Conference on
and  Health
October 4-7, 2005,  Davis, California
Short Report
Oct 21, 2005

The 2nd International Conference on Polyphenols and Health was held at the University of California campus in Davis October 4-7, 2005.  The meeting had a truly international slate of speakers, as well as global representation among attendees.  In addition, there were over 70 industry representatives among the 300 who came to hear the scientific presentations and discussions.  The conference was organized by health topic, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurobiology, and other areas, but there were several presentations that showed unexpected health effects of polyphenolics.  The 4 days included a well attended poster session. 

Some of the findings which attracted our attention include:
  • Clear effects of polyphenols on established surrogate markers of cardiovascular diseases
  • Far better understanding of the biological effects involved in the protective effects of polyphenols against cardiovascular diseases, on different tissues (vessels, heart muscle, etc.) and different physiological process (angiogenesis, ischemia, etc.)
  • Growing interest on polyphenols and neurodegenerative diseases.
  • New results on metabolic syndrome, fat metabolism, and insulin sensitivity
  • Limited connections between mechanistic in vitro studies and in vivo studies, particularly in humans
  • It is not clear yet, what are the effective doses, and are we able to measure these effects at nutritional as opposed to pharmaceutical doses?
  • Lack of integration of between pharmacokinetic and biological studies
  • Growing interest on the effects of the intestinal microflora
At the conclusion of the meeting, there was a panel discussion to address the future goals of research in the field and several important points were brought up by the panelists and the audience.  Gary Williamson pointed out how much progress had been made in just a few years, especially in understanding the pharmacodynamics of polyphenolics.  There was a clear consensus that antioxidant activity is not directly related to any health effects, but is simply a biomarker for the presence of polyphenolics, a marker that can be confounded by constitutive antioxidants.  The beneficial effects of phenolics now appears to be its effects on cell signaling and several speakers made this point.  Barry Halliwell called for a clear, clinical demonstration of a human health benefit from polyphenolics. 

This raised a brief discussion of how that might be accomplished, and some called for controlled long term clinical human trials with disease endpoints, while others felt short term tests with marker endpoints were the only practical experiments that could be accomplished. Giovanni Mann emphasized the value of controlled animal trials over human trials where so many variables are impossible to control.  Sylvia Mandel emphasized the importance of "omics" analysis of treatments in giving scientists a view of the forest instead of a few trees. Steve Barnes pointed out supported this call and even suggested that neurological effects by neural transmission directly from the gut to the brain.

Overall, the meeting was hailed as a great success due to the high quality of the speakers and the good organization.  The 3rd conference will take place in 2007, and details will be announced shortly.

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Support From:


Dole Nutrition Institute 


Department of Nutrition

California Dried Plum Board

poster session
patio discussion
gala music
putah creek
gala dinner

General Program
Registration, Abstracts, Travel  and Lodging
 Local Info
Detailed Schedule and Speakers