differences in survival among adults aged 75 and older based on modifiable factors such as lifestyle behaviours, leisure activities, and social networks. The study involved just over 1,800 individuals who were followed for 18 years (1987-2005). Data on age, sex, occupation, education, lifestyle behaviours, social network and leisure activities were recorded. During the follow-up period 92% of participants died. Half of the participants lived longer than 90 years. Survivors were more likely to be women, be highly educated, have healthy lifestyle behaviours, have a better social network, and participate in more leisure activities than non-survivors. The results show that smokers died one year earlier than non-smokers. Former smokers had a similar pattern of survival to never smokers, suggesting that quitting smoking in middle age reduces the effect on mortality. Of the leisure activities, physical activity was most strongly associated with survival. The average age at death of participants who regularly swam, walked or did gymnastics was two years greater than those who did not. Overall, the average survival of people with a low risk profile (healthy lifestyle behaviours, participation in at least one leisure activity, and a rich or moderate social network) was 5.4 years longer than those with a high risk profile (unhealthy lifestyle behaviours, no participation in leisure activities, and a limited or poor social network). Even among those aged 85 years or older and people with chronic conditions, the average age at death was four years higher for those with a low risk profile compared with those with a high risk profile. In summary, the associations between leisure activity, not smoking, and increased survival still existed in those aged 75 years or more, with women's lives prolonged by five years and men's by six years, say the authors. These associations, although attenuated, were still present among people aged 85 or more and in those with chronic conditions."

IMPACT OF MID-LIFE FITNESS ON LATER RISK OF AGE-RELATED DISEASE
Thursday, August 30, 2012
http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2012/08/impact-of-mid-life-fitness-on-later-risk-of-age-related-disease.php
How you manage your health in earlier parts of your life will have an effect further down the line: "To examine the association between midlife fitness and chronic disease outcomes in later life, participant data from the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study were linked with Medicare claims. We studied 18,670 healthy participants (21.1% women; median age, 49 years) who survived to receive Medicare coverage from January 1, 1999, to December 31, 2009. Fitness estimated by Balke treadmill time was analyzed [according] to age- and sex-specific quintiles. Eight common chronic conditions were defined [and] associations between midlife fitness and the number of conditions were assessed. ... After 120,780 person-years of Medicare exposure with a median follow-up of 26 years, the highest quintile of fitness [was] associated with a lower incidence of chronic conditions [in men and women]. After multivariate adjustment, higher fitness [was] associated with a lower risk of developing chronic conditions in [men and women]. ... In this cohort of healthy middle-aged adults, fitness was significantly associated with a lower risk of developing chronic disease outcomes during 26 years of follow-up. These findings suggest that higher midlife fitness may be associated with the compression of morbidity in older age."

NO EXTENSION OF AVERAGE LIFESPAN IN PRIMATE STUDY OF CALORIE RESTRICTION
Thursday, August 30, 2012
http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2012/08/no-extension-of-average-lifespan-in-primate-study-of-calorie-restriction.php
A discussion on published results from this primate study suggest that both it and a comparison study are different in ways that make it harder to pull rigorous conclusions from the data - beyond the fact that diet clearly has influence, and the effects of calorie restriction on life span (average and maximum) are expected to be smaller in longer-lived species versus shorter-lived speces: "Scientists have found that calorie restriction - a diet composed of approximately 30 percent fewer calories but with the same nutrients of a standard diet - does not extend years of life or reduce age-related deaths in a 23-year study of rhesus monkeys. However, calorie restriction did extend certain aspects of health. ... The survival results in the study reported [by] NIA researchers differ from those published in 2009 by NIA-supported investigators at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Wisconsin study followed two groups of rhesus monkeys for 20 years and found that monkeys on a calorie-restricted diet lived longer than those on a standard diet. Beyond longevity, the parallel NIA and Wisconsin studies have reported similar beneficial health effects of calorie-restriction. Both studies found that certain age-related diseases - including diabetes, arthritis, diverticulosis and cardiovascular problems - occurred at an earlier age in monkeys on the standard diet compared to those on calorie restriction. However, this observation was not statistically significant in the NIA study. NIA researchers did find that monkeys started on calorie restriction at an early age had a statistically significant reduction in cancer incidence. NIA researchers also found that while calorie restriction had a beneficial effect on several measures of metabolic health and function in monkeys who were started on the special diet regimen during old age (at 16 to 23 years), it did not have the same positive outcome for monkeys started on calorie restriction at a young age (less than 14 years). In the Wisconsin study, all the monkeys were 7 to 14 years when started on calorie restriction. ... Differences in the monkeys' meal and other nutritional factors were cited as possible explanations for NIA's and Wisconsin's different outcomes. Both studies used a similar percentage of calorie restriction with their intervention groups; however, the Wisconsin monkeys in both the calorie restricted and control groups were eating more and weighed more than the matched NIA monkeys. ... NIA researchers cited genetics as another possible reason for their differing results. NIA monkeys had a greater genetic diversity, originating from China and India. Wisconsin's monkeys came only from an Indian colony."

A VIEW OF DIET AND AGING
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2012/08/a-view-of-diet-and-aging.php
A review paper: "Nutrition has important long-term consequences for health that are not only limited to the individual but can be passed on to the next generation. It can contribute to the development and progression of chronic diseases thus effecting life span. Caloric restriction (CR) can extend the average and maximum life span and delay the onset of age-associated changes in many organisms. CR elicits coordinated and adaptive stress responses at the cellular and whole-organism level by modulating epigenetic mechanisms (e.g., DNA methylation, posttranslational histone modifications), signaling pathways that regulate cell growth and aging (e.g., TOR, AMPK, p53, and FOXO), and cell-to-cell signaling molecules (e.g., adiponectin). The overall effect of these adaptive stress responses is an increased resistance to subsequent stress, thus delaying age-related changes and promoting longevity. In human, CR could delay many diseases associated with aging including cancer, diabetes, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, and neurodegenerative diseases."

WORK ON BLOCKING DAMAGE IN BRAIN INJURY
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2012/08/work-on-blocking-damage-in-brain-injury.php
Some of the damage that occurs in brain injury is secondary to the initial trauma and takes place at the level of cellular components. Researchers here demonstrate a possible way to stop that from happening: "Treatment with an agent that blocks the oxidation of an important component of the mitochondrial membrane prevented the secondary damage of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and preserved function that would otherwise have been impaired. ... For the study, the research team conducted a global assessment of all the phospholipids in rat brain cells. This revealed that damage from TBI was nonrandom and mostly involved cardiolipin, a phospholipid that is found in the membranes that form mitochondria, the cell's powerhouse. They noted that in the healthy animal, only 10 of the 190 cardiolipin species were modified by oxygen, but after a brain injury, the number of oxidized species rose many-fold. The researchers then developed an agent, called XJB-5-131, which can cross the blood-brain barrier and prevent the oxidation of cardiolipin. Using an established research model of severe TBI, the agent or a placebo was injected into the bloodstream of rats five minutes and again 24 hours after head injury. In the weeks that followed, treated animals performed akin to normal on tests of balance, agility and motor coordination, learning, and object recognition, while placebo-treated animals showed significant impairment. The results indicate that blocking cardiolipin oxidation by XJB-5-131 protected the brain from cell death. ... a targeted oxidation-blocker might also be beneficial in the treatment of other neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, and stroke."

