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Past News Items - October 2019

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In the News

Only Half of U.S. Children Get Enough Sleep During the Week

High-salt Diet Promotes Cognitive Impairment Through the Alzheimer-Linked Protein Tau

Daily exposure to blue light may accelerate aging, even if it doesn’t reach your eyes, study suggests

2nd Annual Survey of Registered Dietitian Reveals Two-Thirds of Dietitians Recommend Food and Supplements to their Clients and the Majority Take Supplements Daily

Five Studies Show Mindfulness Improves Presenteeism, Reduces Stress, and Associated Health Costs

Vitamin Angels Announces $7.5M Pledge to Improve Global Maternal Health and Birth Outcomes By 2022

2019 Dr. Rogers Prize for Excellence in Complementary and Alternative Medicine awarded to Dr. Bonnie J. Kaplan, PhD

NIH-funded study suggests high lead levels during pregnancy linked to child obesity

Fluxion Biosciences Receives NIH Grant for Development of Advanced Non-Invasive Prenatal Test

Released: 10/27/19

Only Half of U.S. Children Get Enough Sleep During the Week

Only 48% of school age children in the United States get 9 hours of sleep most weeknights, according to new research being presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) 2019 National Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans. Those who do, the study suggests, are significantly more likely to show a positive outlook toward school and other signs of “childhood flourishing,” a measure of behavioral and social well-being.

An abstract of the study, “Sounding the Alarm on the Importance of Sleep: The Positive Impact of Sufficient Sleep on Childhood Flourishing,” will be presented on Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.

“Chronic sleep loss is a serious public health problem among children,” said abstract author Hoi See Tsao, MD, FAAP. “Insufficient sleep among adolescent, for example, is associated with physical and mental health consequences including increased risk of depression and obesity and negative effects on mood, attention and academic performance.”

“As healthcare providers, we want every child to reach his or her full potential, Dr. Tsao said. “Our research shows that children who get enough sleep are more likely to demonstrate measures of childhood flourishing in comparison to children with insufficient sleep.”

Researchers analyzed responses from parents and caregivers of 49,050 children ranging in age from 6-17 years old in the combined 2016-2017 National Survey of Children’s Health. They answered questions on how many hours of sleep a randomly selected child in their household slept on an average weeknight. For the study, sufficient sleep was defined as sleeping greater than or equal to 9 hours on an average weeknight.

For individual flourishing markers, the caregiver was asked if the child showed interest and curiosity in learning new things; cared about doing well in school; did required homework; worked to finish tasks started and stayed calm and in control when faced with a challenge. Prior research suggests that the more flourishing markers children have, the more likely they are to have healthy behaviors and fewer

risky behaviors. A combined flourishing measure was created to identify children for whom caregivers felt met all five individual flourishing markers.

The researchers found that sufficient sleep, reported in 47.6% of the 6 to 17-year-old children, was positively associated with several individual flourishing markers, as well as the combined childhood flourishing measure. Compared with children who did not get 9 hours of sleep most weeknights, those who did had 44% increased odds of showing interest and curiosity in learning new things, 33% increased odds of doing all required homework; 28% increased odds of caring about doing well in school; 14% increased odds of working to finish tasks started, and 12% increased odds of demonstrating the combined flourishing measure.

The analysis adjusted for age, federal poverty level, time spent in front of a television, time spent with computers, cell phones, video games and other electronic devices, adverse childhood experiences (including abuse, neglect and other potentially traumatic experiences) and mental health conditions.

The researchers also identified risk factors associated with insufficient sleep, which included lower levels of parental or caregiver education, children living in families at lower federal poverty levels, increased duration of digital media usage, increased number of adverse childhood experiences and the presence of mental health conditions.

Dr. Tsao said the study reinforces the importance of increasing efforts to help children get the recommended amount of sleep for their age. She said efforts should especially focus on digital media usage, bedtime routines, the length of the school day and school start times.

