ILSI Southeast Asia Region
Bringing you monthly news and information on nutrition and food safety issues relevant to our region

To view previous issues of NewsFlash, please click HERE
Nutrition, Food Safety and Health

 JAN/FEB 2016





Anemia due to iron deficiency is a public health problem in the Philippines; and iron fortification and supplementation programs have been implemented to address this problem. However, recent studies suggest that in Southeast Asia, hemoglobinopathies also contribute significantly to the burden of anemia. Anemia due to hemoglobinopathy requires blood transfusion and iron chelation, and is not amenable to dietary iron intervention. There is therefore an urgent need to discriminate anemic individuals with nutritional iron deficiency from those with hemoglobinopathy.

ILSI SEA Region, in collaboration with the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), Philippines, developed this research project to investigate thalassemia and other hemoglobinopathies as an underlying cause of anemia among Filipinos, using data from the 2013 National Nutrition Survey. The researchers aimed to estimate the prevalence of anemia and the proportion of thalassemia and hemoglobinopathies among anemic individuals in Metro Manila. In addition, the research project also examines hemoglobin fractions and red blood cell parameters of anemic individuals with iron deficiency and hemoglobinopathy; they also examine the intake of iron supplements among anemic individuals with hemoglobinopathy.


Seminar on Food Consumption Data and Dietary Assessment
25 - 26 April, 2016, Hilton Hotel, Singapore

ILSI Southeast Asia Region will hold its 2016 Annual Meeting back to back with the Scientific Seminar Food Consumption Surveys and Dietary Assessment in Singapore on April 25 & 26, at Hilton Singapore. The half-day Food Consumption Surveys and Dietary Assessment seminar will be held in the afternoon of April 26. More information on the seminar will be updated here.



Genetic Hemoglobin Disorders a Major Predictor of Hemoglobin Concentration in Women of Reproductive Age in Rural Cambodia  

In an article published in the Journal of Nutrition from the American Society for Nutrition, factors associated with anemia and the relations between hemoglobin disorders and other iron biomarkers among women in rural Cambodia were investigated. Blood samples were obtained from 450 women, aged 18-45, living in rural Cambodia. In their findings, 54% of the women had a genetic hemoglobin disorder. Prevalence of iron deficiency anemia was 14.2% among women with hemoglobin disorder, while the prevalence iron deficiency anemia among the women without hemoglobin disorders was only 1.5%. The authors concluded that genetic hemoglobin disorders are a major predictor of hemoglobin concentration, as compared to iron deficiency, in these women. The full article can be accessed here.


Targetting α-globin in treatment of β-thalassemia  

A recent review conducted by the Medical Research Council in the University of Oxford reviewed evidence that increasingly strong evidence that reducing α-globin expression may ameliorate clinically severe forms of β-thalassemia. This included clinical and genetic evidence accumulated over the past 30 years which strongly support the idea of reducing α-globin as a therapeutic option for β-thalassemia. This calls for researchers to explore treatment of thalassemia through gene therapy, as current treatment of thalassemia is still far from ideal, requiring lifelong transfusion or allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. The complete report is available HERE.


Disease severity scoring system for adult and pediatric NTDT patients  

In an article published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine, a team of Non-Transfusion-Dependent Thalassemia (NTDT) experts from Europe and Thailand developed a new disease severity scoring system for adult and pediatric NTDT patients. The system is based on 20 parameters that are most pertinent in defining disease severity. An additional six parameters were selected specifically for pediatric patients. Consensus of expert opinion was used to establish the selected methods of assessment for each parameter, based on feasibility and availability of technology, cost containment, and avoidance of patient risk. This new scoring system is proposed to be developed into a practical tool for clinical use. The complete article is available HERE.

Discriminating Thalassemia syndromes and Iron deficiency anemia  

A team from the Thalassemia Research Center in Thailand discovered a variety of discrimination criteria to distinguish between thalassemia syndromes and iron deficiency anemia. This was done through analyzing red cell and reticulocyte parameters from samples of these two conditions. 414 samples of various types of thalassemias and IDA were collected for analyzing. The parameters included mean cell volume (MCV), mean cell hemoglobin content (MCH), red blood cell counts (RBc) and the microcytic and hypochromic red cells ratio (M/H ratio). Reticulocyte counts were also used to determine response to iron therapy. The full article can be found HERE.

Upcoming Events

March 7-8, 2016
Workshop on Food Safety Risk Profiling in ASEAN (By Invitation)
Jakarta, Indonesia

March 30-31, 2016

ASEANFOODS - ILSI SEA Region Workshop on Food Composition Data (By Invitation) 
Bangkok, Thailand

April 25-26, 2016
ILSI SEA Region Annual Meeting 2016

April 26, 2016
Seminar on Food Consumption Data and Dietary Assessment Methods
Singapore (in conjunction with ILSI SEA Region Annual Meeting 2016)

April 27, 2016
Workshop on Food Consumption Data and Dietary Assessment Methods
Singapore (by invitation only)

May 2, 2016
Symposium - On the Pulse: The latest evidence of health benefits, innovations and intake recommendations for pulses
Adelaide, Australia

May 4-5, 2016
Workshop on Nutrition Labelling and Claims (By Invitation)
Hanoi, Vietnam 

July 2016
Seminar and 5th Expert Consultation on Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition 
Cambodia (TBC)

July 2016
Workshop on the Development of ASEAN Technical Guidance on Principles for Use and Safety Assessment of Food Additives and Flavorings (By Invitation) 
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

October 11-13, 2016 
4th Asia-Pacific International Conference on Food Safety &
7th Asian Conference on Food and Nutrition Safety 

Penang, Malaysia

Copyright © 2016, ILSI Southeast Asia Region. All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
ILSI Southeast Asia Region
9 Mohamed Sultan Road #01-02
Singapore 238959


To view previous issues of NewsFlash, please click HERE