First Press comment Oct 26th 2006 From The Economist print edition

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A Symposium of the Letten and Mother and Child Foundations 

In collaboration with the Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition at the London Metropolitan University  

Epigenetics in relation to malnutrition, brain function andinfection. The spread of the HIV epidemic in Africa.  

There are 15 million HIV orphans worldwide.  Of these, 12 million are in Africa south of the Sahara. That is 12 million in a population of 800 million and only 2-3 million in a population of 5 billion! There has to be some very good reason for this gross discrepancy.  

Epigenetics in human brain function.Improving nutrition and increasing resistance to infection in fighting the HIV epidemic in Africa 

Day 1, Afternoon - Novartis Foundation Conference Room.Sunday 22nd October 2.00- 6.00 pm Chair: Christopher Bernard (Marseille), Michel Khrestathishe (Marseille) 
2-2.30 Prof Letten F. Saugstad (Letten Foundation, Oslo, Norway).
Welcome. Kraeplin’s dichotomy. Manic-depressive psychosis and dementia praecox are part of human growth and maturation, neurological diseases at the extremes of cerebral excitability, the fundamental property of nervous tissue.


2.30 - 3.00 Dr. Fernando Gomez-Pinilla (University of California, Los Angeles, USA). Epigenetic influences of dietary factors and environment on cognitive plasticity. 

3.00 - 3.30 Dr. Pierre-Marie Lledo (Pasteur Institute, Paris, France). Nature and Nurture in Adult Neurogenesis. 
3.30 – 4.00 Tea 

Chair: Prof Michael A Crawford (Institute of Brain Chemistry, London).
4.00- 4.30 Dr. Tom Brenna (Cornell University, Ithica, USA).
Neuroscience: Nutritional factors in neurogenesis and the relative importance of different types of essential fatty acids.
4.30- 5.00 Dr. Stephen Cunnane (Research Centre on Aging, Universite de Sherbrooke University, Canada). Nutrition and neurodegeneration.

5.00 – 5.30 Marten W. deVries (Sociale Psychiatrie Centre for Public Mental Health, Netherlands). “Babies, Brains and Culture". African infant development, diverse outcomes and precocity.
7.30- 9.00 Buffet at the Novartis Great Room with African music



Day 2 at the Royal Society, 6 Carlton House Terrace, SW1 Monday 23rd October 2006:  9.15 am – 6.00 pm tel: +44 (0)20 7451 2500

Improving nutrition and increasing resistance to infections, fighting the HIV epidemic  in Africa. Chair: Prof B. Stray-Pedersen (Dept. Ob/ Gyn, University of Oslo, Norway) 

9.15 – 9.35 Prof Letten F. Saugstad (Letten Foundation, Oslo, Norway). Introduction.  

9.35 – 9.55 Dr Chinwe Dike (UN representative in Swaziland). The HIV epidemic and women’s right. 

9.55- 10.25 Prof Michael Chirenje (Dept Ob/Gyn, University of Zimbabwe, Harare).  Evidence based strategies for HIV prevention including mother-to child transmission (MTCT).  

Focus on infections Chair: Prof Simba Rusakaniko (Harare, University of Zimbabwe)  

10.25 – 10.55 Prof Babill Stray Pedersen (Dept Ob/Gyn, University of Oslo, Norway). Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV in pregnant women. Discordance between two countries in Africa?  

10.55 – 11.15 Dr Sia Msuya (Moshi, Tanzania). Decline in HIV prevalence among women in childbearing age in Moshi, Tanzania 

11.15 – 11.35 Tea 

11.35 – 11.55 Mr Marshall Munjoma (Dept  Ob/Gyn, University of Zimbabwe). Incidence of HIV and herpes among women followed for one year after birth in a Zimbabwean cohort. 

11.55 – 12.15 Christopher Mtamakaya (Moshi, Tanzania). Male involvement in HIV transmission in Tanzania. 

11.15 – 12.35 Mrs Edith Nyaradzai. (Dept Ob/Gyn, University of Zimbabwe, Harare). Follow-up studies of mother-infant pairs: challenges in the African settings. 

12.35 – 12.55 Dr Jackie Uriyo (KCMC, Tanzania). Development of infants, especially neurobehavioral outcome according to the HIV status.

1.00 – 2.00 Lunch

Focus on Nutrition Chair:  Helga Refsum (Oslo and Oxford Universities) 

2.00 - 2.30 Professor Keb Ghebremeskel (IBCHN, London). Protein-Calorie Malnutrition (PCM) Revisited. Should the nutritional treatment incorporate essential fatty acids?

2.30 –3.00 Dr Laurence Harbige (Westminster University, London). The impact of nutrition on pre and post- natal immune development and its relevance for HIV. 

3.00 – 3.30 Dr Mark Swai (KCMC, Tanzania). Impact of nutrition on African children - especially in the HIV setting. 

3.30 – 3.50 Prof Helga Refsum (Oxford and Oslo University). Nutrition in pregnancy; focus upon vitamin B and folic acid.  

3.50 – 4.20 Dr Cato Aall (Lusaka, Zambia). Thoughts around the catastrophic NAIDS (Nutritionally Acquired Immunity Deficiency Syndromes). 

4.20 – 4.40 Tea 

Short communications Chairpersons: Enitan Ogondipe (Chelsea and Westminster Medical School, Imperial College) 

4.40 – 4.50Dr Jackie Uriyo (KCMC, Tanzania). Maternal Omega 3 supplementation: report on developmental outcome of infants from a pilot study in Tanzania. 

4.50 – 5.00 Dr Gwen Kandawazvika (Dept Paediatrics, University of Zimbabwe). Outcome of Infants after maternal omega 3 supplementation: report from a pilot study in Zimbabwe  

Focus upon information and support 

5.00 – 5.10 Dr. Elisabeth Mibizo (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies). Theatre as a tool in health promotion of fighting the HIV epidemic. 

5.10 – 5.20 Dr Jennifer Mugisha  (President of Uganda Women Medical Doctors). The Ugandan story of fighting HIV. 

5.20 – 6.00 Discussion



3rd Day, CLOSED - Speakers and Chairs only

Oct 24 9.15 am to 1.00 pm: The Novartis Foundation



The proceedings at the Royal Society are open to the public and media on registration. The proceedings on the Sunday will be also open to the public but the numbers wil be more limited and early notification is requested.

Contact Catherine Lehane at the Institute of Brain Chemistry, London Metropolitan University, 166-220 Holloway Rd., London N7 8DB.

Telephone 020 7133 2926

Cheque payments, payable to The Mother and Child Foundation, may be sent to this address.

Press Officer: David Marsh 020 8741 1998


Prices include contributions to the Foundation’s cost of the speakers travel costs, meeting place, coffee, teas, lunch and buffet/ dinner as appropriate. Full Time Student price excludes the buffet/ dinners.

Day 1


22 Oct 2006


Bookable spaces <30

Day 2

Royal Society

23 Oct 2006


Bookable spaces <60

Day 3


24 Oct 2006



McCarrison Society Members £20£40
NHS, University, Charities £37.50 £75 
FT Students(not including lunch or dinner £7.50£15

All other categories

If paying On-line by 16 OCT