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Science Salons

Intimate monthly dinner events with top scientific thinkers, providing unparalleled access to advanced knowledge, elite networking opportunities, and personalized strategic advice.

Explore upcoming events featuring expert scientific researchers and speakers, aimed at fostering discussions and enriching your scientific knowledge.

The Academy is proud to offer a curated selection of past events for on-demand viewing. Check out our past events calendar to access resources, recordings, and more.

Science Salons

The Science Salon Experience

The Science Salon Experience offers exclusive, intimate dinners in New York City with top scientific thinkers, delivering cutting-edge insights in STEM. These monthly events provide unparalleled opportunities for elite networking and strategic advice. Each gathering features a thought-provoking presentation and engaging discussions, captured in a post-event Research Briefing for attendees. Join us to stay at the forefront of innovation and connect with a community of influential leaders.

Salon Membership

Join this elite circle with annual Salon memberships offered at the following levels:

  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Diamond
  • Platinum

Member Benefits

Membership TierSilverGoldPlatinumDiamond
Annual Membership Fee$12,500$25,000$33,750$40,000
Annual Member BenefitsChoice of up to 3 SalonsChoice of up to 6 SalonsChoice of up to 9 SalonsChoice of up to 12 Salons
Exclusive Networking OpportunitiesAccess to a private dinner Salon where members can interact with each other, with expert scientist speakers, and Academy leadership.
Post-event Research BriefingSummaries of Salon speaker presentations and discussions (prepared by a science writer), including additional resources and reading materials suggested by the speaker.
1-Year Professional Academy MembershipBelong to a vibrant community committed to propelling scientific discovery forward and inspiring the next generation of innovators. Within this community, you are connected to a vast network of colleagues and resources spanning the globe, enriching you with diverse perspectives.
Invitations to Public EventsComplimentary invitations to larger public events or lectures hosted by The Academy.
Early AccessPriority notification of upcoming Salon events, with the ability to reserve spots before general release.
Meet-the-Speaker ReceptionsInvitations to pre-Salon receptions with the speaker for more personal interaction and networking.
Complimentary Guest PassOne complimentary Guest Pass per year to invite a friend or colleague to a Salon. Pending availability.
Research Briefings from all 12 SalonsAccess to a library of Research Briefings from all 12 Salons in the annual series.
Priority SeatingPriority seating at all Salons and other public events or lectures hosted by The Academy, ensuring the best possible experience.
Private ConsultationThe Academy will arrange a post-event, one-on-one virtual consultation with Salon speakers for personalized advice or insights, if desired.

Upcoming Salons

Explore our upcoming exclusive Salons featuring prominent scientific experts. This summer, we will announce the complete schedule for the 2024-2025 Science Salons, beginning in Fall 2024.

What Our Members Say

Contact Us

To discuss your Science Salon membership and availability at upcoming Salons, contact Dr. Sonya Dougal, SVP Scientific Programs & Awards at sdougal@nyas.org.

Academy in the News

Academy events, publications and staff experts featured in external media.


MAR 06, 2024
DeepFest dissects true potential of AI to transform everything from cancer medicine to social fabric
edge
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FEB 22, 2024
Ambivalence Over AI: We Are All Prometheus Now
Undark
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FEB 02, 2024
Governor Hochul Announces Release of Technical Chapters of New York State Climate Impacts Assessment
New York State – Governor’s Press Office
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FEB 01, 2024
How a fake, 10-second recording briefly upended New York politics
Politico
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JAN 31, 2024
Don’t let geopolitics get in the way of scientific cooperation with China
The Hill
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JAN 28, 2024
The ‘Barbie’ movie could help push more girls into STEM fields
The Washington Post
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JAN 17, 2024
Prestigious Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in the UK to bestow £480,000 to nine scientists across the UK
Science X
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DEC 21, 2023
Campus leaders shouldn’t be judged on their political pronouncements
Times Higher Education
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DEC 13, 2023
Trust, truth, and representation
Research Outreach
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DEC 12, 2023
Elham Azizi, PhD, Wins 2024 Innovators in Science Award from New York Academy of Sciences
Columbia University Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
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DEC 05, 2023
Schreiber receives scientific innovator award
Washington University School of Medicine
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DEC 2023
Consciousness: Not just a problem for philosophers
Big Think: Dispatches from The Well
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OCT 05, 2023
One judge’s ruling threatens American scientific research and representation
The Hill
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OCT 02, 2023
Feinstein Institutes’ Ross Prize awardees win 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Business Wire
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AUG 24, 2023
Restricted Funding Is Stifling Scientific Progress
Chronicle of Philanthropy
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AUG 10, 2023
Joonho Lee named a laureate of the 2023 Blavatnik Regional Awards for Young Scientists
The Harvard Gazette
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JUL 02, 2023
Humanists and social scientists must help shape the future of AI
Times Higher Education