“Interventions like these may help children demonstrate more measures of childhood flourishing, enhance their development and give them brighter futures,” she said.

# # #

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit Reporters can access the meeting program and other relevant meeting information through the AAP meeting website at

Released: 10/27/19

High-salt Diet Promotes Cognitive Impairment Through the Alzheimer-Linked Protein Tau

A high-salt diet may negatively affect cognitive function by causing a deficiency of the compound nitric oxide, which is vital for maintaining vascular health in the brain, according to a new study in mice from Weill Cornell Medicine researchers. When nitric oxide levels are too low, chemical changes to the protein tau occur in the brain, contributing to dementia.

In the study, published Oct. 23 in Nature, the investigators sought to understand the series of events that occur between salt consumption and poor cognition and concluded that lowering salt intake and maintaining healthy blood vessels in the brain may “stave off” dementia. Accumulation of tau deposits has been implicated in the development of Alzheimer’s disease in humans.

“Our study proposes a new mechanism by which salt mediates cognitive impairment and also provides further evidence of a link between dietary habits and cognitive function,” said lead study author Dr. Giuseppe Faraco, an assistant professor of research in neuroscience in the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute at Weill Cornell Medicine.

The new study builds upon research published last year in Nature Neuroscience by Dr. Faraco and senior author Dr. Costantino Iadecola, director and chair of the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute and the Anne Parrish Titzell Professor of Neurology at Weill Cornell Medicine.

The 2018 study found that a high-salt diet caused dementia in mice. The rodents became unable to complete daily living tasks such as building their nests and had problems passing memory tests. The research team determined that the high-salt diet was causing cells in the small intestine to release the molecule interleukin-17 (IL-17), which promotes inflammation as part of the body’s immune response.

IL-17 then entered the bloodstream and prevented the cells in the walls of blood vessels feeding the brain from producing nitric oxide. This compound works by relaxing and widening the blood vessels, allowing blood to flow. Conversely, a shortage of nitric oxide can restrict blood flow.

Based on these findings, Dr. Iadecola, Dr. Faraco and their colleagues theorized that salt likely caused dementia in mice because it contributed to restricted blood flow to the brain, essentially starving it. However, as they continued their research, they realized that the restricted blood flow in mice was not severe enough to prevent the brain from functioning properly.

“We thought maybe there was something else going on here,’” Dr. Iadecola said. In their new Nature study, the investigators found that decreased nitric oxide production in blood vessels affects the stability of tau proteins in neurons. Tau provides structure for the scaffolding of neurons. This scaffolding, also called the cytoskeleton, helps to transport materials and nutrients across neurons to support their function and health.

“Tau becoming unstable and coming off the cytoskeleton causes trouble,” Dr. Iadecola said, adding that tau is not supposed to be free in the cell. Once tau detaches from the cytoskeleton, the protein can accumulate in the brain, causing cognitive problems. The researchers determined that healthy levels of nitric oxide keep tau in check. “It puts the brakes on activity caused by a series of enzymes that leads to tau disease pathology,” he said.

To further explore the importance of tau in dementia, the researchers gave mice with a high-salt diet and restricted blood flow to the brain an antibody to promote tau stability. Despite restricted blood flow, researchers observed normal cognition in these mice. “This demonstrated that's what's really causing the dementia was tau and not lack of blood flow,” Dr. Iadecola said.

Overall, this study highlights how vascular health is important to the brain. “As we demonstrated, there's more than one way that the blood vessels keep the brain healthy,” Dr. Iadecola said.  

Although research on salt intake and cognition in humans is needed, the current mouse study is a reminder for people to regulate salt consumption, Dr. Iadecola said. “And the stuff that is bad for us doesn’t come from a saltshaker, it comes from processed food and restaurant food,” he said. “We’ve got to keep salt in check. It can alter the blood vessels of the brain and do so in vicious way.”

