Center for the Study of Human Health

Atlanta, GA, United States

Center for the Study of Human Health

Atlanta, GA, United States
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Pieroni A.,University of Gastronomic Sciences | Soukand R.,Estonian Literary Museum | Quave C.L.,Emory University | Quave C.L.,Center for the Study of Human Health | And 2 more authors.
Appetite | Year: 2017

A food ethnobotanical field study was conducted among the Gorani of South Kosovo, a small ethnic minority group that speaks a South-Slavic language and lives in the south of the country. We conducted forty-one semi-structured interviews in ten villages of the Kosovar Gora mountainous area and found that seventy-nine wild botanical and mycological taxa represent the complex mosaic of the food cultural heritage in this population. A large portion of the wild food plant reports refer to fermented wild fruit-based beverages and herbal teas, while the role of wild vegetables is restricted. A comparison of these data with those previously collected among the Gorani living in nearby villages within the territory of Albania, who were separated in 1925 from their relatives living in present-day Kosovo, shows that approximately one third of the wild food plant reports are the same. This finding demonstrates the complex nature of Kosovar Gorani ethnobotany, which could indicate the permanence of possible “original” Gorani wild plant uses (mainly including wild fruits-based beverages), as well as elements of cultural adaptation to Serbian and Bosniak ethnobotanies (mainly including a few herbal teas and mushrooms). © 2016 Elsevier Ltd


Nelson K.,Center for the Study of Human Health | Quave C.L.,Center for the Study of Human Health | Quave C.L.,Emory University
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) forms organized biofilms to persist in the human nasopharynx. This persistence allows the pneumococcus to produce severe diseases such as pneumonia, otitis media, bacteremia and meningitis that kill nearly a million children every year. While bacteremia and meningitis are mediated by planktonic pneumococci, biofilm structures are present during pneumonia and otitis media. The global emergence of S. pneumoniae strains resistant to most commonly prescribed antibiotics warrants further discovery of alternative therapeutics. The present study assessed the antimicrobial potential of a plant extract, 220D-F2, rich in ellagic acid, and ellagic acid derivatives, against S. pneumoniae planktonic cells and biofilm structures. Our studies first demonstrate that, when inoculated together with planktonic cultures, 220D-F2 inhibited the formation of pneumococcal biofilms in a dose-dependent manner. As measured by bacterial counts and a LIVE/DEAD bacterial viability assay, 100 and 200 μg/ml of 220D-F2 had significant bactericidal activity against pneumococcal planktonic cultures as early as 3 h post-inoculation. Quantitative MIC's, whether quantified by qPCR or dilution and plating, showed that 80 μg/ml of 220D-F2 completely eradicated overnight cultures of planktonic pneumococci, including antibiotic resistant strains. When preformed pneumococcal biofilms were challenged with 220D-F2, it significantly reduced the population of biofilms 3 h post-inoculation. Minimum biofilm inhibitory concentration (MBIC)50 was obtained incubating biofilms with 100 mg/ml of 220D-F2 for 3 h and 6 h of incubation. 220D-F2 also significantly reduced the population of pneumococcal biofilms formed on human pharyngeal cells. Our results demonstrate potential therapeutic applications of 220D-F2 to both kill planktonic pneumococcal cells and disrupt pneumococcal biofilms. © 2014 Talekar et al.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