JUN 27, 2023
How NYC hospitals are using artificial intelligence to save lives
Gothamist
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MAY 19, 2023
Scientist in residence helps Coney Island students see the city’s wildlife beyond pigeons
Chalkbeat
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Convergence: A Journal for Young Researchers

Convergence: A Journal for Young Researchers by Indigo Research and The New York Academy of Sciences is dedicated to publishing high-quality, peer-reviewed academic work from young people (pre-university), exploring a wide range of subjects with a focus on work that explores the convergence of disciplines related to current and future existential risks including climate change, human rights and structural inequities.

The journal will cover the following types of submissions:

  • Original research from traditional and non-traditional academic methods
  • Commentary, Opinion and policy review
  • Reviews of research, popular culture and/or other relevant media
  • Original visual artwork including cartoons, memes,
  • Literary writing, poetry, personal essays and other styles that draw from literary traditions including fiction and narrative non-fiction
  • Convergence will open the call for submissions and reviewers in Spring 2024. We are seeking qualified Academic Reviewers from a wide range of backgrounds to review manuscripts submitted to the journal. Reviewers should be academically active in the fields of Engineering, Medicine, Computer Science, Law, Politics and Policy, Advocacy, Humanities, Philosophy, Ethics and/or the Sciences. Reviewers should be comfortable reviewing work from younger writers (pre-college) and from writers who submit in a specific academic area and/or from a convergent research perspective.

To be considered as an Academic Reviewer, please contact us at education@nyas.org.

Partner with Us: School & Community

Our Unique Approach to Working with Teachers, Students and Families

The scientists in the Academy’s network view their job as blend of research and community outreach. Our scientists have a desire to directly engage the public to demystify science and foster science literacy, especially among young people and families. Therefore, our three signature programs — Afterschool STEM Mentoring, Scientist-in-Residence, and Family Science Nights — provide professional scientists with opportunities to do outreach that aligns with their interests as well as their professional time constraints.

Ways to Work with Us

There are several ways external organizations can become involved with our community outreach initiatives.

  • You can sponsor our “Chat with a Scientist” virtual event series, and even collaborate with us to plan the events using subject matter experts in your network who would like to give back to elementary and middle school age students.
  • We can create an Employee Engagement initiative whereby your employees with STEM expertise can be recruited as mentors in either our Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program or our Scientist-in-Residence program.
  • You can support our Family Science Nights as a sponsor or a host venue to hold an FSN at your school, library, or other community center location.
  • We can collaborate to develop a new event series aimed at younger students to spark their curiosity in STEM, or expose them to STEM careers through the eyes of working scientists.

Impact Report

Download the New York Academy of Sciences STEM Education 10-Year Impact Report, 2024.

GENERATION STEMEmpowering Scientists of the Future

Contact

To partner with us to support our School & Community Engagement programs, contact education@nyas.org.

From the Blog

Action-Research on Adolescent and Young Women Nutrition

Adolescent and young women are often undernourished and overlooked and few, if any, efforts are made to educate this population about best food habits. This presents current and future risks: undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies impair their growth at the critical phase of puberty and menarche, increases the risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth, and carries an elevated risk of non-communicable diseases in future life. However, this period is also viewed as a window of opportunity for nutrition action as it is when growing girls begin to assume adult roles and establish dietary patterns that often carry through adulthood and to their future families. While there has been progress in recognizing the nutrition plight of adolescent girls and young women in recent years, knowledge of their dietary patterns, nutrient deficiencies, or food choice motivations remains fragmentary, hampering the elaboration of effective strategies to improve their nutrition.

