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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: 10/03/19

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 zev@emindful.com 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 www.vitaminangels.org.

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 www.drrogersprize.org 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 www.nih.gov.

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 liquidbiopsy.fluxionbio.com.

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