The red berries of the Brazilian peppertree -- a weedy, invasive species common in Florida -- contain an extract with the power to disarm dangerous antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria, scientists at Emory University have discovered. The journal Scientific Reports is publishing the finding, made in the lab of Cassandra Quave, an assistant professor in Emory's Center for the Study of Human Health and in the School of Medicine's Department of Dermatology. "Traditional healers in the Amazon have used the Brazilian peppertree for hundreds of years to treat infections of the skin and soft tissues," Quave says. "We pulled apart the chemical ingredients of the berries and systematically tested them against disease-causing bacteria to uncover a medicinal mechanism of this plant." The researchers showed that a refined, flavone-rich composition extracted from the berries inhibits formation of skin lesions in mice infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus auereus (MRSA). The compound works not by killing the MRSA bacteria, but by repressing a gene that allows the bacteria cells to communicate with one another. Blocking that communication prevents the cells from taking collective action, a mechanism known as quorum quenching. "It essentially disarms the MRSA bacteria, preventing it from excreting the toxins it uses as weapons to damage tissues," Quave says. "The body's normal immune system then stands a better chance of healing a wound." The discovery may hold potential for new ways to treat and prevent antibiotic-resistant infections, a growing international problem. Antibiotic-resistant infections annually cause at least two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The United Nations last year called antibiotic-resistant infections a "fundamental threat" to global health and safety, citing estimates that they cause at least 700,000 deaths each year worldwide, with the potential to grow to 10 million deaths annually by 2050. Blasting deadly bacteria with drugs designed to kill them is helping to fuel the problem of antibiotic resistance. Some of the stronger bacteria may survive these drug onslaughts and proliferate, passing on their genes to offspring and leading to the evolution of deadly "super bugs." In contrast, the Brazilian peppertree extract works by simply disrupting the signaling of MRSA bacteria without killing it. The researchers also found that the extract does not harm the skin tissues of mice, or the normal, healthy bacteria found on skin. "In some cases, you need to go in heavily with antibiotics to treat a patient," Quave says. "But instead of always setting a bomb off to kill an infection, there are situations where using an anti-virulence method may be just as effective, while also helping to restore balance to the health of a patient. More research is needed to better understand how we can best leverage anti-virulence therapeutics to improve patient outcomes." Quave, a leader in the field of medical ethnobotany and a member of the Emory Antibiotic Resistance Center, studies how indigenous people incorporate plants in healing practices to uncover promising candidates for new drugs. The Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolia) is native to South America but thrives in subtropical climates. It is abundant in much of Florida, and has also crept into southern areas of Alabama, Georgia, Texas and California. Sometimes called the Florida holly or broad leaf peppertree, the woody plant forms dense thickets that crowd out native species. "The Brazilian peppertree is not some exotic and rare plant found only on a remote mountaintop somewhere," Quave says. "It's a weed, and the bane of many a landowner in Florida." From an ecological standpoint, it makes sense that weeds would have interesting chemistry, Quave adds. "Persistent, weedy plants tend to have a chemical advantage in their ecosystems, which help may protect them from diseases so they can more easily spread in a new environment." The studies co-authors include Amelia Muhs and James Lyles (Emory Center for the Study of Human Health); Kate Nelson (Emory School of Medicine); and Corey Parlet, Jeffery Kavanaugh and Alexander Horswill (University of Iowa). The laboratory experiments were conducted in collaboration between the Quave and Horswill labs with funding from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, National Institutes of Health. The Quave lab is now doing additional research to confirm the safest and most effective means of using the Brazilian peppertree extract. The next step would be pre-clinical trials to test its medicinal benefits. "If the pre-clinical trials are successful, we will apply for an application to pursue clinical trials, under the Food and Drug Administration's botanical drug pathway," Quave says. The Brazilian peppertree finding follows another discovery made by the Quave lab in 2015: The leaves of the European chestnut tree also contain ingredients with the power to disarm staph bacteria without increasing its drug resistance. While both the Brazilian peppertree and chestnut tree extracts disrupted the signaling needed for quorum quenching, the two extracts are made up of different chemical compounds.