Funded by La Fonation Botnar, the Academy and partners carried out an Action-Research program over three years (2020-2022) in Colombia and Vietnam to document the diets of adolescent and young women (14-22 years old); identify nutrient deficits in their diets; elaborate recommendations to improve their nutritional status using locally available and affordable foods; and engage with them in incorporating those recommendations in their diets through a Social Innovation Challenge. Awards and resources were transferred to the most promising solutions to enable their implementation. Pre/post measurements of the interventions’ impact showed significant improvement in the diets of participants. Using local foods as a point of departure proved successful in creating interest and in concretely anchoring choices that significantly and positively affected their food intake. Social media proved to be a playful and powerful means of mobilization when designed and controlled by participants. Building on concerns of importance to this population—self-image, self-esteem, peer status—was also a strong lever for behavioral change. This initiative may serve as a model for future interventions targeting this population group. In addition, it created an extensive scientific output to advance our knowledge of the problem and how it may be addressed.

Implementing Partners

World Vision/Colombia

International Center for Education and Development (CINDE). Colombia

School of Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Antioquia, Medellin Colombia

Thai Nguyen University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Vietnam

National Institute of Nutrition, Vietnam

The World Food Programme, Rome

Funding Support

La Fondation Botnar

Activities

Activities undertaken by this Action-Research program in nutrition are summarized below:

Resources

Scientific publications from the Adolescent and Young Women Nutrition Action-Research

The entire Action-Research process is described at length in nine peer-reviewed publications published in a Special Issue of the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

List of papers (hyperlinks to come once published in Open Access on Annals of NYAS)

  • Mobilizing adolescents and young women to promote healthy diets in urban settings of Colombia and Vietnam: lessons from two action-research programs. Bergeron G, Nguyen P, Restrepo-Mesa S, Correa-Guzman N, Nga L. The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. New York, 2023
  • Food and nutrient intake of adolescent women in the city of Medellin, Colombia Restrepo-Mesa S, Correa Guzmán N, et al. The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. New York, 2023
  • Dietary intake and occupational status among female youths of Thai Nguyen, Vietnam Mai Tran L, Nguyen P. et al. The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. New York, 2023
  • Exploring the potential of meeting adolescent girls’ nutrient needs in urban Colombia using food-based recommendations. Knight F, Kuri S., et al The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. New York, 2023
  • Locally relevant food-based recommendations could increase iron and calcium intake for adolescent girls in Vietnam. Gie S., Nguyen P. et al. The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. New York, 2023
  • Validation of the NOVA screener for the consumption of ultra-processed foods in young women of Medellin, Colombia. Correa-Madrid MC, Correa-Guzmán N, et al. The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. New York, 2023
  • Beliefs and practices of healthy eating in a group of young women in Medellin, Colombia. Balancing between the desired and the possible. Arboleda-Montoya LM, Rodríguez-Villamil N. et al. The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. New York, 2023
  • Effect of an Action-Research nutrition intervention on the Global Diet Quality Score of Colombian adolescent. Correa-Guzman N, Restrepo-Mesa S. et al. The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. New York, 2023
  • The Global Diet Quality Score is Associated with Higher Nutrient Adequacy and Depression, but not with Anthropometric Outcomes among Urban Vietnamese Adolescents and Youths. Nguyen P, Mai LM, et al. The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. New York, 2023

Contact Us

To learn more about our Action-Research on Adolescent and Young Women Nutrition program, contact us at nutrition@nyas.org.

Addressing Global Calcium Deficiency

An estimated 3.5 billion people around the globe are at risk of calcium deficiency due to inadequate dietary intake. While primarily associated with bone health, calcium has also been shown to reduce the risk of preeclampsia and associated complications, which are leading causes of maternal morbidity and mortality. Populations in low- and middle- income countries (LMICs), especially in parts of Asia, Africa, and South America, are at greatest risk of low calcium intakes, and have the higher rates of mortality from maternal hypertensive disorders, according to the Global Burden of Disease.