MORE ON DNA METHYLATION AND HUMAN LONGEVITY
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2012/08/more-on-dna-methylation-and-human-longevity.php
A great deal of data is being generated on patterns of DNA methylation, aging, and variations in human longevity: "(1) we evaluated the DNA methylation from peripheral leukocytes of 21 female centenarians, their 21 female offspring, 21 offspring of both non-long-lived parents, and 21 young women ... (2) we compared the DNA methylation profiles of these populations ... We observed an age-related decrease in global DNA methylation and a delay of this process in centenarians' offspring. Interestingly, literature data suggest a link between the loss of DNA methylation observed during aging and the development of age-associated diseases. Genome-wide methylation analysis evidenced DNA methylation profiles specific for aging and longevity: (1) aging-associated DNA hypermethylation occurs predominantly in genes involved in the development of anatomical structures, organs, and multicellular organisms and in the regulation of transcription; (2) genes involved in nucleotide biosynthesis, metabolism, and control of signal transmission are differently methylated between centenarians' offspring and offspring of both non-long-lived parents, hypothesizing a role for these genes in human longevity. Our results suggest that a better preservation of DNA methylation status, a slower cell growing/metabolism, and a better control in signal transmission through epigenetic mechanisms may be involved in the process of human longevity. These data fit well with the observations related to the beneficial effects of mild hypothyroidism and insulin-like growth factor I system impairment on the modulation of human lifespan."

CYTOMEGALOVIRUS AND TYPE 2 DIABETES RISK
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2012/08/cytomegalovirus-and-type-2-diabetes-risk.php
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a persistent and very common herpesvirus that is thought to be a major contributor to the age-related decline of the immune system, due to an ever increasing portion of its limited number of cells becoming specialized to CMV and thus unavailable for other duties. Various past studies have linked CMV with forms of age-related frailty, but here the researchers find an association with type 2 diabetes - which is interesting and perhaps somewhat unexpected, given that type 2 diabetes is essentially a lifestyle disease: "Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection has been reported to contribute to the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes and post-transplantation diabetes. However, CMV infection has not been evaluated as a possible risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Our aim was to investigate potential associations between CMV seropositivity, CMV IgG antibody level and glucose regulation in the oldest old. ... CMV seropositive subjects were more likely to have type 2 diabetes (17.2% vs 7.9%), had a higher level of HbA1c and higher non-fasting glucose in the oldest olds. These associations remained significant after adjustment for possible confounders. CMV IgG antibody level was not significantly associated with glucose regulation ... In the oldest old, CMV seropositivity is significantly associated with various indicators of glucose regulation. This finding suggests that CMV infection might be a risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes in the elderly."

HOW LONG DO YOU WANT TO LIVE?
Monday, August 27, 2012
http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2012/08/how-long-do-you-want-to-live.php
Here is an example to show that the urge to conform is somewhat stronger than the urge to live, and never mind the urge to think critically. People will tend to say that they want to be in the majority position now, no matter what that might be, and depending on how you phrase the question, the vast majority will tell you that they want to age to death and have a life that is no longer than that of their parents. Yet if longer lives were already common, those very same people would answer that they wanted to live those longer lives. It is frustrating, to say the least, the degree to which people live in the moment and blind themselves to what might be created: "How many years might be added to a life? A few longevity enthusiasts suggest a possible increase of decades. Most others believe in more modest gains. And when will they come? Are we a decade away? Twenty years? Fifty years? Even without a new high-tech 'fix' for aging, the United Nations estimates that life expectancy over the next century will approach 100 years for women in the developed world and over 90 years for women in the developing world. (Men lag behind by three or four years.) Whatever actually happens, this seems like a good time to ask a very basic question: How long do you want to live? Over the past three years I have posed this query to nearly 30,000 people at the start of talks and lectures on future trends in bioscience, taking an informal poll as a show of hands. To make it easier to tabulate responses I provided four possible answers: 80 years, currently the average life span in the West; 120 years, close to the maximum anyone has lived; 150 years, which would require a biotech breakthrough; and forever, which rejects the idea that life span has to have any limit at all. I made it clear that participants should not assume that science will come up with dramatic new anti-aging technologies, though people were free to imagine that breakthroughs might occur - or not. The results: some 60 percent opted for a life span of 80 years. Another 30 percent chose 120 years, and almost 10 percent chose 150 years. Less than 1 percent embraced the idea that people might avoid death altogether. These percentages have held up as I've spoken to people from many walks of life in libraries and bookstores; teenagers in high schools; physicians in medical centers; and investors and entrepreneurs at business conferences. I've popped the question at meetings of futurists and techno-optimists and gotten perhaps a doubling of people who want to live to 150 - less than I would have thought for these groups. Rarely, however, does anyone want to live forever, although abolishing disease and death from biological causes is a fervent hope for a small scattering of would-be immortals."

WIRING UP ENGINEERED TISSUE
Monday, August 27, 2012
http://www.fightaging.org/archives/2012/08/wiring-up-engineered-tissue.php
This is interesting, the early stirrings of something that may change the tenor of future tissue engineering if carried through to its logical conclusions. Why build a plain heart if you can build a sensor-laden heart with its own embedded network for monitoring and medical intervention? From the release: "A multi-institutional research team has developed a method for embedding networks of biocompatible nanoscale wires within engineered tissues. These networks - which mark the first time that electronics and tissue have been truly merged in 3D - allow direct tissue sensing and potentially stimulation, a potential boon for development of engineered tissues that incorporate capabilities for monitoring and stimulation, and of devices for screening new drugs. ... One of the major challenges in developing bioengineered tissues is creating systems to sense what is going on (e.g., chemically, electrically) within a tissue after it has been grown and/or implanted. Similarly, researchers have struggled to develop methods to directly stimulate engineered tissues and measure cellular reactions. ... In the body, the autonomic nervous system keeps track of pH, chemistry, oxygen and other factors, and triggers responses as needed. We need to be able to mimic the kind of intrinsic feedback loops the body has evolved in order to maintain fine control at the cellular and tissue level. ... With the autonomic nervous system as inspiration, [scientists] built mesh-like networks of nanoscale silicon wires - about 80 nm in diameter - shaped like flat planes or in a 'cotton-candy'-like reticular conformation. The networks were porous enough to allow the team to seed them with cells and encourage those cells to grow in 3D cultures. ... Previous efforts to create bioengineered sensing networks have focused on 2D layouts, where culture cells grow on top of electronic components, or on conformal layouts where probes are placed on tissue surfaces. It is desirable to have an accurate picture of cellular behavior within the 3D structure of a tissue, and it is also important to have nanoscale probes to avoid disruption of either cellular or tissue architecture."

______________________________

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What’s Really Delaying the Defeat of Aging?

Posted: at 3:52 pm


By way of following on from yesterday's thoughts on progress in longevity science, I'll point out that the August 2012 issue of Rejuvenation Research is available online. The leading editorial by Aubrey de Grey of the SENS Foundation covers much the same set of topics and is presently open access - so head on over and read it while that lasts.

What's Really Delaying the Defeat of Aging?

In the mid-1990s, when I decided to switch from computer science to gerontology, I recognized that the creation of a credible assault on aging would require solving three basic problems: (1) Creating a credible plan; (2) getting the people best placed to implement it to be interested in doing so; and (3) giving them the financial resources to get on with the job.

I broke the back of the first problem in mid-2000, when I realized that regenerative medicine - repairing the accumulating damage of aging - will probably be far simpler and easier to implement than the alternative followed by most biogerontologists, namely slowing the creation of that damage. By that time, I had also done most of the heavy lifting of item 2 (as I continued to do thereafter), by connecting with leading researchers worldwide, mostly face to face at conferences, and improving their understanding of how their expertise could be productively applied to aging. By way of illustration, quite a few of the most prestigious such people are named on the front cover of this journal as associate editors, and they accepted such a position for that reason. But what about item 3?