News Article | November 14, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Liquid-based nutritional supplements, originally formulated for malnourished or undernourished children, need more regulatory oversight as they are increasingly marketed to promote growth in children generally, warn researchers at Emory University. The journal Healthcare published their commentary article, citing the lack of scientific evidence to support marketing claims of the benefits for growth of giving healthy children liquid-based nutritional supplements, commonly known as "toddler milks." "A plumper baby is not necessarily a healthier baby," says Michelle Lampl, lead author of the article and director of the Center for the Study of Human Health at Emory University. In fact, toddler milk supplements may actually be doing harm by fueling rapid, unnecessary weight gain in young children in the midst of a global obesity epidemic, she adds. She notes that the liquid supplements may have as much as 240 calories per serving and have the potential to turn a healthy, lean toddler into an overweight one. "Healthy developmental growth does not mean gaining weight and getting fat," she says. "It is primarily measured by whether a child is growing a stronger, longer skeleton." Liquid-based nutritional supplements fall into a regulatory loophole, because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not consider supplements to be a drug or a "conventional" food. "When a mother goes into a store and sees a toddler milk supplement on a shelf, she has no idea that it is falls into a less rigorous FDA category than those covering so-called conventional food and medicine," Lampl says. "We have a product aimed at a vulnerable population - infants and young children - that does not have adequate oversight." Co-authors of the commentary article are: Meriah Schoen, a research assistant at Emory's Center for the Study of Human Health and a graduate student focused on nutrition at Georgia State University; and Amanda Mummert, who recently received a PhD in Anthropology from Emory. The commentary appears in a special issue of Healthcare, dedicated to the physician-scientist David Barker, who died in 2013. He originated the Barker Hypothesis, also known as the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease model, linking fetal and early infant experiences to an individual's health status across the lifespan. "David Barker opened the door to the importance of early influences, including nutrition and other environmental factors, for lifelong health," Lampl says. "He believed that we have an ethical responsibility to ensure that the next generation is as healthy as it can be." Companies have marketed infant formulas for decades. In 1981, however, the World Health Organization (WHO) voted to recommend banning marketing of formulas for babies under six months, since the formulas were associated with lower rates of breastfeeding, and increased disease and malnutrition in the developing world. Countries around the world adopted the rules and breastfeeding rates went up globally. The formula industry responded by focusing on toddler milk supplements, aimed at children ages six months and up. Liquid-based supplements containing vitamins and minerals may be beneficial to children that are malnourished, or suffering from chronic diseases that prohibit their ability to consume solid foods, Lampl says. The problem, she adds, is that toddler milks have grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry that is expanding internationally to encompass healthy children. Rapidly boosting the weight of children who are simply smaller than average but healthy could have lifelong consequences, she says. Barker, for instance, found a direct link to higher rates of metabolic disorders among individuals who were born relatively small and grew rapidly in the first few years of life. "Parents are commonly concerned about the size of their children and how well they are doing developmentally," Lampl says, adding that the growth charts used in pediatrician offices are often misunderstood. "Not all kids who are smaller than average have a problem." Busy mothers on the go, who may be consuming "energy drinks" and liquid supplements themselves, are primed to buy toddler milk for young children under the assumption that they are healthy choices, particularly for children who may be picky eaters. "Although it can take a picky eater up to 20 times of trying a food to decide if they like it, most mothers offer a food fewer than five times before switching to something more convenient," Lampl says. "It's much easier to hand your child a sugary 'toddler milk,' thinking it's healthy and it helps them grow." The WHO is set to consider recommendations concerning calorie amounts and ingredients for liquid-based nutritional supplements marketed to toddlers and older children during a meeting in early December. Those recommendations will not have teeth, however, and it will be up to individual governments whether they decide to adopt them and enforce them. "We are really behind when it comes to regulatory oversight for the marketing of these supplements, and for rigorous scientific research showing the impact of their widespread use on children," Lampl says.


News Article | November 15, 2016
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

Liquid-based nutritional supplements, originally formulated for malnourished or undernourished children, need more regulatory oversight as they are increasingly marketed to promote growth in children generally, warn researchers at Emory University. The journal Healthcare published their commentary article, citing the lack of scientific evidence to support marketing claims of the benefits for growth of giving healthy children liquid-based nutritional supplements, commonly known as "toddler milks." "A plumper baby is not necessarily a healthier baby," says Michelle Lampl, lead author of the article and director of the Center for the Study of Human Health at Emory University. In fact, toddler milk supplements may actually be doing harm by fueling rapid, unnecessary weight gain in young children in the midst of a global obesity epidemic, she adds. She notes that the liquid supplements may have as much as 240 calories per serving and have the potential to turn a healthy, lean toddler into an overweight one. "Healthy developmental growth does not mean gaining weight and getting fat," she says. "It is primarily measured by whether a child is growing a stronger, longer skeleton." Liquid-based nutritional supplements fall into a regulatory loophole, because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not consider supplements to be a drug or a "conventional" food. "When a mother goes into a store and sees a toddler milk supplement on a shelf, she has no idea that it is falls into a less rigorous FDA category than those covering so-called conventional food and medicine," Lampl says. "We have a product aimed at a vulnerable population -- infants and young children -- that does not have adequate oversight." Co-authors of the commentary article are: Meriah Schoen, a research assistant at Emory's Center for the Study of Human Health and a graduate student focused on nutrition at Georgia State University; and Amanda Mummert, who recently received a PhD in Anthropology from Emory. The commentary appears in a special issue of Healthcare, dedicated to the physician-scientist David Barker, who died in 2013. He originated the Barker Hypothesis, also known as the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease model, linking fetal and early infant experiences to an individual's health status across the lifespan. "David Barker opened the door to the importance of early influences, including nutrition and other environmental factors, for lifelong health," Lampl says. "He believed that we have an ethical responsibility to ensure that the next generation is as healthy as it can be." Companies have marketed infant formulas for decades. In 1981, however, the World Health Organization (WHO) voted to recommend banning marketing of formulas for babies under six months, since the formulas were associated with lower rates of breastfeeding, and increased disease and malnutrition in the developing world. Countries around the world adopted the rules and breastfeeding rates went up globally. The formula industry responded by focusing on toddler milk supplements, aimed at children ages six months and up. Liquid-based supplements containing vitamins and minerals may be beneficial to children that are malnourished, or suffering from chronic diseases that prohibit their ability to consume solid foods, Lampl says. The problem, she adds, is that toddler milks have grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry that is expanding internationally to encompass healthy children. Rapidly boosting the weight of children who are simply smaller than average but healthy could have lifelong consequences, she says. Barker, for instance, found a direct link to higher rates of metabolic disorders among individuals who were born relatively small and grew rapidly in the first few years of life. "Parents are commonly concerned about the size of their children and how well they are doing developmentally," Lampl says, adding that the growth charts used in pediatrician offices are often misunderstood. "Not all kids who are smaller than average have a problem." Busy mothers on the go, who may be consuming "energy drinks" and liquid supplements themselves, are primed to buy toddler milk for young children under the assumption that they are healthy choices, particularly for children who may be picky eaters. "Although it can take a picky eater up to 20 times of trying a food to decide if they like it, most mothers offer a food fewer than five times before switching to something more convenient," Lampl says. "It's much easier to hand your child a sugary 'toddler milk,' thinking it's healthy and it helps them grow." The WHO is set to consider recommendations concerning calorie amounts and ingredients for liquid-based nutritional supplements marketed to toddlers and older children during a meeting in early December. Those recommendations will not have teeth, however, and it will be up to individual governments whether they decide to adopt them and enforce them. "We are really behind when it comes to regulatory oversight for the marketing of these supplements, and for rigorous scientific research showing the impact of their widespread use on children," Lampl says.