Global rates of mortality due to maternal hypertensive disorders in 2019 (deaths/100,000), according to the Global Burden of Disease

In partnership with the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the Academy assembled a Scientific Advisory Committee composed of five calcium experts, followed by a larger group of 22 specialists named “Calcium Task Force” to guide the global agenda for Calcium. In March and April 2021, the Academy convened two virtual meetings with the Calcium Task Force. This Task Force is composed of experts in micronutrients, malnutrition, pediatrics, gynecology and obstetrics, biochemistry, public health, supplementation and food fortification. During these two virtual meetings, the Task Force assessed the evidence on global calcium deficiency and its health consequences, and useful indicators of calcium absorption and intake. It also considered potential interventions such as calcium supplementation for pregnant women to improve pregnancy outcomes and associated implementation challenges, as well as food-based interventions to improve the intake of this vital micronutrient, especially in populations with low calcium intake. The group was also commissioned to identify the research gaps and provide guidance for interventions and policies based on the most current available evidence.

Activities

First Meeting of the Calcium Task Force

On March 1-3, 2021, the Nutrition Science Program of the New York Academy of Sciences convened the first of two meetings of the Calcium Task Force. The agenda was structured around three major topics: epidemiology of inadequate calcium intakes and associated health outcomes, calcium supplementation for pregnant women, and food-based interventions to improve calcium intake.

Second Meeting of the Calcium Task Force

The second meeting was hosted on April 26-28, 2021. The Calcium Task Force refined the discussions of the first meeting, drew conclusions and recommendations based on available evidence, and identified areas for future research for the three major topics.

Resources

Scientific publications associated with the Calcium initiative

The discussions and conclusions from the Calcium Task Force meetings were presented in three peer-reviewed publications. Additional activities are associated with the Calcium Initiative, including: two systematic reviews conducted by Tampere University to assess the impact of maternal dietary calcium supplementation (alone or with vitamin D) during pregnancy on maternal and infant health; feasibility assessments of the food-based solutions carried out by HarvestPlus; modeling analyses for the cost-effectiveness of interventions and the locally available foods that could provide additional calcium. The following articles associated with this initiative were published in a “Calcium Special Issue”:

1. Calcium Deficiency Worldwide: Prevalence of Inadequate Intakes and Associated Health Outcomes

2. Calcium supplementation for the prevention of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy: current evidence and programmatic considerations

3. Interventions to improve calcium intake through foods in populations with low intake

4. Current Methods for Calcium Status Assessment: Dietary Intake and Biomarkers

5. Calcium supplementation during pregnancy and maternal and offspring bone health: a systematic review and meta-analysis

6. Calcium supplementation during pregnancy and long-term offspring outcome: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis

7. Could local foods achieve recommended calcium intakes for nutritionally vulnerable populations in Uganda, Guatemala, and Bangladesh?

8. Including calcium-fortified water or flour in modeled diets based on local foods could improve calcium intake for women, adolescent girls, and young children in Bangladesh, Uganda, and Guatemala

Advocacy Briefs

1. Calcium Policy Brief

2. Key Calcium Facts

Multiple Micronutrient Supplements in Pregnancy

Following the release of the 2016 WHO Guidelines for Antenatal Care, The New York Academy of Sciences assembled a scientific task force comprised of international experts in micronutrient deficiencies, public health, nutrition, pediatrics and health economics to:

  • Compile the evidence on the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies in pregnant women or women of reproductive age
  • Review the evidence on the benefits and risks of multiple micronutrient supplements on maternal and perinatal outcomes
  • Create a roadmap to guide decisions in countries considering the implementation of such programs.

The findings from the first phase of this initiative show that substantial benefits may be expected, in terms of mortality reduction and poor birth outcome, by shifting from IFA to MMS in Antenatal Care programs.