Unfortunately, I cannot tell so positive a story with respect to financial resources. Nearly a decade ago, I began to make public predictions of how soon we would achieve success in our crusade. I did so, as I still do, in the manner that (for better or worse) preoccupies the general public, namely in terms of longevity, but I have always been careful to incorporate two key caveats: (1) The level of uncertainty of the time frames, even if only scientific uncertainty is considered, and (2) the reliance of such estimates on adequate funding.

The first of these caveats is often elided, but it is simple: I estimate that we have a 50% chance of achieving the milestone of "robust human rejuvenation" (essentially, the rejuvenation of 60 year olds comprehensively enough that they won't be biologically 60 again until they're chronologically 90) within 25 years, but I also estimate that we have at least a 10% chance of not getting there in 100 years. But...that is all subject to the second caveat, namely funding.

Tragically, the level of funding that has been forthcoming during the past decade is only a few percent (at most) of what is necessary. The rate of progress in research to defeat aging has been quite amazing in view of that, but nonetheless, I estimate that it has been only about one-third of what could have been achieved with 10-20 times more money.

Which is much as I said yesterday: there are now plenty of researchers and research groups who would work on building real rejuvenation biotechnology as described in the SENS vision if they were given a budget to do so. That budget is, however, sadly lacking at this time. Millions of dollars are going to SENS and SENS-like research programs these days (which is a big improvement over their non-existence ten years ago) - but a hundred times that flow of resources would be needed to achieve earnest progress at the best possible rate.

One of the logical conclusions emerging from this point of view is that longevity science remains in that stage of growth wherein advocacy and education are the primary drivers of progress. There is sufficient buy-in from the scientific community to make institutional investment in research the bottleneck to progress, and obtaining that funding is a matter of persuasion.

In one sense this is encouraging: it is a characteristic state of affairs during a rapid shift in priorities for any field of human endeavor. Organizations with large sums to place into research tend to be the most conservative portions of their community, and thus among the last to heed the changing winds of knowledge and priority. This present stage, in which researchers are now interested and supportive but lacking in sources of funding that will allow them to actually work on the problem at hand, is a natural, albeit frustrating, part of the process. It is a considerable step up from the previous era in which few researchers had any interest in working on the biotechnologies of engineered human longevity, and even talking about it in public was discouraged.

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SIRT6 Overexpression Reverses DNA Repair Decline in Aging Mice

Posted: at 3:51 pm


This interesting research result adds a little more to the debate over whether nuclear DNA damage is relevant to aging beyond its effects on cancer risk - though I think it's still a bit early to point to differences in DNA repair as the definitive cause of SIRT6-related longevity in mice: researchers "found that the decline in a cell's ability to repair DNA during aging coincided with a global reduction in the levels of proteins involved in the repair process. [They] tried to reverse the age-related decline in DNA repair efficiency by restoring the proteins to their original levels and found only one protein, SIRT6, did the trick. ... [Other research results have shown] that overexpressing the SIRT6 protein extended the lifespans of mice. Our research looked at DNA repair and found a reason for the increased longevity, and that is SIRT6's role in promoting more efficient DNA repair. ... The next step [is] to study the factors that regulate SIRT6, in an effort to learn more about the early stages of the DNA repair process. ... multiple groups are trying to develop drugs that activate SIRT6, and [researchers hope] that this research will one day lead to therapies that help extend a person's lifespan and treat cancer. ... SIRT6 plays a critical role in repairing the most dangerous type of DNA damage: double-strand breaks. DNA is a two-stranded molecule, and breaks can occur to one strand of the molecule or to both. In the case of single-strand breaks, the unbroken strand guides the repair process and the DNA molecule is typically restored to its original state. However, double-strand breaks, in which both strands are severed, are particularly hazardous because they are more difficult to repair and can lead to a rearrangement of the cell's genetic material."

Link: http://phys.org/news/2012-08-protein-dna-aging-cells.html

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A Good Lifestyle Makes a Difference Even Late in Life

Posted: at 3:51 pm


Keeping up on the health basics makes a difference even in the last years of life: "It is well known that lifestyle factors, like being overweight, smoking and heavy drinking, predict death among elderly people. But is it uncertain whether these associations are applicable to people aged 75 years or more. So a team of researchers based in Sweden measured the differences in survival among adults aged 75 and older based on modifiable factors such as lifestyle behaviours, leisure activities, and social networks. The study involved just over 1,800 individuals who were followed for 18 years (1987-2005). Data on age, sex, occupation, education, lifestyle behaviours, social network and leisure activities were recorded. During the follow-up period 92% of participants died. Half of the participants lived longer than 90 years. Survivors were more likely to be women, be highly educated, have healthy lifestyle behaviours, have a better social network, and participate in more leisure activities than non-survivors. The results show that smokers died one year earlier than non-smokers. Former smokers had a similar pattern of survival to never smokers, suggesting that quitting smoking in middle age reduces the effect on mortality. Of the leisure activities, physical activity was most strongly associated with survival. The average age at death of participants who regularly swam, walked or did gymnastics was two years greater than those who did not. Overall, the average survival of people with a low risk profile (healthy lifestyle behaviours, participation in at least one leisure activity, and a rich or moderate social network) was 5.4 years longer than those with a high risk profile (unhealthy lifestyle behaviours, no participation in leisure activities, and a limited or poor social network). Even among those aged 85 years or older and people with chronic conditions, the average age at death was four years higher for those with a low risk profile compared with those with a high risk profile. In summary, the associations between leisure activity, not smoking, and increased survival still existed in those aged 75 years or more, with women's lives prolonged by five years and men's by six years, say the authors. These associations, although attenuated, were still present among people aged 85 or more and in those with chronic conditions."

Link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-08/bmj-hli082912.php

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An Outline of Progress in Longevity Science

Posted: at 3:51 pm


Here is a short email that I received yesterday:

I have been reading about [longevity research] for a week now and I was just wondering if you were making progress on this? I read some people think aging can be cured in 2029 could that actually happen?

So today, I'll scribe a brief perspective on recent progress in longevity science. I should preface this by noting that it is probably best to think of the life science and medical research community as an array of largely independent groups and factions, some large, some small. While there is a lot of cross-pollination in their work, they move at different rates towards different goals in medicine and biotechnology, and those goals are of varying degrees of usefulness when it comes to allowing humans to live longer, healthy lives. So I'll note what I see as the areas worthy of particular notice, and omit many other areas, some of which are still important or interesting in their own right:

Early Work on Rejuvenation Biotechnology

The SENS Foundation manages a small-in-budget but large-in-scope research project, and networks with a range of allied scientific groups. The vision is to build true rejuvenation biotechnology, an implementation of the detailed SENS vision for how to repair and reverse the causes of aging. The Foundation is as much about persuading more of the scientific community to undertake aspects of this work as they are about running their own research and development center.

Progress here over the past decade is measured by the fact that the SENS Foundation didn't exist as anything more than the beginnings of an idea back then, in a research community that was far more hostile towards engineered longevity than at present. The Foundation is now an actual entity, with many allies in the aging research community and a million-dollar yearly research budget provided by philanthropic donors. The scientific community itself is now open to work on engineering human longevity, and that is largely due to the efforts of the SENS Foundation principals, supporters, and allies.

You can't change the world with a million dollar budget, alas, but this is just the start of what will hopefully blossom to become the dominant form of aging research - work targeted on the reversal of aging, rather than merely understanding it or slowing it down.

Regenerative Medicine and Tissue Engineering

Stem cell medicine of all forms is growing very rapidly, a worldwide industry that is producing tangible results at a very fast pace: engineering patient-matched tissues and organs, controlling cells to spur regeneration, understanding why stem cells decline with age, and much more. This is a massive research and development community, enormously well funded, enjoying widespread public support, and still growing.