Dr. Costantino Iadecola, Dr. Giuseppe Faraco, Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute, Research, News from WCM

Released: 10/27/19

Daily exposure to blue light may accelerate aging, even if it doesn’t reach your eyes, study suggests

Prolonged exposure to blue light, such as that which emanates from your phone, computer and household fixtures, could be affecting your longevity, even if it’s not shining in your eyes.

New research at Oregon State University suggests that the blue wavelengths produced by light-emitting diodes damage cells in the brain as well as retinas.

The study, published in Aging and Mechanisms of Disease, involved a widely used organism, Drosophila melanogaster, the common fruit fly, an important model organism because of the cellular and developmental mechanisms it shares with other animals and humans.

Jaga Giebultowicz, a researcher in the OSU College of Science who studies biological clocks, led a research collaboration that examined how flies responded to daily 12-hour exposures to blue LED light – similar to the prevalent blue wavelength in devices like phones and tablets – and found that the light accelerated aging.

Flies subjected to daily cycles of 12 hours in light and 12 hours in darkness had shorter lives compared to flies kept in total darkness or those kept in light with the blue wavelengths filtered out. The flies exposed to blue light showed damage to their retinal cells and brain neurons and had impaired locomotion – the flies’ ability to climb the walls of their enclosures, a common behavior, was diminished.

Some of the flies in the experiment were mutants that do not develop eyes, and even those eyeless flies displayed brain damage and locomotion impairments, suggesting flies didn’t have to see the light to be harmed by it.

“The fact that the light was accelerating aging in the flies was very surprising to us at first,” said Giebultowicz, a professor of integrative biology. “We’d measured expression of some genes in old flies, and found that stress-response, protective genes were expressed if flies were kept in light. We hypothesized that light was regulating those genes. Then we started asking, what is it in the light that is harmful to them, and we looked at the spectrum of light. It was very clear cut that although light without blue slightly shortened their lifespan, just blue light alone shortened their lifespan very dramatically.”

Natural light, Giebultowicz notes, is crucial for the body’s circadian rhythm – the 24-hour cycle of physiological processes such as brain wave activity, hormone production and cell regeneration that are important factors in feeding and sleeping patterns.

“But there is evidence suggesting that increased exposure to artificial light is a risk factor for sleep and circadian disorders,” she said. “And with the prevalent use of LED lighting and device displays, humans are subjected to increasing amounts of light in the blue spectrum since commonly used LEDs emit a high fraction of blue light. But this technology, LED lighting, even in most developed countries, has not been used long enough to know its effects across the human lifespan.”

Giebultowicz says that the flies, if given a choice, avoid blue light.

“We’re going to test if the same signaling that causes them to escape blue light is involved in longevity,” she said.

Eileen Chow, faculty research assistant in Giebultowicz’s lab and co-first author of the study, notes that advances in technology and medicine could work together to address the damaging effects of light if this research eventually proves applicable to humans.

“Human lifespan has increased dramatically over the past century as we’ve found ways to treat diseases, and at the same time we have been spending more and more time with artificial light,” she said. “As science looks for ways to help people be healthier as they live longer, designing a healthier spectrum of light might be a possibility, not just in terms of sleeping better but in terms of overall health.”

In the meantime, there are a few things people can do to help themselves that don’t involve sitting for hours in darkness, the researchers say. Eyeglasses with amber lenses will filter out the blue light and protect your retinas. And phones, laptops and other devices can be set to block blue emissions.

“In the future, there may be phones that auto-adjust their display based on the length of usage the phone perceives,” said lead author Trevor Nash, a 2019 OSU Honors College graduate who was a first-year undergraduate when the research began. “That kind of phone might be difficult to make, but it would probably have a big impact on health.”

About the OSU College of Science:  As one of the largest academic units at OSU, the College of Science has seven departments and 12 pre-professional programs. It provides the basic science courses essential to the education of every OSU student, builds future leaders in science, and its faculty are international leaders in scientific research.

