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Past News Items - April 2020

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In the News

New Study: Infant Gut Health Must Focus on Microbiome Function, Not Diversity

COVID-19 Video Survival Guide for Nurses Offered for Free

Maryland University of Integrative Health announces new partnership with National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching

Designs for Health Announces the first Company-wide Coronavirus Antibody Testing

Released: 04/14/20

New Study: Infant Gut Health Must Focus on Microbiome Function, Not Diversity

The concepts of ecology, conservation, and restoration typically conjure images of natural woodlands, water systems and air quality. However, a new peer-reviewed perspective by Evolve BioSystems is taking a page from ecology playbooks in an effort to assist neonatologists and other pediatric health care professionals in assessing the state of the infant gut microbiome, which plays a significant role in immune development and metabolism in infants.

The paperIntegrating the ecosystem services framework to define dysbiosis of the breastfed infant gut: the role of B. infantis and human milk oligosaccharides, appears in the Nutrition and Microbes section of Frontiers in Nutrition

The conventional definition of microbiome health had previously been based on diversity – that is, the number and variety of different bacteria in the gut. However, the diversity model presents a simplistic view and has limited value because it cannot be classified as good or bad. Typically, older children and adults are thought to require a diverse array of bacteria to support gut health and to break down a wide range of foods. However, infants who are breastfed receive their nutrition from breastmilk, and a specialized bacterium has evolved to help infants maximize the utility of this single source of nutrition. Numerous studies have identified Bifidobacterium longum subspecies infantis (B. infantis) as the critical beneficial bacterium associated with infant gut health and immune development.

"There's widespread misperception that the health of the infant gut microbiome is defined by the diversity of bacteria present; however, infants don't need a range of bacteria, they simply need the right bacteria for gut health," said Rebbeca Duar, PhD, lead study author and senior scientist in microbiology for Evolve BioSystems, Inc. "Our recommendations are the first to enable neonatologists and pediatricians to objectively determine infant gut health based on the presence of the bacteria most critical to gut function."

Inspired from the Outside, In

Dr. Duar and her colleagues looked outside of human biology to the field of ecology for a model that provided the most objective approach to defining functional ecological health. The team applied the ecosystem services model, an approach used by environmental ecologists to identify and assess the benefits humans receive from  natural environmental ecosystems – supporting services for structure, provisioning services to feed the system, and regulating services to maintain system balance.

Applied to the infant gut microbiome, the microorganisms that live in the gastrointestinal tract of newborns, the approach can identify and assess the presence and impact of specific bacteria that structure, feed and regulate gut health, thus guiding care strategy for infants. The gut microbiome plays a pivotal role in the development and regulation of the immune system and develops early in life from exposure to bacteria from the mother during childbirth. However, high prevalence of Cesarean deliveries and high incidence of antibiotic use negatively impact infant exposure to these bacteria, thus hampering the development of a healthy gut microbiome and immune system.

Dr. Duar and team validated the hypothesis by analyzing the impact of feeding a specific strain of probiotic bacteria to breastfed infants: activated B. infantis EVC001. Applying the ecosystem services model, the team validated the critical functional role B. infantis EVC001 plays in breaking down human oligosaccharides from breastmilk to release energy for the infant, regulate immune development, and prevent the growth of pathogenic gut bacteria.

"With a firm, objective definition of gut dysbiosis based on biological function, not diversity, we've set a new bar for evaluating the health of the infant gut and established a path by which clinicians can more effectively assess the impact of medical interventions and specific probiotics," said Steven Frese, PhD, director of microbiology and bioinformatics at Evolve and the corresponding author of the study. "Together with new research on the role that the microbiome plays in early life, our team at Evolve is setting a new standard in the infant gut microbiome space and how this community can shape infant health, both short and long term."

About Evolve BioSystems, Inc.
Evolve BioSystems, Inc. is a privately held microbiome company dedicated to researching solutions to establish, restore, and maintain a healthy gut microbiome. Evolve is a portfolio company of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Horizons Ventures, the venture division of the Li Ka Shing Foundation. Evolve is a spin-off from the Foods for Health Institute (FFHI) at the University of California, Davis and builds on more than a decade of research into understanding the unique partnership of the infant gut microbiome and breast milk components.

Released: 04/14/20

COVID-19 Video Survival Guide for Nurses Offered for Free

Attorney and Nurse Lorie Brown, R.N., M.N., J.D., is offering a free video speaker series to nurses across the U.S. and the world to help them deal with the stress and daily demands of helping and treating COVID patients. Brown has created the COVID-19 Video Survival Guide for Nurses and Healthcare Practitioners to help those at the epicenter of this relentless and highly contagious virus: A new video will be emailed to the recipient every day.