Promoting MMS in Low and Middle-Income Countries

The Multiple Micronutrient Supplementation Technical Advisory Group (TAG) assists countries considering the use of multiple micronutrient supplements in their antenatal care programs. The New York Academy of Sciences and the TAG have collaborated with UNICEF, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to promote the uptake of MMS by pregnant women in a number of pilot low and middle-income countries (LMICs). These promotional efforts encompass the following activities:

  • Recruitment and coordination of a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to provide evidence and materials to governments in LMICs so that they can tailor the use of MMS to their specific conditions
  • Facilitation of global MMS efforts, via the creation of a communications hub to advise and document the pilot phase throughout the planned implementation
  • Provision of technical support to UNICEF as it rolls out MMS in four pilot countries (Bangladesh, Madagascar, Burkina Faso and Tanzania), as well as other locations considering making the switch from iron and folic acid to MMS

For this initiative, UNICEF assisted with the rollout and implementation of MMS in pilot LMIC countries. Vitamin Angels supplied the product and provision of MMS. The Healthy Mother’s Healthy Babies Consortium brought together stakeholders, including country representatives, research and knowledge institutions, non-governmental organization (NGOs), technical organizations, UN agencies, private sector stakeholders, and funders to work together to raise awareness, trigger policy change and accelerate adoption of MMS.

Review of Evidence

Why MMS?

Multiple-micronutrient deficiencies often coexist among women of reproductive age (WRA) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This may put their health and that of their offspring at risk, especially during pregnancy when micronutrients requirements increase. Multiple micronutrient supplements (MMS) may fill those gaps but in 2016 the WHO Guidelines for Antenatal Care reaffirmed their recommendation of IFA for routine use in pregnancy. WHO’s recommendation was based on “…some evidence of risk, and some important gaps in the evidence”. The WHO Guideline however, commented that “policy-makers in populations with a high prevalence of nutritional deficiencies might consider the benefits of MMS on maternal health to outweigh the disadvantages, and may choose to give MMS”.

Since the release of the 2016 ANC Guidelines, two important reviews were carried out that provided high quality evidence on the potential benefits to be gained in terms of various antenatal and maternal outcomes by switching from IFA to MMS. Specifically, the IDP meta-analysis found that, when compared to IFA alone, MMS would:

  • Reduce the risk of stillbirth
    • by 8% in the overall population of pregnant women
    • by 21% in the group of anemic pregnant women
  • Reduce the risk of mortality among 6-month infants
    • by 29% in the group of anemic pregnant women
    • by 15% in female infants
  • Reduce the risk of low birth weight (<2500g)
    • by 12% in the overall population of pregnant women
    • by 19% in the group of anemic pregnant women
  • Reduce the risk of preterm (<37 weeks) birth
    • by 8% in the overall population of pregnant women
    • by 16% in the group of underweight women
  • Reduce the risk of being born small-for-gestational age
    • by 3% in the overall population of pregnant women
    • by 8% in the group of anemic pregnant women

In 2020, WHO reviewed the new evidence that became available since the publication of the 2016 ANC Guidelines and updated the recommendations for MMS during pregnancy. These updated Guidelines now state that antenatal MMS that include IFA are recommended in the context of rigorous research.

Reference: Smith ER, Shankar AH, Wu LS-F, et al. Modifiers of the effect of maternal multiple micronutrient supplementation on stillbirth, birth outcomes, and infant mortality: a meta-analysis of individual patient data from 17 randomized trials in low-income and middle-income countries. Lancet Glob Heal. 2017;5(11):e1090-e1100.

MMS and COVID-19

Key Scientific Papers

Reports

Technical Reference Materials

Background Materials

Torheim, L.E., Ferguson, E.L., Penrose, K., Arimond, M. (2010). Women in Resource-Poor Settings Are at Risk of Inadequate Intakes of Multiple Micronutrients. J Nutr, 140(11): 2051S-2058S

Pathak, P., Kapil, U., Yajnik, C. S, Kapoor, S. K., Dwivedi, S. N., & Singh, R. (2007). Iron, Folate, and Vitamin B12 Stores among Pregnant Women in a Rural Area of Haryana State, IndiaFood and Nutrition Bulletin, 28(4): 435–438.

Lee, S., Talegawkar, S., Merialdi, M., & Caulfield, L. (2013). Dietary intakes of women during pregnancy in low- and middle-income countriesPublic Health Nutrition, 16(8): 1340-1353.

