|May, NRI researcher, awarded $5.3 million by NIAAA to study fetal alcohol disorders|
|March 24, 2013|
The UNC Nutrition Research Institute (NRI) in Kannapolis, N.C., has received a $5.3 million grant to study fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) in South Africa. The funds were awarded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), one of the National Institutes of Health.
The study will be led by Philip May, PhD, nutrition researcher at the NRI and research professor of nutrition at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
May, recognized widely as a leader in the study of FASD, has conducted extensive research on FASD epidemiology and risk factors. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Catawba College and a master's from Wake Forest University. He received a doctorate in sociology, specializing in demography and epidemiology, from the University of Montana.
Through their research in two South African communities, May and his team will expand the scientific understanding of the characteristics and patterns of FASD. "The highest rates of FASD in the world have been found to occur in the South African towns on which we are focusing," May says. "We think we can improve lives dramatically; there are just so many kids to work with there."
In South Africa, up to 20 percent of the population is estimated to be affected by fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, a result of mothers' drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Children with FASD suffer from birth defects ranging from learning disabilities to neurological, behavioral and social deficits. Symptoms often include poor coordination, speech and language delays, hyperactive behavior or poor memory.
As part of the research study, May and his team hope to achieve five primary objectives:
"Improved understandings about the specific characteristics and patterns of FASD in these South African populations have broad implications for public health in most every human population."
The UNC Nutrition Research Institute (NRI), part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is located on the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis. The NRI is dedicated to developing the field of individualized nutrition -- understanding variance in people's DNA, metabolism and nutrient requirements and how this impacts health. Longterm, the NRI's discoveries will lead to individually tailored nutrition recommendations, allowing people to customize their diets so as to maximize wellness and reduce risk of disease. For more information, visit www.uncnri.org.
|Last updated March 24, 2013|