"Being a nurse myself, as well as an attorney, I know what it's like to deal with the stress of exposure to illness while still wanting to provide the best care possible to patients. I was a nurse at St. John's Hospital, Santa Monica, CA at the height of the AIDS crisis. Multiply that times a thousand, and you can only begin to understand what nurses across the globe are going through right now. I wanted to do something to help nurses get through their day, armed with a new perspective, an enlightened opinion, or maybe just a fresh glimmer of hope before entering into the front lines of COVID healthcare once again."

The speaker series features 18 experts from across the country including an infectious-disease physician, a nurse practitioner on hypnotherapy, board-certified homeopath, workers' compensation and unemployment law attorneys, and several nurses with expertise in the areas of intuitive eating, mindfulness, meditation, nutrition, and sleep.

Each speaker segment is under thirty minutes – enough time to digest on a nurse's commute to work. One can pick and choose one or more segments that can be shared with others across all social media platforms.

Brown is a San Diego resident and is a globally known nurse attorney, author of three books, and President-Elect of the American Association of Nurse Attorneys. She became a registered nurse in 1982 after graduating from Indiana University and has worked in medical-surgical nursing and management. She received her M.N. in Nursing Administration in 1984, and Clinical Nurse Specialist Medical-Surgical Nursing at UCLA and then went on to obtain her law degree from Indiana University in 1990.

As a nurse attorney, Brown has worked for the State of Indiana in medical malpractice defense and for a private law firm. She started Brown Law Office, P.C. in 1999 as a legal nurse consultant and then added professional licensing defense to represent nurses and other healthcare providers before licensing boards. In 2012, she founded to help nurses protect their licenses while learning to "speak their mind, stand in their power and be a change agent to improve healthcare."

Released: 04/14/20

Maryland University of Integrative Health announces new partnership with National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching

Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) announced today that it is now an approved Continuing Education Provider for the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC). This partnership expands MUIH’s role as a leader in the education of health and wellness coaches. MUIH’s Professional and Continuing Education (PCE) Department offers a wide range of professional development courses in flexible formats that provide health and wellness coaches with opportunities to sharpen their skills, develop new areas of expertise, and earn additional credentials.

“Health and wellness coaches are an essential part of an integrative model of health and healthcare to promote a whole-person centered approach to wellbeing. It’s an exciting time for the field as more credentialed health and wellness coaches are needed, and all practitioners can benefit from coaching skills to support lasting behavior change in their clients and patients. We are thrilled to be approved as a qualified Continuing Education Provider for NBHWC to provide advanced and relevant continuing education programming for health and wellness coaches to thrive and excel in their profession,” said Beth Romanski, director of professional and continuing education at MUIH.

Health and wellness coaching has been identified as a cutting edge career. It has emerged as a $6 billion service market in the U.S., with an estimated 109,000 health and wellness coaches and health educators.  

Leigh-Ann Webster, executive director for NBHWC, said, "The NBHWC is excited to welcome MUIH as an approved health and wellness coach training program. It's wonderful to see this University provide a learning experience centered on the interconnection of mind, body, and spirit, and I look forward to supporting graduates from MUIH who would like to become National Board Certified (NBC-HWC). This is such a growing industry with a lot of opportunities for health & wellness coaches in healthcare!" For more information about MUIH Professional and Continuing Education offerings, visit

About Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH)

Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) is a leading academic institution focused on the study and practice of integrative health and wellness and one of the few universities in the U.S. dedicated solely to such practices. Deeply rooted in a holistic philosophy, its model for integrative health and wellness is grounded in whole-person, relationship-centered, evidence-informed care.For more information visit

About National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC)

The National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC) is a nonprofit affiliate of the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). Its mission is to lead the advancement of health and wellness coaching by establishing professional standards and collaborative partnerships. For more information visit

Released: 04/14/20

Designs for Health Announces the first Company-wide Coronavirus Antibody Testing

Designs for Health, Inc. (DFH) – a leading practitioner-channel dietary supplement and nutraceutical company, announces the first company-wide coronavirus antibody testing will be taking place for their employees and contractors on Thursday, April 16th. The FDA-approved blood serum test is designed to detect antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 (the virus is named SARS-CoV-2.) Antibodies are produced by your immune system as part of its response to fighting foreign invaders like viruses. Test results may indicate one of three primary outcomes:

  • Active infection
  • Past infection and some level of immunity
  • No exposure and no immunity

The level of immunity and the length of time it lasts are not known, but researchers are actively working to understand this. According to Dr. David Brady, Chief Medical Officer, for both Designs for Health, Inc., and Diagnostic Solutions Laboratory, "The test is one of the first indicators that will help organizations, companies, medical professionals, etc., to begin the process of assessing how to roll out a back to work strategy. Currently there are no guidelines as to how companies and people should prepare for this, though we believe tests such as this will form part of this guidance."