Kulkarni, B., Christian, P., LeClerq, S., & Khatry, S. (2010). Determinants of compliance to antenatal micronutrient supplementation and women’s perceptions of supplement use in rural NepalPublic Health Nutrition, 13(1), 82-90.

Gernand, A. D., Schulze, K. J., Stewart, C. P., West, K. P., & Christian, P. (2016). Micronutrient deficiencies in pregnancy worldwide: health effects and preventionNature reviews. Endocrinology12(5), 274-89.

Lu, C., Black, M. M., & Richter, L. M. (2016). Risk of poor development in young children in low-income and middle-income countries: an estimation and analysis at the global, regional, and country levelThe Lancet. Global health4(12), e916-e922.

Jiang, T., Christian, P., Khatry, S.K., Wu, L., West, K.P. (2005). Micronutrient Deficiencies in Early Pregnancy Are Common, Concurrent, and Vary by Season among Rural Nepali Pregnant Women. J Nutr, 135(5), 1106-1112.

Project Outcomes

This initiative, supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is a collaboration between UNICEF, the MMS Technical Advisory Group, and the New York Academy of Sciences. Activities carried out through this effort include:

  • The development of a Communications Hub to link the various stakeholders (scientists, implementers, multilateral organizations, policy makers and the private sector) involved in MMS programs
  • The coordination of technical support to adopting countries, including the preparation of technical reference materials to explain and organize MMS programs and to train the health workforce in their implementation
  • UNICEF implementation of a MMS rollout in 4 pilot countries (Bangladesh, Madagascar, Burkina Faso and Tanzania)
  • Promote and support MMS programs in additional countries as needed
  • A webinar to disseminate the findings of the scientific task force
  • A systematic review on interventions to increase adherence to micronutrient supplementation during pregnancy

MMS Meeting Workshops

Core Product Specification Workshop, November 11-12, 2019

On November 11th and 12th, 2019, the Academy and the Micronutrient Forum (MNF) co-hosted a workshop in Washington DC to develop a Core Product Specification for multiple micronutrient supplement in pregnancy.

Technical Report

Task Force on Multiple Micronutrient Supplementation (MMNS) in Pregnancy, April 17-18, 2018

Second of two closed door technical consultation at the Academy. While the first meeting examined the benefits and potential risks of multiple micronutrient supplementation, the second consultation focused primarily on considerations for the development of a roadmap to guide countries considering multiple micronutrient supplement implementation

Meeting Report

Task Force on Multiple Micronutrient Supplementation in Pregnancy, November 15-16, 2017

First of two closed-door technical consultations at the Academy to review recent evidence on the benefits and risks of multiple micronutrient supplementation, identify research gaps, and determine which populations may benefit most from supplementation.

Meeting Report

Contact Us

To learn more about our MMS Initiative, contact us at nutrition@nyas.org.

Funding Support

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Organized By

Multiple Micronutrient Supplementation in Pregnancy

Control and Prevention of Thiamine Deficiency Disorders (TDD)

Thiamine deficiency remains a pressing public health issue. Infantile beriberi, a disease caused by thiamine deficiency, presents during the exclusive breastfeeding period and without treatment commonly results in death within hours of clinical presentation. There is also growing evidence suggesting sub-clinical thiamine deficiency may have a measurable, lasting impact on cognitive development and psychomotor functions. However, addressing the spectrum of thiamine deficiency disorders (TDD) is impeded by several gaps in knowledge. This initiative seeks to address the key gaps in our knowledge of TDD and to develop a model for control of TDD in the most affected countries. The Academy is engaged in research to reduce the global burden of thiamine deficiency. With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this project includes a number of research partners around the world and aims to fill several research gaps.

Key Knowledge Gaps

1. Limitations in assessing status.

2. Lack of knowledge about prevalence, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa

3. Lack of strategy to address deficiencies, particularly during lactation

4. No standard approach to surveillance and prevention

5. No standard case definition

Research

In 2017, the Academy convened an expert panel to estimate the global burden of thiamine deficiency and related disease risks and to review possible intervention strategies to reduce the associated burden of disease. The panel concluded that there is a surprising lack of information on this condition, despite its likely importance as a cause of infant mortality in South Asia and possibly in other LMIC, and its known effects on child development. Following the panel’s recommendations, this initiative aimed to address the key knowledge gaps that were identified through the following projects.

