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Harry Promotes Exercise at Santa Fe Public Forum

By Eddy Ball
April 2010

Jean Harry, Ph.D.
Harry, who exercises regularly herself, proved to be a good role model, as well as science educator, for the people who attended the ASN Public Forum. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

The talk was much more about prevention than basic science when NIEHS Neurotoxicology Group Principal Investigator Jean Harry, Ph.D.(http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/atniehs/labs/ntp/nt/index.cfm), spoke March 6 at a public forum in Santa Fe, N.M. Harry discussed the "Protective Mechanisms of Exercise: Running to Win" at the evening forum - a public service and outreach effort on the part of scientists attending the 41st annual American Society for Neurochemistry (ASN) meeting (http://asneurochem.org/2010Meeting/ASN2010.htm)Exit NIEHS held there March 6-10 that attracted some 230 attendees from the Santa Fe area.

The theme of the ASN Public Forum was "Nutrition, Exercise and Dietary Supplements: Impact on Physical Health and Brain Function." In her talk on exercise, health, and brain function as people age, Harry focused on the benefits of protection from environmental exposure to neurotoxicants and exercise, with regard to increasing brain health and brain repair, as strategies for preventing or delaying onset of Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Harry's keynote talk was learned, but informal. While she steered away from her specialized breakthrough studies on the role of microglia in brain inflammation linked to neurodegenerative diseases, Harry did integrate new data as evidence of solid scientific support for the benefits of exercise in preventing and moderating developmental and adolescent neurological disorders.

Harry, second from left, looks on with other panelists as Joseph makes a point about the benefits of grape juice, berries, and walnuts on brain aging and behavior.
Harry, second from left, looks on with other panelists as Joseph makes a point about the benefits of grape juice, berries, and walnuts on brain aging and behavior. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Following Harry at the podium were Loyola University Chicago nutritional biochemist Susan McGuire, Ph.D. (http://www.meddean.luc.edu/depts/path/McGuire.htm)Exit NIEHS, and Tufts University nutrition researcher James Joseph, Ph.D. (http://www.hnrc.tufts.edu/1192109688818/HNRCA-Page-hnrca2w_1192109688908.html)Exit NIEHS McGuire addressed regulatory issues in her talk on "Dietary Supplements: Good, Bad or Ugly?" and Joseph explored the question "Fruits, Nuts and Brain Aging: Do the Forest Animals Have it Right?"

Santa Fe area registered dietitians Jan Esparza, Nina Dougherty and Kelle Vort joined the speakers in a panel discussion following the talks, giving members of the audience an opportunity to air concerns about their health and ask advice for laying the foundation of healthy aging by adopting positive lifestyle changes.



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