Released: 10/27/19

2nd Annual Survey of Registered Dietitian Reveals Two-Thirds of Dietitians Recommend Food and Supplements to their Clients and the Majority Take Supplements Daily

For the majority of health care professionals, food will always come first, but supplements do still have a place. In Trust Transparency Center's 2019 Registered Dietitian Insights Survey of 200 US-based registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) released today, 66% of RDNs stated they recommend both food and supplements to their clients and 70% personally take supplements four times or more per week.

Dietitian personal supplement usage
The top 10 supplements dietitians reported they personally used were:

1. Multivitamins/multivitamin injections (50%)
2.  Vitamin D (43%)
3.  Fish Oil/Omega/Krill (26%)
4.  Calcium (25%)
5.  Probiotics (17%)
6.  Vitamin C (10%)
7.  Protein (8%)
8.  Biotin (8%)
9.  Minerals (7%)
10. B Complex (6%)

These dietitians primarily rely on their own research when deciding to take supplements, with dietary deficiencies being the biggest concern (52%), followed by personal research (49%) and personal physician recommendation (31%). Other reasons for taking supplements include condition specific concerns such as inflammation, energy, GI issues, etc.

Dietitian Education and Knowledge of Supplements
Most dietitians surveyed were formally educated on the use of supplements, generally while obtaining their nutrition degree (73%) followed through by continuing education (60%). They stay informed regarding supplements via continuing education, medical journals, and colleagues.

Regarding nutritional ingredients, the supplementation conversation may need to extend to functional foods in order to appeal to dietitians that prefer food solutions.

Supplement Recommendations to Patients and Clients
Over three quarters of dietitians recommend supplements to 25% or more of their clients, and dietitians who use more supplements themselves are more likely to recommend them to their patients. The most popular reasons for making recommendations include dietary deficiencies, poor nutrition, caloric needs, wound care, GI or renal problems, and old age. The top five supplements they recommend are:

  • Multivitamin (and multivitamin injection) (50%)
  • Vitamin D (40%)
  • Calcium (27%)
  • Probiotics (20%)
  • Protein (18%)

Dietitians are also increasing their recommendations for specialty supplements such as prebiotics, CoQ10, curcumin/turmeric and collagen. These recommendations are being driven by an increase in research in these categories and dietitians being better informed. 

"Americans are generally failing with their diets and physicians have self-reported they're not equipped to address dietary concerns. Dietitians are the optimal conduit to educating people on nutritional needs and supplements have a clear place as part of other healthy lifestyle changes," said Traci Kantowski, Certified Health Coach and Trust Transparency Center's Communications Director. "This research shows that dietitians are taking supplements themselves and recommending them, but will benefit from more education."

TTC conducts this dietitian survey and other insight research on an annual basis.
TTC will be sharing these insights and other information on behalf of the Global Prebiotic Association, Global Curcumin Association and the Coconut Coalition of the Americas at Booth #964 at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) in Philadelphia October 27 to 29, 2019. Learn more at

SOURCE Trust Transparency Center

Released: 10/03/19

Five Studies Show Mindfulness Improves Presenteeism, Reduces Stress, and Associated Health Costs

New findings support use of mindfulness to tackle top challenges facing employers

When you reduce stress through mindfulness, you improve productivity and decrease healthcare costs, according to data presented today at The Integrated Benefits Institute and Conference Board Health and Productivity Forum in Chicago.

"Stress, lack of productivity, and rising healthcare costs continue to plague our nation's workforce," said Ruth Q. Wolever, PhD, speaker, Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Chief Science Officer for eMindful. "These findings confirm that mindfulness is a powerful tool to address some of the toughest challenges facing employers."

The five studies were conducted using gold standard methods to determine the impact of mindfulness on health and productivity. Participants in each study used eMindful's evidence-based, expert-led applied mindfulness programs via a mobile app or the web. The studies analyzed thousands of participants using the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), a widely used and validated instrument for measuring perception of stress, and the Work Limitations Questionnaire (WLQ), which assesses the degree to which physical health, emotional problems, and other factors interfere with one's ability to perform a job.