Supplementation

Determine the appropriate level of thiamine supplementation during lactation to provide adequate thiamine status for mothers and their infants. A dose response trial of lactating women in Cambodia measured thiamine content in breast milk, as well as in the blood of mother and infants.

Resulting publication:

– Gallant et al (2021) Low-dose thiamine supplementation of lactating Cambodian mothers improves human milk thiamine concentrations: a randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 114 (1): 90–100.

Cognitive Outcomes

There is evidence that even asymptomatic thiamine deficiency can cause long-lasting cognitive deficits. The infants enrolled in the supplementation trial underwent neurological testing to look for cognitive differences between supplementation and placebo groups.

Resulting publication:

– Measelle et al (2021) Thiamine supplementation holds neurocognitive benefits for breastfed infants during the first year of life. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 1498: 116-132.

Fortification

Salt has been identified a good vehicle for thiamine fortification in South-East Asia. This project measured salt consumption in Cambodia to inform the level of thiamine required to adequately fortify salt.

Resulting publications:

– Chan et al (2021) Assessment of salt intake to consider salt as a fortification vehicle for thiamine in Cambodia. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 1498: 85-95.

– Green et al (2021) Modeling thiamine fortification: a case study from Kuria atoll, Republic of Kiribati. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 1498: 108-115.

– Whitfield et al (2021) Thiamine fortification strategies in low- and middle-income settings: a review. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 1498: 29-45.

Biomarkers

The relationship between the two thiamine biomarkers, thiamine diphosphate and the erythrocyte transketolase assay, is being studied to assess which biomarker is best suited to identify thiamine deficiency.

Resulting publication:

– Jones et al (2021) Erythrocyte transketolase activity coefficient (ETKAC) assay protocol for the assessment of thiamine status. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 1498: 77-84.

African Surveys

Some neurological disorders found in Sub-Saharan Africa have similar symptoms to thiamine deficiency disorders and the increase in rice consumption has raised concern that thiamine deficiency may also be present in Africa. A study was conducted to assess thiamine status in Gambian women of reproductive age.

Resulting publication:

– Bourassa et al (2021) Thiamine deficiency in Gambian women of reproductive age. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci.

Surveillance and Control Programs

Thiamine deficiency is most well known in South Asia and despite the efforts in the region, it remains a pervasive problem. We supported countries to develop surveillance and control programs to reduce the burden thiamine deficiency through fortification, supplementation, education, behavior change and surveillance programs. Technical Reference Materials have been developed for his purpose.

Thiamine Deficiency Disorder Case Definition

A clear case definition for TDD has not been established and creates challenges in efficiently diagnosing TDD. A case control study is being carried to establish a case definition based on cohorts of infants and children in Laos.

Resulting publications:

– Hess et al (2020) Establishing a case definition of thiamine responsive disorders among infants and young children in Lao PDR: protocol for a prospective cohort study. BMJ Open. 2020 Feb 13;10(2):e036539.

– Smith et al (2021) Traditional postpartum food restrictions among women in northern Laos: Preliminary analysis of an ongoing prospective cohort study. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 80(OCE1), E30.

– Smith et al (2021) Thiamine deficiency disorders: a clinical perspective. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 1498: 9-28.

– Koshy et al (2021) The rediscovery of thiamine deficiency disorders at a secondary level mission hospital in Northeast India. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 1498: 96-107.

Thiamine Deficiency in High-Income Countries

Thiamine deficiency has been typically associated with alcoholism in high-income countries, or as a prevalent problem in low- and middle-income countries whose populations rely on staple foods with a low content of thiamine. Several literature reviews and retrospective studies suggested that, in high resource settings, non-alcoholic thiamine deficiency can be prevalent when associated with certain health conditions or lifestyles.

Resulting publications:

– Gomes et al (2021) Thiamine deficiency unrelated to alcohol consumption in high-income countries: a literature review. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 1498: 46-56.

– Rakotoambinina et al (2021) Pediatric thiamine deficiency disorders in high-income countries between 2000 and 2020: a clinical reappraisal. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 1498: 57-76.

