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Purdue University’s Distinguished Professor Emerita Delivers Two Research Talks at IMU

19 Mar 2020

It was truly an honour for the Institute for Research, Development and Innovation (IRDI) and Centre for Transformative Nutrition and Health (CTNH) of the International Medical University (IMU) to host Dr Connie Weaver, a Distinguished Professor Emerita of Nutrition Science at Purdue University, Indiana to deliver two research talks on 18 February 2020 at the IMU Bukit Jalil campus. Insightful and eye-opening talks at IMU on nutrition - related issues. The first talk was on Calcium, Gut Microbiota, and Bone Health. Calcium intakes around the world fall below recommendations, especially during puberty, a critical period for development of peak bone mass. One solution in addition to increasing calcium intakes is to increase calcium absorption efficiency or increase bone formation rates which can occur through dietary prebiotic supplementation. Prebiotics, such as galactosaccharides, inulin, and soluble corn fiber increase microbial fiber fermentation and production of soluble corn fiber, but the exact mechanisms are yet to be determined. During the first talk, Dr Weaver shared a few of her studies elucidating these mechanisms. The findings from her studies indicated that prebiotic supplements could improve our gut health and increase bone formation. This was followed by the second talk on Personalized Nutrition in Prevention of Chronic Disease. Subgroup differences including age, sex, and race in mineral metabolism in response to diet underlie some differences in risks to chronic diseases. Interestingly, Dr Weaver’s studies showed that increased calcium utilisation can explain the greater resistance to osteoporosis in males compared to females and blacks compared to other races. Also, greater sodium and calcium retention in blacks compared to whites on high salt diets leads to greater risk of hypertension and lower risk of osteoporosis. Besides, intakes of mineral ratios and dietary patterns may be more important than single nutrients. On top of that, females are better protected than males from sex steroid hormone deficiency induced bone loss by consuming fruits rich in polyphenols. Both the insightful and eye-opening talks were well-attended by not only students and faculties from IMU, but also the Ministry of Health Malaysia personnel as well as students from other public and private institutions.

About Dr Connie Weaver
Dr Weaver is a Distinguished Professor Emerita of Nutrition Science at Purdue University, Indiana and CEO of Weaver and Associates Consulting, LLC. She is an elected member of The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine since 2010. She is a fellow of the American Nutrition Society, the Institute of Food Technologists, the American College of Nutrition, and the American Heart Association. She is also a member of the Board of ILSI GC and on the Science Advisory Boards of FDA, Biofortis the California Prune Boards, and YINI. Dr Weaver was the past president of American Society for Nutritional Sciences and was appointed to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee for Americans.

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