It is not unreasonable to expect that people in middle age today will be able to have lab-grown organs made to order when it comes time to need them, twenty years from now. More importantly, we can also fairly confidently expect to see major advances in reversing stem cell decline with age over that same time frame. Most of the market for stem cell based medicine involves elderly patients, and understanding how to revive stem cell populations in the old will be a necessary part of implementing new therapies. The financial incentives are strong here, and are already being acted on.

Harnessing the Immune System

At the highest level, we can think of regenerative medicine as the inevitable outgrowth of new tools and new understanding that allow stem cells to be manipulated. Control the cells that build tissue, and you can control healing, regeneration, and the ability to maintain tissues in working condition over time. But this very same technology and knowledge also enables immunology and immune therapies: understanding and manipulating the immune system, which is at root just another collection of specialized cells.

The immune system serves many vital purposes in the body, and decays in characteristic ways with advancing age. Many of the frailties of aging are caused by or exacerbated by the progressive failure of the immune system to do its job - not just protecting against pathogens, but policing the cells of the body to destroy those that cause harm.

Just as regenerative medicine will ascend to building new organs over the next few decades, so too will advances in immunology lead to control over the immune system, including restoration from age-related decline. These are closely related fields, and progress in both is enabled by the same underlying biotechnologies. In recent years, we have already seen the first demonstrations of the ability to reprogram, reset, and reverse some of the age-related declines in immune function. At the same time, many new therapies are under development based on manipulation of the immune system: to destroy cancers, repair autoimmune diseases, and so forth.

Calorie Restriction Research and Mimetics

A great deal of resources are pouring into understanding the metabolism of longevity, and one part of that is the quest to understand and replicate the effects of calorie restriction on health and life span. What probably amounts to a few billion dollars over the past ten years have gone into advancing this field, which in that time has grown from a tiny minority interest in a few labs to a large and growing concern that, despite little to show for the investment yet other than knowledge, doesn't look to be slowing down any time soon.

Progress here can probably best be measured in our increased understanding of exactly how metabolism can shift into states that boost health and life span in most species. Increasing numbers of potential drug compounds have been identified that somewhat recapitulate the beneficial effects of eating less, but it seems unlikely that anything other than a carefully designed small molecule drug with very specific biochemical targets will prove to be a true calorie restriction mimetic. As of yet it seems that too little is known to build such a thing, but there is a fairly good idea as which mechanisms it would affect in order to achieve its ends.

The Genetics of Longevity

A great deal more work is taking place on the genetics and epigenetics of longevity than was the case a decade ago. This is a growth field, both for human studies that try to pick apart genetic contributions that lead to long-lived families, and for comparison studies between long-lived and short-lived species, where researchers search out distinctive differences that might explain how large variations in life span come about.

In humans, we can now be more confident that there are many genetic contributions to longevity, varying widely by population, and few if any stand out as large and obvious targets for drug development. Meanwhile the attention paid to long-lived species such as naked mole-rats is producing data that steers the attention of other research communities to the most important determinants of longevity - our mitochondria and their resistance to damage, for example.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that the research community and state of the field today is very different from that of even a mere ten years ago. This is a time of rapid change and progress: far more is known and far more impressive feats of medicine can be performed in the lab and the clinic. There is every reason to believe that ten years from now we'll be able to say the same thing. Costs in biotechnology and life science research are falling rapidly, and with that trend more research can be accomplished in each new year.

That said, however, the only way that we'll see significant inroads into the defeat of aging by 2029 is for the SENS Foundation and its attendant research community to undergo the same sort of growth over the next decade as has been exhibited in recent years by regenerative medicine, calorie restriction research, or study of the genetics of longevity. A growth to billions in funding and thousands of researchers, in other words. It will require at least that and a decade of time in order to have a 50/50 shot at reversing aging in old mice in the lab - which is to say something that can make them live at least twice as long as they otherwise would have done.

Of all the items covered in this post, only SENS provides a path towards achieving this end. Even regenerative medicine and complete control over stem cells can't offer the possibility of reversing aging in and of itself - it is only the way to reverse one component of aging, the decline of tissue maintenance and frailty that results from stem cells shutting down. You will still get nailed by your own mitochondria and the build up of metabolic byproducts even if your stem cells are perfectly restored.

So to answer the original question posed in the email, no, there is no plausible road to the defeat of aging by 2029. But there is a plausible road to the first laboratory demonstrations of real, meaningful, but partial age reversal by then, ways to actually repair the root biological causes of aging rather than just slow it down. Whether that happens or not depends absolutely on funding - there are more than enough scientists and research groups out there who would work on the SENS vision for rejuvenation biotechnology if given a budget, but as of yet not enough funding sources to make it a reality.

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Are some cell counts too good to be true? Why some companies’ product data may mislead.

Posted: at 3:51 pm


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This is a cautionary tale about the need for robust product characterization and release specifications for all cell therapy products.
Background
While our food often has a list of ingredients, our drugs don't.  We rely on our regulatory agencies to rule on the safety of our drugs.  These agencies require drug manufacturers to submit to them the composition of their therapeutic compounds and then to comply with the product specifications.  It is this composition and these specifications which formed the basis of the clinical data evaluated by the agency and upon which the marketing approval is based.  Any deviation from those specifications requires a submission to the regulatory agency for review. Any deviation without such a submission is punishable.   
At the manufacturing site, as products come off the line they are subjected to a panel of product release tests to ensure each batch complies with the product specifications.
Specification compliance is a direct function of the consistency of the raw and ancillary materials, equipment, and operating procedures used in the manufacturing process.



Cell therapies present unique challenges when complying with this paradigm for several reasons only two of which I will mention here.  Firstly, it is not possible to achieve the level of product purification as one might with other therapeutic products.  Secondly, the product characterization is at a cellular rather than molecular level.

Autologous cell therapies present another set of unique challenge in this paradigm because of the notable patient-to-patient variability where the patient is also the donor of the raw material.  This often means there is a wider tolerance of heterogeneity in the product but it still must be within what has been proven to the regulatory agency as a safe and effective range.  


In cases where an autologous cell therapy is centrally manufactured, they are most often subjected to product release testing similar to that described above.  One notable difference, particularly for fresh products, is that the products may be shipped to the clinic and even administered before the full panel of test results are obtained.  This wold be considered highly unusual (if ever acceptable) with other types of products but is tolerated because of the time-sensitivity of these products and their high safety profile.


In the case of autologous cell therapy products produced at the bedside there is often not the same kind of product release discipline.  Often the regulatory agencies deal with the product consistency and specification compliance issue by ensuring that the cell processing device used point-of-care is validated to ensure the cellular product output is always within a specified range shown to be clinically safe and effective.


The Varying Degree of Product Characterization/Specification of Autologous GTP Cell Therapy Products


However - and now I get to the point of this blog post - for cell-based products, procedures and/or devices/kits which are not mandated to be formally approved by a regulatory agency before they can be commercially marketed, there is no product specification rigor.  Compliance with the Good Tissue Practice regulations and guidance is deemed to ensure safety.  In the United States, cell-based products which are deemed to be "minimally manipulated" and intended for "homologous use" are typically allowed to go straight to market with no formal approval.  Safety and clinical data is not required but is practically necessary to support physician adoption and, where applicable, reimbursement.  


This means that for these products there is a great deal of variability in terms of how much rigor companies apply in characterizing their product and then ensuring that each batch complies with the specifications they themselves have determined to be safe and effective. Again, where such products are manufactured in a centralized facility the likelihood of some release testing is greater.  However, those companies relying on a point-of-care processing kit or device business model that has not been deemed to require formal market approval, rarely (if ever) include product release testing.


The common criticism of these companies is that they simply do not know what they are injecting into patients because of the combination of the patient-to-patient donor variability, the lack of any disciplined product characterization or dosing studies, and the absence of any product release testing.  


