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Need to Find an RD Who Is a Medicare Provider? Look No Further!

There are now several ways for consumers to identify a registered dietitian who is a Medicare provider. To find 1 of the 4,125 providers signed up to offer medical nutrition therapy through Medicare, consumers can go online with MEDPARD (Medicare Participating Physician/Supplier Directory). The MEDPARD now includes registered dietitians and nutrition professionals. Individual state carriers may also have state Medicare directories. Finally, the American Dietetic Association lists providers in its Nationwide Nutrition Network (NNN) online database. The database can be searched by entering a zip code. Listings on the ADA site are free to ADA members; interested members should contact ADA's member service center at 800-877-1600 Ext 5000.


Bioterrorism Act Has Implications for the Food Industry

The new bioterrorism act has several components related to the security of the US food supply that take effect this month. The act is intended to help the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) respond quickly to attacks that threaten the food supply by providing information about food facilities, imported food, and the flow of food from origination through consumption. Domestic or foreign facilities that process food will have to register with the FDA. The FDA must be notified of all food that is imported into the country, and all food manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers will be required to maintain records on the disposition of their products.


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Food Guide Pyramid Gets a Facelift

With the review of the dietary guidelines underway, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is revising the Food Guide Pyramid for 2005. The original Pyramid icon was introduced in 1992 to help people to easily and quickly grasp the basics of a healthy diet. As a first step in the update, the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) has published some draft proposals for public comment. One possible alteration is to have individualized sex-, age-, weight-, height-, and physical activity-specific pyramids to personalize dietary recommendations. The American Dietetic Association will provide comments with its ideas for updating the Pyramid. Its working group includes Suzanne Murphy, PhD, RD, of Hawaii; Missy Cody, PhD, RD, of Georgia; Constance Geiger, PhD, RD, of Utah; Judith Gilbride, PhD, RD, CDN, FADA, of New York; Rachel Johnson, PhD, MPH, RD, of Vermont; Eileen Kennedy, DSc, RD, of Virginia; Melinda Manore, PhD, RD, of Oregon; and technical consultants.


FDA Approves Health Claim for Walnuts

Walnuts may now carry the label: "Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces per day of walnuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease."


Herbert Stone President Elect

Herbert Stone, PhD, and President, Tragon Corporation, a food marketing research and consulting group, is the new president-elect of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). He was named an IFT Fellow in 1984 for distinguished contributions for food science and technology and has served on the IFT publications committee and the executive committee, among others. In 2001, Stone was named Fellow of the Institute of Food Science and Technology in the United Kingdom. Stone earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Massachusetts and his doctorate from the University of California at Davis.


McDonald's Hires Worldwide Nutrition Director

Cathy Kapica, PhD, RD, has been appointed to Director, Worldwide Nutrition, for McDonald's corporation. Before this post, Dr Kapica served as Senior Scientist and Director of Nutrition at the Quaker Oats Company. She has also been a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. She is a graduate of Loyola University, Rush University, and the University of Illinois.


Linda Tapsell Appointed Professorial Fellow

Linda Tapsell, PhD, a member of Nutrition Today 's Editorial Board, was appointed Professorial Fellow at Australia's University of Wollongong. Dr Tapsell established the NFIS Centre of Excellence in Functional Foods at Wollongong and turned the Smart Foods Centre into a major international research facility. Congratulations, Linda!


New Dietary Guidelines Staff Members

The Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services jointly develop and publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. New Dietary Guidelines staff members from the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion include Dorothea K. Vafiadis, MS, formerly on staff at the International Life Sciences Institute, and Colette I. Thibault, MS, RD, LD, of the Food and Nutrition Service. They join Carole A. Davis, MS, RD, a veteran of all previous editions of the Dietary Guidelines since 1980; Joan M. G. Lyon, MS, RD, LD, a veteran of the last Dietary Guidelines secretariat; and Pamela R. Pehrsson, PhD, of the ARS Nutrient Data Laboratory.


