Thematic 2020: Nutrition in the First 20 Years

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Speaker: Janina R. Galler, M.D., Senior Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School Senior Researcher, Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, MassGeneral Hospital for Children

"The Mental Health Legacy of Early Childhood Malnutrition: A 45 Year Longitudinal Study"

Malnutrition impacts up to 34% of all children under five years of age world-wide. Stunting and inadequate nutrition severely restrict the developmental potential of these children. However, long-term studies of the effects of early childhood malnutrition are limited. The Barbados Nutrition Study is a unique 50+ year longitudinal study that has documented the effects of early malnutrition on mental health over the life span and across generations. The study examines the effects of malnutrition limited to the first year of life on behavioral and cognitive outcomes of adult survivors and their children. A major finding has been the increased prevalence of attentional problems that continue into middle adulthood and are also present in the next generation, impacting offspring who were never malnourished themselves. These findings are closely associated with epigenetic changes in both generations. A recent and unanticipated finding is the increased prevalence of mild cognitive impairment in adult survivors of early malnutrition at 45-51 years of age.

Learning Objectives:

  1. To discuss the impact of childhood adversity during critical periods of brain development from the 2nd trimester of life to 2 years of age;
  2. To report effects on mental health outcomes over the lifespan;
  3. To present epigenetic findings that may serve as a mechanism for the long-term effects of childhood malnutrition

About the Speaker:

Janina R. Galler, MD, is Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a Senior Researcher, Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, MassGeneral Hospital for Children, Boston, MA. She is a summa cum laude graduate of the Sophie Newcomb College of Tulane University, and she received her MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Galler completed her residency training in Psychiatry and Child Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston and the Boston University School of Medicine.

Dr. Galler's long-standing research interest has centered on malnutrition in early life and its long-term effects on mental health and brain development over the lifespan and across generations. She is the founding Director of the Barbados Nutrition Study, a 45+ year longitudinal study that has followed the children with histories of malnutrition, their offspring and grandchildren. She also conducts translational research in animal models of prenatal and intergenerational malnutrition. An exciting new facet of her translational research involves the study of epigenetics. Epigenetic mechanisms offer an intriguing explanation of our earlier findings and provide a powerful new tool to identify potential intergenerational mechanisms of early life malnutrition and associated behavioral and mental outcomes conditions. Dr. Galler was the first Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation Public Policy Fellow, and she served as a US Senate Fellow and chairperson of the Eunice K. Shriver National Institutes of Child Health and Development (NICHD) Advisory Council. She was also awarded the Blanche F. Ittleson Award for Research in Child Psychiatry from the American Psychiatric Association, the Irving B. Harris Award from the Society of Behavioral Pediatrics, the Newcomb Centennial Award from Tulane University. She was the first woman to be awarded the international Leon Eisenberg Award for leadership in mental health, developmental disabilities and research ethics by Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Galler is the author of over 180 peer-reviewed publications and two books on Nutrition and Behavior.

Speaker: Shawna Melbourn B.Sc., AHN, Registered Dietitian, CEDRD-S
Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Anchor Psychological Services

"Myths and Truths about eating disorder care and support: Getting to know the person, getting to know the disorder"

Almost a million Canadians at any one time can meet the diagnostic criteria for an eating disorder. This statistic doesn't even begin to capture the gravity of this widespread illness. Given that disordered eating has been normalized in our culture, it can be tricky for individuals and healthcare providers to understand how this mental health illness presents itself, how a person is affected, and why it is challenging to detect, support, and address eating disorders. These myths can lead to stigma and shut the door for individuals to receive the treatment they deserve.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Some of the common misconceptions around eating disorders and how a person may experience their illness;
  2. What an eating disorder is and what it is not, going beyond the diagnostic criteria;
  3. Barriers that both healthcare providers and individuals experience in the face of an eating disorder/disordered eating when seeking treatment;
  4. The nature of the eating disorder to help you feel more prepared and better equipped for supporting your client or patient

About the Speaker:

Shawna Melbourn is a Registered Dietitian (RD), a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian and an Approved Supervisor with the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (CEDRD-S) and is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. Shawna is committed to working closely with individuals and families affected by eating disorders, disordered eating and other eating challenges to navigate the sea of nutritional trends and gain confidence with eating and nutrition.

Over her fifteen years of practice, Shawna has worked in a variety of settings including being the treatment team dietitian for the Eating Disorder Program at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Shawna is a non-diet dietitian and adopts strategies from all her areas of nutrition expertise to help clients find freedom from eating disorders, body image and the backlash of chronic dieting. Shawna offers a well-rounded approach to eating disorder treatment. She has presented at national conferences, schools, and universities about nutrition therapy for eating disorders, body image, Intuitive Eating practices, and finding peace with food.

She graduated from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia with a degree in Applied Human Nutrition in 2005 and has since been member of Dietitians of Canada and the College of Dietitians of Ontario. Shawna is also a proud member of IAEDP, EDAC and IFEDD.

***Original Source: "2020 Thematic Conference", Saturday, January 11, 2020


Type: Video

Last Updated: March 23, 2020

Name Type
Thematic 2020: Introduction Video
Thematic 2020: Nutrition Video
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