This criticism is not equally levied at all autologous GTP products or companies - even those relying on point-of-care processing.  Of course some companies care and do a lot to try to ensure their product is well-characterized and that each batch complies with product specifications. This may involve the use of product release tests but can also involve the combination of pre-market research into the product characterization, safety, and dosing along with validation of the device/kit output.  In this way a company can say that within a very small margin, the output will be within the product specifications the company knows is safe and efficacious.


However, in a rush to get their device/kit to market some companies appear to care very little about the cell product characterization, validation of the output of their device/kit, or tying this data to optimal dose.


More concerning are those companies that appear to provide such data but it is wrong or meaningless.  What follows appears to potentially be a case study of precisely this problem. 


The INCELL Study 


This week I came across a fascinating white paper from Incell Corporation analyzing the output of adipose tissue processing kits of MediVet-America apparently demonstrating the inaccuracy of their cell counts (a common type of cell therapy product characterization) and calling into the question the cell count claims of Intellicell Biosciences (New York, NY) and Adistem (Hong Kong).


At the heart of the critique is the claim that the cell counting (product characterization) techniques employed by these companies counts as cells things (namely acellular micelles) which are not cells.

I encourage you to read the white paper in its entirety.  They corresponding author told me to watch for one or more papers which they are preparing for submission to peer-reviewed publications shortly.  Presumably these will rely on a larger data set and perhaps test other methodologies or technologies.


For the purposes of this blog, I've pulled what I believe are the most salient excerpts below:

Intrigued by the high cell numbers  (5 to 20 million cells/gram)  reported by kit/device manufacturers such as MediVet-America (Lexington, KY), Intellicell  Biosciences (New York, NY), and Adistem, Ltd. (Hong Kong) in adipose stem cell therapy compared to other methods (e.g., 
Chung,Vidal, and Yoshimura), INCELL staff conducted a research study to  investigate the high apparent yield of stem cells.  This initial work was focused  on SVF cells from the MediVet Kit, which is marketed to isolate adiposederived canine SVF and stem cells.

The cell yields reported for the Medivet Kits are five to more than ten times higher than the yields routinely obtained by INCELL from freshly harvested human or animal adipose tissue using our adipose tissue processing methods.  These yields are also tenfold or higher than those reported in the literature by most academic researchers (Chung-canine, Vidal–equine, Yoshimura–human).  Since these  cell counts are used to support stem cell dosing recommendations and cell banking, it is important to better understand why the cell numbers are higher.

...

A comparative analytical study of three dog donors of adipose tissue was designed to evaluate the cell yields using the MediVet Kit as an example of this class of isolation system. All  kit procedures were followed as per the instructions provided.  A brief overview of the different cell counting methods used, and the resultant cell counts, observations and explanations of the results observed, are described below

....

This study shows that incorrect counting of adipose derived SVF cells and the subset of regenerative stem cells can subsequently result in inaccurate dosing, both in direct therapeutic applications and in cryostorage of cells for future use.  The DAPI-hemocytometer cell count (manual) was considered the most accurate, but there are various sources of technical difficulties that  can lead to incorrect  cell numbers. The nature of adipose tissue itself with variability in dissociation by enzymatic digestion can all contribute to the outcomes. Fat tissue has a propensity to form acellular micelles and oils upon tissue disruption. Processing methods or reagents (e.g., Solution E or lecithins) can generate micelles that may be  erroneously  counted as cells. Autofluorescence and dye trapping or uptake by the micelles can lead to very high inaccurate cell counts when automated cell counting is used. 


In this study the most inaccurate counting came from the Cellometer. When used according to kitrecommended guidelines and on-site training provided by Nexelcom for counting  cells by the MediVet procedure, the Cellometer overstated the DAPI-hemocytometer cell count by up to 20X or more. The Coulter Counter protocols also led to incorrect, high cell numbers. Although the cell counts were still a bit high, the authors recommend the NucleoCounter, or similar equipment, as more acceptable for automated counting.  The manual hemocytometer-DAPI method is the most accurate, but requires a highly experienced cell biologist or technician to make accurate counts and  is not suitable for routine clinical use. 

...

Other companies also have claims of very high cell numbers when their processes are used. Adistem, like MediVet, states they add an emulsifying agent to their kits to assist in cell release, and they also use a light activation system. Their kits were not tested in this study but it is possible that the high cell numbers reported by Adistem are also incorrect and result from the same problems highlighted in this paper for the MediVet procedure. Ultrasonic energy, which is commonly used to manufacture micellular  liposome  structures and to disrupt and lyse cells, is  another potentially problematic procedure for counting and verifying viable, regenerative cells.  Intellicell 3uses ultrasonic energy to release cells from adipose tissue, and it is possible that resultant micelles or cell fragments contribute to the higher than expected cell numbers.  This assumption could be verified with additional studies.  

In summary, the authors caution that great care must be taken when using kits and automated cell counting for stem cell dosing and cryobanking of cells intended for clinical use. Overestimated  cell numbers would be a major confounding source of variation when efficacy of stem cells injected are compared as doses based on cell number and when cryostored cells are aliquoted for use based on 

specific cell numbers as a treatment dose.  Hopefully, this study will lead to more  reproducible counting and processing methods being reported in the literature, more inter-study comparability of cell doses to clinical outcomes,  more industry diligence to support claims, and more accurate counting for dosing stem cell therapies to patients.

...

Chung D, Hayashi K, Toupadakis A, et al.  Osteogenic proliferation and differentiation of canine bone marrow and adipose tissue derived mesenchymal stromal cells and the influence of hypoxia.  Res Vet Sci, 2010; 92(1):66-75. Vidal MA, Kilroy GE, Lopez MJ, Johnson JR, Moore RM, Gimble JM. Characterization of equine adipose tissue-derived stromal cells: adipogenic and osteogenic capacity and comparison with bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells. Vet Surg, 2007; 36:613–622.  Yoshimura K, Shigeura T, Matsumoto D, et al:  Characterization of freshly isolated and cultured cells derived from the fatty and fluid portions of liposuction aspirate.  J Cell Phys, 2006; 205:64-76.

 In Conclusion

Despite some of their other challenges, Intellicell, MediVet-America, and AdiStem (and others) have scored credibility points with some of my colleagues who have been impressed by the fact that they have incorporated product release criterion and testing technologies into their business model where their peer companies have not bothered.  This credibility may be quickly eroded if it turns out the results of their cell counts have been misleading.  For now it is a word of caution to do your own due diligence and/or not to fall into a similar product development/characterization trap.  Meanwhile, we will watch for the peer-reviewed papers.

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California Stem Cell Agency: A New Board Member and a New Vacancy

Posted: at 3:50 pm



The chairs are shifting a tad on the
governing board of the $3 billion California stem cell agency as a
French immigrant is added, a Latino leaves and a veteran patient
advocate is reappointed.


Coming on board for next week's meeting
is Anne-Marie Duliege, chief medical officer of Affymax Inc., of
Palo Alto, a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company that deals
with kidney disease. Leaving is David Serrano Sewell, who has been
named to the state Medical Board by Gov. Jerry Brown. Reappointed is
Jeff Sheehy, an HIV/AIDs patient advocate who may be the most public face
of patient advocates on the stem cell agency.
Anne-Marie Duliege
Affymax Photo

State Controller John Chiang appointed
Duliege to the CIRM post, saying

“Dr. Duliege brings
first-hand knowledge of what is required to take a drug from research
phase through FDA approval.”