The first study (n = 149) found that mindfulness reduced stress levels with PSS scores dropping on average to 16 points from 25.

Study two (n = 683) found a significant correlation between stress and healthcare costs – less stressed individuals saved approximately $2,000 per year.

The third study showed dramatic improvements for physicians (n = 102) across the mindfulness program, and again 12 months (n = 27) after completing the program. Stress and productivity (p < 0.001) improvements were fully sustained one year later, showing the longitudinal impact of mindfulness.

The fourth study (n = 3,408) found that a reduction in stress significantly correlated with an improvement in productivity (r=0.45). Seventy-four percent of participants (n=2,522) decreased their stress levels (-7.28 on average) and gained an average 36 hours per year in productivity.

The final study (n = 2,123) found that of participants who practiced mindfulness for 14 minutes a day, at least three of 30 days, approximately 73% decreased their PSS scores (-6.18 on average).

Contact: Zev Suissa @ eMindful for additional information.

Released: 10/03/19

Vitamin Angels Announces $7.5M Pledge to Improve Global Maternal Health and Birth Outcomes By 2022

Vitamin Angels to accelerate availability and use of UNIMMAP-multiple micronutrient supplements (MMS) among pregnant women in low and middle-income countries (LMIC)


Vitamin Angels, a global public health organization that connects undernourished mothers and children with essential vitamins and minerals, announced its $7.5M commitment to improve global maternal health and birth outcomes by 2022 at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Goalkeepers event in New York City today. This commitment will support a newly launched program called "Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies," which challenges leaders and organizations globally to help pregnant women around the world gain access to multiple micronutrient supplementation consistent with the UNIMMAP formula.

Vitamin Angels' full commitment includes:

  1. Advocacy: At least $50,000 per year for 3 years to raise awareness among national level stakeholders in low and middle-income countries (LMIC) to the benefits of MMS.  
  2. Product Support: Incremental resources to connect at least 2.5 m, 180 count bottles of UNIMMAP–MMS over 3 years to hard-to-reach, pregnant women in LMICs through Vitamin Angels' network of field partners (including NGOs and governments).
  3. Technical Assistance: At least $400,000 per year for 3 years to support large healthcare systems in LMICs with the technical assistance needed to integrate UNIMMAP-MMS product into antenatal care services.
  4. Local Manufacturing: Sustained technical assistance to one or more manufacturers in one LMIC to enable local production of UNIMMAP–MMS.
  5. Collaboration with the Private Sector: Sustained collaboration with one or more corporate partners to integrate the UNIMMAP–MMS product formulation into their private label offerings, with a goal of positively affecting Vitamin Angels' cost structure for MMS procurement and distribution; while simultaneously raising awareness to the importance and proven efficacy of UNIMMAP–MMS for improving maternal health and birth outcomes. 

"We are pleased to be a 2019 Goalkeepers MMS Accelerator partner," said Kristen M. Hurley, PHD, MPH, Vitamin Angels' Director of Programs. "Our pledge will help improve maternal nutrition globally by advancing policies and programs that target the provision of MMS among pregnant women."

Vitamin Angels currently deploys UNIMMAP—MMS in 50+ countries around the world and works alongside other public health and nutrition organizations such as Micronutrient ForumKirk HumanitarianJohns Hopkins UniversitySight & Life, and the New York Academy of the Sciences to build evidence and advance global implementation of MSS.  

"Over the years we have seen the life-changing benefits that prenatal multivitamins have on undernourished pregnant women and their unborn, developing child," said Howard Schiffer, Vitamin Angels President & Founder. "We believe in a world where every mother has a healthy pregnancy and every child gets a chance at a healthy start to life. Through our Goalkeepers pledge, we are one step closer to reaching that world."  

This program was announced as a Goalkeepers Accelerator at the Goalkeepers annual event in New York today. Goalkeepers Accelerators bring together partners from different sectors around common agendas for action, seeking to catalyze investments, expertise, and innovation to drive further progress towards the Global Goals.