Catherine Bertini 2003 World Food Prize Laureate

Ms Bertini, an American, was selected for the prize for her leadership in "saving millions from famine and starvation." Ms Bertini is currently executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme. She will receive her award at the Celebration of United Nations World Food Day in Des Moines, Iowa, in October.



Professor Beverly McCabe-Sellers has joined the Delta NIRI (Nutrition Intervention Research Initiative) at Little Rock, Ark, as its Research Coordinator. Dr Elaine Prewitt has also moved to the University of Arkansas, where she will be in the School of Public Health.


Sensory Revolution Conference

In July, Boston hosted the 5th Pangborn Sensory Science Symposium entitled, "A Sensory Revolution." This year's symposium was hosted by the US Army's Natick Soldier Center, particularly Drs Herbert Meiselman, Armand Cardello, and Rick Bell. This is the Department of Defense's group that develops combat rations. The conference coincided with the Soldier Centers' 50th anniversary. The conference was named for Rosemarie Pangborn, a longtime professor at the University of California, Davis, who was a pioneer in the chemoreception sciences.


The first keynote presentation was given by Dr Linda Bartoshuk of Yale University's School of Medicine. She spoke on "From Psychophysics to the Clinic: Missteps and Advances." As expected, given her expertise, she focused on sensory issues. She began her talk with an experiment and an actual taste test to determine if people were "PROP" tasters. "PROP" is a drug used to treat thyroid disease when given in large quantities. Those people who cannot taste its moderate bitterness have 2 recessive alleles. Others who taste it as bitter and some as super bitter are called "supertasters." PROP tasting is a genetically determined characteristic discovered in 1931. Nontasters carry 2 recessive alleles, and their children are nontasters. PROP tasters may have either 1 or no recessive alleles. PROP Supertasters also find other tastes, such as saltiness or sweetness, to be stronger sensations and more intense.


Women, Asians, and possibly African Americans and Hispanics are supertasters. The supertasters have more fungiform papillae, and this is probably the physiological basis. Supertasters must have the PROP gene and a high density of fungiform papillae. Supertasters live in a neon food world, whereas nontasters live in a pastel food world, and it may be that flavors, as well as taste, are affected. Dr Bartoshuk believes that the hedonic and sensory worlds are linked and has spent much of her career developing scales to help people describe their sensory experiences. Nontasters, medium tasters, and supertasters have different experiences: a "very strong taste" of bitter is different among them.


Supertasters dislike high-fat foods, and this may give them a health advantage. They may also have an advantage in avoiding obesity, because they may be more finicky eaters, but this remains as research for the future.


The second Keynote Speaker was Howard Moskowitz, President of Moskowitz-Jacobs Inc. He spoke on "From Psychophysics to the World: Data Acquired, Lessons Learned." He provided some personal reminiscences of how he became interested in the field and what he had learned. He suggests to young scientists to choose important problems, to write clearly, and to clarify and make things so obvious that they "hit you between the eyes." He urged that young scientists be prepared for questions and to remember that validity varies depending on the observer. He recalled that it was vital to actually do science rather than simply theorizing. He became interested in hedonics (studies of likes and dislikes), and he discovered the inverted U-liking curve with low liking at low and high ends of tastes.


Moskowitz urged that more studies of sensory systems were needed, especially how they correlated with hedonics and with body state. Because foods are mixtures of tastes and flavors, liking depends on a mixture of different sensations. Often the characteristics of mixtures of odors and tastes cannot be predicted. Psychophysical methods are now used to create new foods and to predict responses to changes in foods. No food ever appeals to everyone, and people vote with their wallets when they choose different food products. Some people may like similar things. There are probably limited numbers of subgroups that like different things. For example, some people like pickles with little or no garlic, some garlic, or great amounts of garlic. Also, some orange juice lovers love the pulp in orange juice and others do not.


Moskowitz urges action to describe real phenomena and to discover principles underlying variability while not being afraid of breaking new ground.