In May, Duliege made a presentation to
the Bioscience Forum in South San Francisco called “Beating the
Odds,” a discussion of Affymax's first commercial product.
According to information posted by the group, Duliege led the way by
shepherding it through a 10-month gauntlet at the FDA.
Duliege has been with Affymax since
2007. Her prior positions included time at Chiron and Genentech. She
is a practicing physician, working part-time, and received her
medical degree from Paris Medical School.
Affymax has had a previous tie to the
stem cell agency. Ted Love, one of the initial members of the CIRM board, also sits on the Affymax board of directors. Indeed, Duliege fills the seat
vacated by Love when he resigned from the CIRM board. The position must be
filled by an officer of a California life science company.  
David Serrano Sewell
CIRM Photo

Serrano Sewell, who has also served on
the CIRM board since its inception, is apparently resigning to accept
an appointment to the board that regulates
California physicians. Apparently – because the stem cell agency
has not confirmed that he is leaving, although this morning it placed a resolution honoring him on the agenda for next week's meeting.  That almost invariably means a board member is departing.

Serrano Sewell, an attorney for the
city of San Francisco, was one of 10 patient advocate members on the
29-member board. Sewell was apppointed by the California lieutenant
governor. His seat will remain vacant until the current lieutenant
governor, Gavin Newsom, makes an appointment, who must also be a patient advocate.
Jeff Sheehy
CIRM Photo

Sheehy was reappointed recently by
state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. Sheehy is a
communications manager at UC San Francisco and a nationally known
HIV/AIDS advocate. He is co-chairman of CIRM's Science Subcommittee
and vice chairman of the grants review group. Sheehy leads the
discussion of grant applications when they come before the full board
in public session.

With the latest shuffling, the board has essentially lost its only African-American member – Ted Love.
Eugene Washington, dean of the UCLA medical school, is a member of
the board but never attends the meetings. Instead he sends a
surrogate. Serrano Sewell's departure brings the number of Hispanics
to three, co-vice chairman Art Torres, Francisco Prieto and Marcy
Feit
. No Asians sit on the board.

Source:
http://californiastemcellreport.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss

Bob Klein, "Lobbying" and Reader Reaction

Posted: at 3:50 pm



A robust discussion has arisen
concerning Bob Klein and his appearance last month before the
governing board of the $3 billion California stem cell agency, a body
that he once chaired and an enterprise that he once oversaw.

The comments were triggered by the original "unseemly performance" item on the California Stem Cell Report and a subsequent comment by Francisco Prieto, a longtime member of the board.
The comments discussed whether Klein
was manipulated and whether he was engaged in so-called “revolving
door” activity – the practice of former government officials,
such as Klein, becoming paid representatives of enterprises that were
involved with their former agency.
The comments raise a number of
interesting questions that we will discuss on the California Stem
Cell Report during the next few days.
You can read the remarks by going to this item and scrolling down to the end of the piece.
(Editor's note: Our apologies to some
of those who commented for the delay in posting their remarks.)

Source:
http://californiastemcellreport.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss

Nearly $6 Million Sought: Four Scientists Seek to Overturn Rejection by CIRM Reviewers

Posted: at 3:50 pm



Four researchers are appealing
rejection of their proposals to win millions of dollars from the
California stem cell agency just as the agency is moving to curb such
reconsideration efforts by scientists.

The latest appeals come in what the
agency calls its basic biology round. The agency's governing board
meets next Wednesday and Thursday to hand out as much as $35 million
to as many as 25 scientists competing for the research dollars.
The four appeals follow a record outpouring last month of attempts at reconsideration in another
round. One upshot has been a proposal that would tighten the review process. That plan also comes before directors next week.
In three of the latest appeals, the
applications were given scientific scores that exceeded those of some
proposals that were approved by reviewers. The lower scoring
proposals were given the go-ahead on the basis of “programmatic
review,” which one CIRM document says is designed to allow
“consideration of issues beyond scientific merit, such as disease
representation and societal impact.” 
The latest appeals – formally known
as extraordinary petitions – were filed by Michael Teitell of UCLA,
Deborah Lieu of UC Davis, Tony Hunter of Salk and Hanna Mikkola, also
of UCLA. In all, their applications seek nearly $6 million from CIRM.
Hunter's $1.8 million application had the highest scientific score, 70,  of the four appeals. It ranked above three grants approved by reviewers. 
In his appeal, Hunter said “no major scientific issues were found” by reviewers concerning his application. He also reported new data involving a “major concern” of reviewers. Hunter said the information was developed after the application was submitted April 25.

In the case of Lieu, reviewers
said she was “relatively inexperienced.” Lieu's appeal said she
has “24 publications with over 6 years of experience in the
differentiation of cardiac muscle cells from human pluripotent stem
cells, 12 publications (3 co-corresponding author) on human
pluripotent stem cells and their cardiac derivatives, and 3
publications on the engineering of pacemaker cells” in addition to
other related professional experience.
She is seeking $1.3 million. Her
application received a score of 68, ranking it above two other grants
approved by reviewers and equal to a third also approved by
reviewers.
Mikkola said her application built on work previously funded by CIRM. She also cited new data that the
reviewers did not have access to. Mikkola's application for $1.4 million
received a score of 65, which ranks it above one grant approved by
reviewers.
Teitell's letter to the board also cited new data that is scheduled to published in November that deals with one of the concerns of reviewers. Teitell additionally disputed some of the critical information in the summary of reviewer comments.

He is seeking $1.4 million. CIRM did not release a score on his application, although it appears to be below 63, the lowest score disclosed publicly by the agency.

Source:
http://californiastemcellreport.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss

Stem Cell Agency Moving to Curb Free-Wheeling Appeals by Researchers

Posted: at 3:50 pm



The $3 billion California stem cell
agency on Tuesday released details of proposed, major changes in how
scientists are allowed to appeal decisions when their
applications for millions of dollars are rejected by grant reviewers.

The agency posted on its web site a 4 ½ page plan to curb the free-wheeling pitches that reached a record level at last month's governing board meeting. Some of the changes
would formalize ad hoc procedures that have emerged over the last
several years. The plan would also make it clearer exactly what can
and cannot be done or expected under the agency's appeal process,
which is poorly understood by at least some researchers.
The agency's proposal, due to be acted
on at the CIRM board meeting next Wednesday and Tuesday, is heavily
nuanced, dealing with such matters as “supplemental information,”
an “additional analysis option,” “criteria for material dispute
of fact,” “criteria for material new information” – not to
mention the old standby – “extraordinary petition.”
CIRM also reiterates in a footnote its
distinction between an “appeal” and an “extraordinary
petition.” However, it is a distinction without a difference except
to those in thrall of bureaucratic jargon. Both are appeals. Their
purpose is to provide a method for overturning reviewers' decision under certain conditions.
Details on CIRM's proposed changes came
only four business days prior to next week's governing board meeting
– a little late to generate thoughtful comment and constructive
suggestions from those most likely to be affected by the changes –
the 500 or so recipients of $1.6 billion in CIRM funding. Before final action on the changes, the board may well want to send out the proposal to all of its grant recipients and ask them for written comment that could then be considered at a public meeting of its Science Subcommittee.
The CIRM board has been bedeviled by
the appeal process for more than four years, including the
presentations at its public meetings by scientists. Ironically, the
first such public appearance was made by Bert Lubin, who is now a member of the CIRM
board  and CEO of Childrens Hospital in Oakland, Ca..
As the California Stem Cell Report
wrote at the time, the pitch by Lubin, who was unsuccessful,
disturbed some board members. Gerald Levey, then dean of the UCLA
medical school and a member of the board, said,

"I don't think we can run a board
this way. If we do, it would be chaos." 

Lubin was later quoted in the journal
Nature as saying that his rejected application did not come from “the
in crowd” of stem cell researchers or organization.

“So a project that was really going
to go into patients was essentially triaged.”