2019 marks the third year of Goalkeepers, an initiative dedicated to accelerating progress towards the Global Goals. The Goalkeepers annual event in New York is a gathering of approximately 400 world leaders, global activists, and community changemakers, using powerful stories, data and partnerships to highlight progress achieved, hold governments accountable and bring together a new generation of leaders to address the world's major challenges. 

About Vitamin Angels:
Founded in 1994, Vitamin Angels is a global public health organization working towards ending malnutrition worldwide by distributing life-changing vitamins and minerals to at-risk mothers and children under five in the U.S. and around the world. In 2019, Vitamin Angels will provide vitamins and minerals to over 70 million mothers and children in more than 70 countries, including in the U.S. Both Charity Navigator and GuideStar give Vitamin Angels their highest marks for financial transparency. To learn more, visit

Released: 10/03/19

2019 Dr. Rogers Prize for Excellence in Complementary and Alternative Medicine awarded to Dr. Bonnie J. Kaplan, PhD

The 2019 Dr. Rogers Prize for Excellence in Complementary and Alternative Medicine was awarded to Dr. Bonnie J. Kaplan of the University of Calgary at a gala award dinner held on September 26th in Vancouver, BC.


Dr. Kaplan is a professor emerita in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. In the late 1990's, she challenged the conventional model of psychiatric research by studying the role of nutrition in mental illness and brain disorders.  She dealt with skepticism and attacks on her work for over fifteen years, resolutely meeting and exceeding calls for evidence.  Her research provided the initial groundbreaking data showing that treatment with a broad spectrum of micronutrients, carefully formulated, could be used instead of psychotropic drugs to treat bipolar disorder and ADHD.

As a researcher, she questioned the longstanding paradigm of single nutrient research to establish the scientific basis for a broad spectrum micronutrient approach, eschewing industry funding in order to safeguard the integrity of her research. She has published widely on the biological basis of developmental disorders and mental health – particularly, the contribution of nutrition to brain development and brain function. She was the founding principal investigator of the Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition (APrON) study, an ongoing $5 million study tracking the development of several thousand children to analyze the relationship between maternal nutrient status and child health and development. She is a founding member of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research, which disseminates information and research about nutritional approaches to mental health. Her empirical research has resulted in over 170 peer-reviewed publications.

Now semi-retired, Dr. Kaplan lectures internationally on the importance of improving nutrient intake to prevent and treat psychiatric symptoms. She has also established two charitable funds in support of nutrient research, so far distributing $750,000 for clinical trials at universities in Canadathe United States and New Zealand.

Founded in 2007, the $250,000 Dr. Rogers Prize for Excellence in Complementary and Alternative Medicine highlights the important contributions of complementary and alternative medicine to health care. Funded by Vancouver's Lotte and John Hecht Memorial Foundation, the Prize is awarded every two years and is the largest of its kind.

The Dr. Rogers Prize recognizes those who embody the same level of vision, leadership and integrity as that of the late Dr. Roger Hayward Rogers.  Among the first physicians to provide nontraditional therapies for cancer patients, Dr. Rogers was appointed to the Order of British Columbia in 2001 in recognition of his groundbreaking work.


  • Dr. Alastair Cunningham (2007)
  • Dr. Abram Hoffer (2007)
  • Dr. Hal Gunn (2009)
  • Dr. Badri Rickhi (2009)
  • Dr. Marja Verhoef (2011)
  • Dr. Sunita Vohra (2013)
  • Dr. Heather Boon (2015)
  • Dr. Dugald Seely (2017)


Visit for more information.

Released: 10/03/19

NIH-funded study suggests high lead levels during pregnancy linked to child obesity

Folic acid may lower risk of being obese or overweight.



Children born to women who have high blood levels of lead are more likely be overweight or obese, compared to those whose mothers have low levels of lead in their blood, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health and Health Resources and Services Administration. The study was conducted by Xiaobin Wang, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and colleagues. It appears in JAMA Network Open.