Diagnostic Solutions Laboratory (DSL) has developed three critical tests for COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2: an oral and nasopharyngeal swab diagnostic test for COVID-19, and a stool analysis and blood serum test for SARS-CoV-2. The blood serum test provides information about whether an individual's immune system has responded in some way to an exposure to SARS-CoV-2. The results will help understand whether an individual has been exposed to the virus, and if so, whether some level of immunity is present. This test can be used for screening of both people with symptoms and people without symptoms, which is extremely important as recent studies suggest a high percentage of people who carry the virus show no clinical symptoms. As a blood draw is necessary, these tests will only be conducted under the order of an appropriately licensed healthcare provider and administered by licensed phlebotomists, and the results are strictly governed by HIPAA regulations. "This is a much more accurate test than the bloodspot test that is also currently being used on individuals who are asymptomatic. Without doing a blood draw and getting enough serum, you cannot accurately find people who have been exposed in the past, and, more importantly, have some level of immunity," commented Tony Hoffman, President and CEO, Diagnostic Solutions Laboratory.

As an essential business, DFH, has been working to maintain adequate supplies of much needed dietary supplements and nutraceuticals to meet physician and consumer demand. Jonathan Lizotte, Founder and Chairman of Designs for Health, Inc., felt that taking this first step towards trying to normalize the process of returning to work would help give employees some peace of mind. "We are living in unchartered times and whatever we can do to help people through this terrible crisis we will," said Lizotte. "All the tests will be performed by Diagnostic Solutions Laboratory, and the results will be sent directly to each individual along with general information about the range of possible results. DFH will have no access to the employees' individual results, which are their personal health information. We have instructed people whose antibody test shows they may be fighting an active infection to self-quarantine and contact their healthcare provider right away. If the results indicate a past infection and current immunity, they may be a good candidate to donate plasma. We will provide information about where employees can donate plasma in their local areas when this information becomes available. At the end of the day, the health of everyone in our company is a top priority for us."

According to experts, it will be important to understand how much the SARS-CoV-2 virus has spread throughout society, and while the logistics of testing everybody will not be feasible, gathering data from a statistically relevant number of the population will be critical in understanding long term health implications and treatments.

As companies, states and governments look to both health and economic recovery, it will take a concerted effort from both the public and the private sector to navigate short- and long-term strategies that are both equitable and sustainable.

Testing for DFH employees and contractors will be taking place on Thursday April 16th in the following locations, maintaining the appropriate social distancing, hand hygiene, and enhanced sanitation guidelines:

FLORIDA:        14 Commerce Blvd, Palm Coast, FL 32164
CONNECTICUT:     980 South Street. Suffield, CT 06078.

Testing will be made available to employees and contractors at other US and international DFH locations as soon as phlebotomists become available and regulations allow.

About Designs for Health:
Family-owned Designs for Health, Inc. offers high-quality dietary supplements and functional foods to healthcare professionals and their patients. Guided by its founding philosophy of "Science First," the company holds an unwavering commitment to creating research-driven formulations with meaningful quantities of therapeutic ingredients that maximize the potential for successful health outcomes. For over 30 years, Designs for Health has been many healthcare professionals' trusted source for not only product innovation, but also leadership in clinical education and practice development solutions.
To learn more, visit or call 800.847.8302.

About Diagnostic Solutions Laboratory:
Diagnostic Solutions Laboratory is the leader in DNA-based functional medicine testing. In addition to the new COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 testing options, DSL offers the GI-MAP stool test, which accurately and quantitatively detects parasites, bacteria, fungi, and other opportunistic organisms to provide insight into gut and immune health. DSL also offers the GenomicInsight™ Genomic Health Profile, which uses the advanced artificial intelligence powered by Opus 23 Explorer® to provide unique insight into patient genomics.

Learn more about Diagnostic Solutions Laboratory and its testing at or call 877-485-5336.

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