A final note: CIRM's proposal for changes in
the appeal process also uses language that obfuscates exactly what
researchers can do under state law. The document says that scientists
“may” make oral and written comments to the board, which is a
state government entity. In fact, state law makes it clear that
researchers as well as any member of the public have the “right”
to comment. The board legally cannot prevent them from speaking or
making comments. And the board, to its credit, has always allowed
ample public comment even when it slows the board's work.  

Source:
http://californiastemcellreport.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss

USC Researchers Appeal Rejection of $20 Million Proposal

Posted: at 3:50 pm



Researchers from the University of
Southern California
are making a pitch to overturn rejection of their
$20 million grant application by reviewers in one of the signature
commercialization rounds of the California stem cell agency.

The appeal by Roberta Diaz Brinton and
Lon Schneider will be taken up one week from tomorrow by the
governing board of the $3 billion state enterprise.
The USC application deals with Alzheimer's. It came in the $243
million disease team round that was considered last month during a
record-breaking outpouring of appeals and a day of emotion-filled
appearances by patients. CIRM directors adjourned their meeting
without completing action on a number of items, leaving open the possibility of additional appeals such as the one from USC.
The Brinton-Schneider application
received a score of 63 from reviewers. They said in a letter to
the board,

“We are submitting the petition at
this time as we are new to the CIRM ICOC(governing board) process and after listening
to the July 26 ICOC meeting deliberations now understand that the
petition process allows the ICOC to further consider our proposal.
We noted that the proposal scored one point above ours and another
two points below ours, each utilized the extraordinary petition
strategy to gain ICOC review which resulted in funding approval in
the former, and reconsideration in the latter instance.”

Their statement reinforced a concern
expressed by CIRM Director Oswald Steward, director of the Reeve Center at UC Irvine,  at last month's board
meeting about fairness in the grant process. He said,

“I'm not really quire sure that all
of the applicants clearly understood that they could come back to us
to address the criticisms(of reviewers).”

Concerns about whether all applicants fully understand the appeal process have surfaced on a number of occasions over the last several years. The CIRM board, however, is generally reluctant to overturn negative recommendations by reviewers. It also almost never reverses positive recommendations.

Next week the board is scheduled to
make unspecified changes in the appeal process. No further details on
those changes have yet been released by the agency although the
meeting is just four business days away.
In the Brinton-Schneider letter to the
CIRM board, the scientists defended their scientific approach and
responded to criticism by reviewers, especially those related to
sedation. Reviewers expressed reservations about over-sedation, which
the researchers said were erroneous.
It is not clear whether other scientists will
be making appeals during next week's board meeting.

Source:
http://californiastemcellreport.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss

Researcher Alert: Troubling CIRM Grant Appeal Process Up for Revision

Posted: at 3:50 pm



Directors of the California stem cell
agency next week are expected to make unspecified changes in how
scientists can appeal denials of their applications for millions of
dollars in research grants.

The move follows a jam-packed and
emotional meeting last month in which the CIRM governing board faced a record outpouring of appeals of negative decisions by grant
reviewers. The board is the ultimate arbiter on applications. While it almost never overturns positive decisions by reviewers, it sometimes
approves applications that they have rejected. 
No details of the proposed changes in
the appeal process are yet available for the meeting Sept. 5-6 in
Burlingame, Ca. All that is known at this point is the following item
from the board agenda: “consideration of modifications to the
extraordinary petition policy and adoption of additional
information policy.” Extraordinary petitions are the key vehicle
for appeals.
The appeals process has long troubled the CIRM board. It has made changes in the procedures, but last
month's high stakes, $243 million round posed new challenges and
consumed so much time that the board was unable to complete action on
several items.
As a result of the July appeals, the
board sent five applications back for re-review. (See here, here and
here.) Some of those are expected to come up next week and others at
the end of October. The board agenda, however, did not specify which
applications would be considered next week. Nor did it specify how many additional appeals have been filed in the round that was up for
approval in July.

Source:
http://californiastemcellreport.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss

Boost nutrition with foods that burn more calories than they contain

Posted: at 7:15 am


So-called zero-calorie foods, like celery and cucumbers, contain fewer calories than the body uses to break them down. And although nutritionists account for the energy it takes to chew and digest them when they calculate how many calories we need, these eats deserve prime spots on our plates. You can eat them in large quantities without busting your gut, and low-calorie doesn't mean low nutrients.

"And, obviously, if eating very low-calorie foods keeps you from eating higher calorie foods, that's a win," says Monica Reinagel, licensed nutritionist and creator of the Nutrition Diva podcast. So fill up your fridge with the following foods that are loaded with vitamins and minerals -- not calories.

Cucumbers

If you're tired of fending off hunger by guzzling glass after glass of water, snack on cucumber slices, instead. "Eating foods that are high in water can help you feel full at least temporarily by taking up a lot of space in your stomach," notes Reinagel. Cucumbers also pack vitamins K and C, potassium, and silica, which helps build and maintain connective tissue, like muscle, tendons, ligaments and bone.

Citrus fruit

Don't wait until cold season to fill up on oranges, tangerines, and grapefruit -- they may help whittle your middle. People with higher vitamin C levels have lower waist-to-hip ratios than those whose bodies contain less of the antioxidant, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. What's more, University of Arizona researchers found that those with higher levels of vitamin C oxidized 25% more fat during treadmill sessions than those with lower levels of the vitamin.

Leafy greens

Whatever variety you pick, you can't go wrong with piling a plate with salad greens. At 4 calories per cup, watercress is loaded with vitamins A, C and K, and a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating 3 ounces of the peppery green daily increases levels of the cancer-fighting antioxidants lutein and beta-carotene. Spinach (7 calories per cup) is brimming with vitamin K, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and selenium and contains a hormone that allows muscle tissue to repair itself faster, according to research from Rutgers University.

Asparagus

A half-cup of cooked asparagus will set you back only 20 calories. Plus, you'll get hefty doses of vitamins K and A, and B vitamins such as folic acid. Since B vitamins play a role in breaking down sugars and starches, eating asparagus may help regulate blood sugar and fend off type 2 diabetes.

View original post here:
Boost nutrition with foods that burn more calories than they contain

Fitness chain expanding to Hingham

Posted: at 7:15 am


Just four years after opening her first barre fitness studio on the South Shore, Jenny Anania is preparing to open her third Secret Physique location, this time in Hingham.

The lease for a studio in the South Shore Industrial Park has been signed and work has begun inside the space to get it ready for the class, which is a fitness fusion workout combining ballet, Pilates, and yoga.

But before doors can open in October, Anania must receive permission from both Hinghams Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Board to allow for a fitness operation in an industrially zoned space.

According to Zoning Administrator Sue Eddie, fitness studios are allowed under the zoning by special permit, which requires approval from both the zoning and planning boards.

A couple years ago, health clubs and gyms werent allowed in the industrial zones, but the board got [several] requests, Eddie said. It prompted them to take a look at it and [in 2009] Town Meeting approved it for a special permit.

Eddie said she expects the process for Secret Physique to go smoothly, mainly because there have been no objections raised by neighbors.

The owners of the building have already started [construction], so Im assuming they know its not a big deal, Anania said.

The opening is a big step for Anania, who said her business is rapidly growing in the region.

Established in Hanover in 2008, Secret Physique moved to Pembroke after a year due to space constraints. In 2011, Anania opened a location in Quincy. I lived in LA, where [barre] was growing. I was involved with barre out there and I thought this is the best thing ever, Anania said.

Other chains offering a similar barre program are trying to enter the Hingham market, said Anania, who was competing for a space with one business before deciding on the industrial park.