Quave C.L.,Emory University | Quave C.L.,Center for the Study of Human Health | Pieroni A.,University of Gastronomic Sciences
Journal of Ethnobiology | Year: 2014

Traditional foodways are critical not only to food sovereignty in emerging and developing countries, but also to food security, eco-touristic development, small-scale food specialty markets, and local health strategies. We explore traditional knowledge concerning the fermentation of local plants (ethnozymology) for the production of medicinal and folk-functional foods perceived to have general health benefits. Field research was conducted in two Gorani communities in the mountains of NE Albania, located near the Kosovar border. Interviews were conducted with 44 study participants, and the fermentation of 15 plants for health purposes concerning disease prevention and health promotion was recorded. We discuss the role of fermentation in the production of local foods for health and its connections to community vitality and food security generally. © Society of Ethnobiology.


Abbasi A.M.,COMSATS Institute of Information Technology | Khan S.M.,Hazara University | Ahmad M.,Quaid-i-Azam University | Khan M.A.,Quaid-i-Azam University | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine | Year: 2013

Background: Ethnoveterinary knowledge is highly significant for persistence of traditional community-based approaches to veterinary care. This is of particular importance in the context of developing and emerging countries, where animal health (that of livestock, especially) is crucial to local economies and food security. The current survey documents the traditional veterinary uses of medicinal plants in the Lesser Himalayas-Pakistan.Methods: Data were collected through interviews, focus groups, participant observation, and by administering questionnaires. A total of 105 informants aged between 20-75 years old who were familiar with livestock health issues (i.e. farmers, shepherds, housewives and herbalists) participated in the study.Results: A total of 89 botanical taxa, belonging to 46 families, were reported to have ethnoveterinary applications. The most quoted families were Poaceae (6 taxa), Fabaceae (6), Asteraceae (5), and Polygonaceae (5). Adhatoda vasica was the most cited species (43%), followed by Trachyspermum ammi (37%), and Zanthoxylum armatum var. armatum (36%). About 126 medications were recorded against more than 50 veterinary conditions grouped into seven categories. The highest cultural index values were recorded for Trachyspermum ammi, Curcuma longa, Melia azedarach, Zanthoxylum armatum var. armatum and Adhatoda vasica. The highest informant consensus factor was found for pathologies related to respiratory and reproductive disorders. Comparison with the local plant-based remedies used in human folk medicine revealed that many of remedies were used in similar ways in local human phytotherapy. Comparison with other field surveys conducted in surrounding areas demonstrated that approximately one-half of the recorded plants uses are novel to the ethnoveterinary literature of the Himalayas.Conclusion: The current survey shows a remarkable resilience of ethnoveterinary botanical knowledge in the study area. Most of the species reported for ethnoveterinary applications are wild and under threat. Thus, not only is it imperative to conserve traditional local knowledge of folk veterinary therapies for bio-cultural conservation motives, but also to assist with in-situ and ex-situ environmental conservation initiatives, which are urgently needed. Future studies that focus on the validation of efficacy of these ethnoveterinary remedies can help to substantiate emic concepts regarding the management of animal health care and for rural development programs. © 2013 Abbasi et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Soukand R.,Estonian Literary Museum | Pieroni A.,University of Gastronomic Sciences | Biro M.,Hungarian Academy of Sciences | Denes A.,Janus Pannonius Museum | And 10 more authors.
Journal of Ethnopharmacology | Year: 2015