– Mates et al (2021) A Retrospective Case Series of Thiamine Deficiency in Non-Alcoholic Hospitalized Veterans: An Important Cause of Delirium and Falling?. Journal of clinical medicine, 10(7), 1449.

– Gibson et al (2020) Benfotiamine and Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer’s Disease: Results of a Randomized Placebo-Controlled Phase IIa Clinical Trial . J Alzheimers Dis. 78(3):989-1010.

Resources

Recent publications

2021 Thiamine Special Issue

Useful Documents

Technical Reference Materials 

Thiamine Workshop 1 Report

Thiamine Workshop 2 Report

Thiamine content of foods in key countries 

Cambodia 

Laos

Thiamine availability based on food balance sheets (2011)

Thiamine availability below 1.2 mg/capita/day

High % of energy from low-thiamine staple crops

Analysis of thiamine biomarkers

Guidance to assess thiamine biomarkers

Analytical requirements of ThDP and ETKA

Large-scale survey on thiamine status

Women of reproductive age

Infants 

Food fortification with thiamine

Countries with existing thiamine fortification programs

Educational materials 

For healthcare professionals: “Thiamine deficiency disorders: identification and treatment”

For healthcare professionals: “Infantile beriberi: clinical symptoms and case studies”

For healthcare professionals: “A guide to increase thiamine intake and prevent thiamine deficiency”.

For pregnant women and lactating mothers: “The importance of thiamine during pregnancy, breastfeeding and infancy”

Relevant websites

Global Fortification Data Exchange

Food Fortification Initiative

OpeN-Global

Key scientific publications

Whitfield, K.C., Bourassa, M.W., Adamolekun, B., et al. (2018). Thiamine deficiency disorders: diagnosis, prevalence, and a roadmap for global control programs. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1430(1), 3-43.

Hiffler, L., Adamolekun, B., Fischer, P.R., Fattal-Vavleski, A. (2017). Thiamine content of F‐75 therapeutic milk for complicated severe acute malnutrition: time for a change? Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1404(1), 20-26.

Adamolekun, B., Hiffler, L. (2017). A diagnosis and treatment gap for thiamine deficiency disorders in sub-Saharan Africa? Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1408(1), 15-19.

Whitfield, K.C., Karakochuk, C.D., Kroeun, H., et al. (2017). Household consumption of thiamin-fortified fish sauce increases erythrocyte thiamin concentrations among rural Cambodian women and their children younger than 5 years of age: a randomized controlled efficacy trial. The Journal of Pediatrics, 181, 242-247.

Johnson, C. R., Fischer, P. R., Thacher, T. D., et al. (2019). Thiamin deficiency in low- and middle-income countries: Disorders, prevalences, previous interventions and current recommendationsNutrition and Health

Workshops

Thiamine Workshops

Two technical workshops are planned in order to support the development of surveillance and control programs in countries where thiamine deficiency is a public health problem. While the first workshop was held in November 2019, both workshops aim to discuss steps to be taken by each country to roll out a TDD control and prevention program in their specific context; and provide necessary knowledge and training to establish their program. 

Workshop 1, November 19-21, 2019, Luang Prabang

The first regional workshop was held in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR, with participation from several other countries in the region where thiamine deficiency is a public health problem. Participating countries included, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Cambodia, Bhutan, Thailand, Vietnam and India (Assam and Kashmir). The aims of this workshop were: to bring experts and the most current knowledge about prevalence, assessment, and possibly interventions for thiamine deficiency; assess individual country situation and need; and to introduce the Technical Reference Materials (TRMs). Discussions focused on the inputs and activities needed to enable country officials to begin planning their TDD control program.

Workshop 2, March 9 and 11, 2021

The second meeting of the Global Thiamine Alliance was hosted virtually. The first day of the workshop was held as a public webinar, where recent developments in thiamine research were widely disseminated. On the second day of the workshop, which was limited to the participants of the first workshop, we discussed the progress and barriers that individual countries had on their proposed action plan and the future needs of the Global Thiamine Alliance.

Contact Us

To learn more about our TDD project, contact us at nutrition@nyas.org.