Read this article:
Fitness chain expanding to Hingham

Easton health offficials debate actions on EEE

Posted: at 7:14 am


Easton health officials this week will hear what residents have to say about a proposed regulation giving the Board of Health power to more strictly curtail outdoor activities during periods of heightened risk for mosquito-borne illness.

A public hearing on the regulation, which includes the ability to fine violators up to $1,000per offense, is set for 6:30 p.m.Tuesdayat Town Hall.

Based on e-mails sent to the Health Department, officials anticipate some resistance.

Theyre calling it anti-American, said health agent Mark Taylor.Some people in town think were becoming this heavy-handed thing, going around town busting up barbecues.

Based on that reaction, Taylor is refining the draft to make it clear that the Board of Health would limit its bans to activity on town-owned properties, although the bylaw would also include Frothingham and Militia parks,two popular public gathering places owned by trusts.

Easton has been called the epicenter of Eastern equine encephalitis virus activity this summer due to the number of infected mosquito pools found through state testing. The town has already received two treatments of aerial spraying, and while the mosquito population appears to be reduced, infected mosquito pools are still being found.

State health officials have strongly urged 26communities classified by the state as at critical or high risk for the disease to curtail outdoor evening activities for the remainder of the mosquito season. The Easton board has recommended that outdoor activities be curtailed but has not banned them.

State law provides boards of health with the authority to take actions to protect the public health and the spread of disease. Health agents in many communities, including Halifax, Kingston, Plympton, and Raynham, have invoked this statute to institute dusk-to-dawn bans on outdoor activities.

Easton would be taking this a step further if the Board of Health adopts a regulation that includes fines.

The towns lawyer, Jason Talerman said, in his opinion, the state statute doesnt provide the board of health with the power to say people cant use certain properties, but the statute says the board of health can pass regulations.

Read more:
Easton health offficials debate actions on EEE

The Dannon Company Awards Minster Athletic Boosters The 2012 Dannon Next Generation Nutrition® Grant

Posted: September 1, 2012 at 10:11 pm


MINSTER, Ohio, Sept.1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --The Dannon Company, Inc. today awarded the Minster Athletic Boosters a Dannon Next Generation Nutrition Grant totaling $30,000 in support of the Minster Memorial Field improvement project, Honoring the Past While Building for the Future. Dannon presented Minster Athletic Boosters with the award during a ceremony that preceded Minster High School's first 2012-2013 home varsity football game.

(Photo:http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120901/NY66803)

Honoring the Past While Building for the Future will provide Minster High School students and the broader town of Minster with a fully renovated athletic complex, new track, field space and additional revamped physical facilities. The award builds upon existing nutrition and fitness programs that began at Minster Local Schools through a partnership with the Auglaize/Mercer County YMCAa partnership that, in 2006, was awarded the very first Dannon Next Generation Nutrition Grant in Ohio.

"With this grant, Dannon is helping provide all of Minster's residents with an essential means of reaching their healthy lifestyle and fitness goals," said Bruce Thobe, president of Minster Athletic Boosters. "We're honored to have Dannon as our partner in our efforts to promote active lifestyles for all of Minster's residents."

"The Dannon Company is happy to support the Boosters' efforts to provide a safe fitness facility for all of Minster's residents," said Gayle Binney, Dannon's corporate responsibility manager. "For the last 70 years, Dannon has created great-tasting yogurt that provides essential daily nutrients like calcium, protein and potassium while also promoting healthy lifestyles and initiatives that blend nutrition with fitness. We encourage people to eat one yogurt every day as part of their three recommended servings of low-fat dairy every day."

Dannon established the Dannon Next Generation Nutrition Grant to promote childhood nutrition education in each of the four communities where a Dannon facility is located. As part of the program, Dannon contributes $30,000 to one non-profit organization in each of the following communities ($120,000 in total) Auglaize, Mercer, Darke, or Shelby County, Ohio; Salt Lake County, Utah; Tarrant County, Texas; and Westchester County, New York, for programs that nurture healthy eating habits among children. Over the last seven years, programs funded through the Dannon Next Generation Nutrition Grant have reached more than 17,000 children in Ohio.

Today's grant ceremony, held just prior to Minster High School's first varsity football home game, was attended by Ohio State Representative John Adams, Auglaize County Commissioner John Bergman, Auglaize County Commissioner Don Regula, Minster Athletic Boosters President Bruce Thobe; Dannon Corporate Responsibility Manager Gayle Binney; and Dannon's Minster, Ohio Senior Plant Director Doug Roy.

About the Minster Athletic Booster ClubThe Minster Athletic Booster Club has been in service for more than 30 years, and is dedicated to providing support for Minster's student athletes and financial backing to improve athletic facilities and equipment for all sports teams in the school district and community. The Minster Athletic Booster Club serves all seventh through twelfth graders (455 students) in the Minster school district, and has to date been responsible for the construction of a full athletic complex, latex track, strength facility, football stadium, baseball field and more. The Minster Athletic Booster Club help the children of Minster, Ohio understand that good nutrition and physical activity go hand-in-hand in creating a healthy lifestyle.

About Honoring the Past while Building for the FutureThe Minster Athletic Booster Club's Minster Memorial Field improvement project, Honoring the Past While Building for the Future, is a program designed to assist the youth of Minster Local Schools in their efforts to maintain personal fitness and healthy living. The program provides the local community with a fully renovated athletic complex, set to open in the fall of 2012. This award builds upon existing nutrition and fitness programs initiated at Minster Local Schools when they partnered with the Auglaize/Mercer County YMCA to receive the first Dannon Next Generation Nutrition Grant awarded in Ohio in 2006. Today, the Minster Local Schools include healthy meal programs, nutrition label reading, taste tests, and more during the school year to ensure that Minster students know how to build a strong body by eating healthy foods and staying active.

About The Dannon Company, Inc.Celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2012 and headquartered in White Plains, New York, Dannon has plants in Minster, OH, Fort Worth, TX, West Jordan, UT, and Portland, OR. Dannon makes more than 200 different flavors, styles and sizes of cultured refrigerated and frozen dairy products to serve its retail and foodservice customers. In its pursuit to bring health through food to as many people as possible, Dannon is committed to Americans enjoying yogurt every day as one of the three recommended daily servings of dairy.

Originally posted here:
The Dannon Company Awards Minster Athletic Boosters The 2012 Dannon Next Generation Nutrition® Grant

Making Fitness a Family Affair

Posted: at 10:11 pm


Posted on: 12:00 am, September 1, 2012, by David Wells, updated on: 05:51pm, August 6, 2012

by Margaret H. Evans, Engine Contributor myRegence.com

For some people, fitness is a hit-or-miss proposition. But for the Mabey family of Bountiful, Utah, its more like a part-time job.

Fred and Jeri Mabey and teenage son Chris are serious triathlon competitors and spend 10-12 hours a week training for competitions. Chris began competing in kids triathlons when he was 12, and because he was so young, one of his parents had to volunteer at the competitions. Jeri and Fred eventually decided to compete as well, and now the family has participated in close to 20 triathlons together.

In addition to the physical benefits of swimming, biking and running, the Mabeys enjoy sharing a common goal.

It gives us a common link so that we have something to talk about, Jeri says. Its been a really good thing for our family, especially because when you have teenagers, there are not that many things that you can do together that you all enjoy.

While not every family will be as ambitious as the Mabeys, all families can benefit from family fitness.

Pursuing Common Interests As a family, were working on developing shared fitness interests, says mom Nancy Parode. Were all preparing for biking experiences this summer. A family friend recently acquired several horses and has offered riding lessons. We plan to try this new sport and see if its something wed like to do as a family.

Parode also notes that she tries hard to listen and take action when her children express interest in a new activity or sport.

This has led to archery lessons, ice skating sessions and Irish-dance classes.

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Making Fitness a Family Affair

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