Researchers analyzed data on 1,442 mother-child pairs from the Boston Birth Cohort, a large observational study that aims to determine the causes of preterm birth. Mothers’ blood samples were analyzed for lead exposure 24 to 72 hours after they gave birth. Children had their weight assessed periodically throughout childhood. At an average age of 8.1 years, children born to mothers with high lead levels were more than four times as likely to be overweight or obese than children born to mothers with low lead levels.

Among women who had high lead levels, the risk of their children being obese or overweight decreased if the women had adequate levels of folate 24 to 72 hours after giving birth. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all women of reproductive age consume 400 micrograms of folic acid (the synthetic form of folate) each day to help prevent neural tube defects, a class of birth defects affecting the brain and spine. Women in the study had earlier responded to a questionnaire indicating whether they had taken a supplement containing folic acid in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. The authors note that if their results are confirmed, testing pregnant women for lead exposure and then offering folic acid to those who have high levels could potentially reduce their children’s risk of being overweight or obese.

NIH funding was provided by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Lead exposure during pregnancy also may have harmful effects on mother and baby. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers advice on how pregnant women can reduce their exposure to lead.


John Ilekis, Ph.D., of NICHD’s Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch, is available for comment.


Wang, G. Association between maternal exposure to lead, maternal folate status, and intergenerational risk of childhood overweight and obesity. JAMA Network Open. 2019. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.12343.

About the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD): NICHD conducts and supports research in the United States and throughout the world on fetal, infant and child development; maternal, child and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit NICHD’s website.


About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

Released: 10/03/19

Fluxion Biosciences Receives NIH Grant for Development of Advanced Non-Invasive Prenatal Test

Grant will support development of Spotlight™ NIPT, a novel single-cell NGS assay for non-invasive fetal testing using the mother's blood sample

ALAMEDA, Calif., Oct. 3, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Fluxion Biosciences, a leading developer of precision solutions for life science research and diagnostics, today announced that it has received a National Institutes of Health grant for development of its novel Spotlight™ NIPT non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT). The Phase I grant will have a duration of 6-9 months, with clinical support from researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.

NIPT has achieved broad adoption in screening for chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome. The tests are easy to administer and most importantly they are non-invasive. For the vast majority of test takers the results are negative and no further action is required. However, positive results require additional invasive testing such as amniocentesis, since the current NIPT assays do not provide a definitive diagnosis. Fluxion has demonstrated that a cell-based approach can provide the levels of sensitivity and specificity needed for a true diagnostic test, eliminating the requirement for follow-up invasive testing.

The Spotlight™ NIPT development project includes validation of a model system for test development, integration of the key test components, and clinical testing to compare Spotlight™ NIPT performance to competitive NIPT tests that are currently used for screening. The test will be based on a novel isolation technology that selectively removes fetal cells from the mother's blood sample. The cells are then separated and tested for chromosomal abnormalities and other genetic variants using a single-cell next-generation sequencing (NGS) method pioneered by Fluxion.

"We are honored to receive this NIH grant and excited to develop the capabilities of our cell-based NIPT assay," stated Jeff Jensen, CEO. "Spotlight™ NIPT brings together several novel technologies pioneered here at Fluxion, and we look forward to advancing this important test to routine clinical use."

About Fluxion Biosciences

Fluxion's liquid biopsy solutions are revolutionizing how cancer is detected and treated. Fluxion's pioneering liquid biopsy technologies include the IsoFlux CTC Liquid Biopsy System, ERASE-Seq ultra-sensitive variant caller, and the Spotlight 59 NGS Oncology Panel for cancer mutation detection from cell-free circulating tumor DNA. Fluxion's technologies are used globally by leading cancer centers developing new tests for early cancer detection and patient monitoring. For more information about Fluxion Biosciences' liquid biopsy capabilities, visit

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