Ethnopharmacological relevance: Fermented food and beverages represent an important part of the worldwide foodscape, medicinal food domain and domestic strategies of health care, yet relevant traditional knowledge in Europe is poorly documented. Methods: Review of primary ethnographic literature, archival sources and a few ad-hoc ethnobotanical field studies in seven selected Eastern European countries (Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Kosovo, and Poland) were conducted. Results: Current or recently abandoned uses of 116 botanical taxa, belonging to 37 families in fermented food or medicinal food products were recorded. These findings demonstrate a rich bio-cultural diversity of use, and also a clear prevalence of the use of fruits of the tannin- and phenolic-rich Rosaceae species in alcoholic, lactic- and acetic acid fermented preparations. In the considered countries, fermentation still plays (or has played until recent years) a crucial role in folk cuisines and this heritage requires urgent and in-depth evaluation. Discussion: Future studies should be aimed at further documenting and also bio-evaluating the ingredients and processes involved in the preparation of homemade fermented products, as this can be used to support local, community-based development efforts to foster food security, food sovereignty, and small-scale local food-based economies. © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


PubMed | Center for the Study of Human Health
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Annals of human biology | Year: 2012

James Tanner had a foundational role in promoting the modelling of growth data as an important step in further understanding the science of human growth.A perspective on how growth models have determined the questions researchers ask and the methods used to analyse data is historically informative. Alternatively, it is useful to review that mathematical models are representations of growth as a function of time and carry assumptions that require consideration in terms of the goals of a research inquiry.An overview of the history of the study of human growth models and modelling is summarized with reference to the important roles that these have played in the perceptions of the human growth process.Growth models are important descriptive summaries, embody empirical evidence and provide the opportunity for hypotheses-testing that aides the understanding, explanation and prediction of growth processes and systems. These models are modified as novel data emerge. More frequent sampling protocols and the development of mathematical models has advanced mechanistic investigations of the human growth process.Technical advances in science are important to investigate potential underlying mechanisms of growth and develop interventions based on a more accurate model of growth biology.


News Article | February 10, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

The Brazilian peppertree is a noxious weed particularly common in Florida, but its red berries contain extract that can fight against deadly superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics. The Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolia), also known as the Florida holly and broad leaf peppertree, has been used for hundreds of years by traditional healers in the Amazon to treat skin and soft tissue infections. The plant is native to South America, but it has spread to the U.S. particularly in Alabama, Texas, Georgia, California, and Florida, where the weed flourishes very well homeowners turn to Roundup and weedkillers to eliminate them. Now researchers found that the invasive plant could be a tool for fighting antibiotic resistance. In a new study, Cassandra Quave, from Emory's Center for the Study of Human Health, and colleagues found that the plant has the power to treat potentially deadly infections such as the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). About 2 percent of all healthy people carry the MRSA bacteria in their body, where it can live harmlessly, but when MRSA causes infections, it can release toxins, blast open red blood cells, and tear skin cells apart. Infection can be tough to treat since the bacteria is resistant to the most commonly used antibiotics. Researchers likewise discovered that the berries do not actually kill the bacteria but only stop them from doing harm. Refined flavone compounds present in the berries repress the genes that allow the bacteria cells to communicate with each other. Blocking these signals prevent the cells from taking collective action. "It essentially disarms the MRSA bacteria, preventing it from excreting the toxins it uses as weapons to damage tissues," Quave said. The mechanism called quorum quenching potentially provides doctors with a good tool for beating infections such as those acquired through surgery and pneumonia since the compounds from the peppertree berries leave the helpful bacteria intact instead of weakening a person's whole immune system, giving it a better chance to heal wounds. Earlier this year, a woman in Nevada died due to an infection resistant to 26 antibiotics. Treating deadly bacteria using drugs that kill them actually helps drive the problem of antibiotic resistance. Some of the stronger bacteria that survive the drugs designed to eliminate them proliferate and pass their genes, which can lead to the evolution of fatal superbugs. The new study, which was published in the journal Scientific Reports on Feb. 10, found that the Peppertree flavone rich extract "430D-F5" does not harm the skin tissue of mice nor the normal and healthy bacteria present on the skin. "430D-F5 was well tolerated by human keratinocytes in cell culture and mouse skin in vivo; it also demonstrated significant reduction in dermonecrosis following skin challenge with a virulent strain of MRSA," the researchers wrote. "This study provides an explanation for the anti-infective activity of peppertree remedies and yields insight into the potential utility of non-biocide virulence inhibitors in treating skin infections." © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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