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NIH Record

Office of Dietary Supplements Gives First Grants

The newly established NIH Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) has announced the funding of its first six research grants to explore the potential role of dietary supplements in health promotion and disease prevention. These studies will be funded by ODS in conjunction with selected NIH institutes. ODS has committed $270,000, or nearly 30 percent of its FY 1996 budget, to support these six grants in cooperation with five institutes.

In conjunction with NIAAA, ODS will fund a study by Brown University investigators to examine the association between low blood levels of tryptophan and increased levels of alcohol abuse and dependency in Native Americans. Results of this research may help clarify the potential role of dietary tryptophan intake in preventing alcohol addiction among populations at high risk.

ODS will cosponsor two studies with NIAMS. The first will be conducted by scientists at the University of Memphis who will examine the hypothesis that inadequate calcium intake combined with substantial losses of calcium through sweat can contribute to bone loss in people participating in intensive exercise.

The second ODS-NIAMS study will be conducted by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The project will examine in rats the interactions between methotrexate treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and both dietary folic and folinic acid, which can affect the toxicity and/or effectiveness of methotrexate.

NIDCD and ODS will cosponsor a study at the University of Michigan that will test the effects of dietary supplements in reducing or preventing the hearing loss that may occur with antibiotic therapy.

ODS and NIDDK will cosponsor a project at Albert Einstein College of Medicine to study dose-response patterns of vanadium, a trace element found in a number of spices and health food supplements; the study will assess the toxicity and safety concerns of vanadium use in humans.

The sixth study funded by ODS will be in conjunction with NINDS and will be conducted by scientists at Vanderbilt University. Researchers there will use magnetic resonance imaging techniques to examine the effects of thiamine deficiency and its treatment on neurochemical markers in the brain.

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