Acceptance Speech of Janeth Morata-Fuentes–2017 PFCS Achievement Award for Chemistry Education (Secondary Level)

To our Guest of Honor, the officers of the different Chemistry Societies, participants to the Chemistry Congress, to everyone who are here, a good evening.

The study of chemistry has always fascinated me. There is wonder in transformations. There is beauty in explaining macroscopic phenomena by elucidating the motions of invisible particles. In this lifetime, I first knew about the atomic theory in a high school class. There were no direct evidences of its existence decades ago. Years into my teaching career, I encountered pictures of the surface of an atom. Imagine the excitement I felt then! It was the same excitement I felt when I read a journal article describing how carbon can make not just double and triple chemical bonds but quadruple bonds, too! There is a treasure trove of knowledge nowadays that opportunities for making lives better are within reach. Chemistry is at the center of all this.

I love it when I see the look of amazement on my students’ faces every time they encounter this seemingly magical world. I also love it when I see perplexed looks when they meet thought-provoking problems; or the aha moments they have every time hard concepts become less difficult. Chemistry is not always an easy discipline to tackle.

During my first few months as a university student, I had this recurring dream of chemical equations running after me. I’d be so panicked because I couldn’t balance them. My experience as a chemistry student included spending sleepless nights to understand concepts so as to pass exams. I am more empathetic to my students’ difficulties and failures because I have laboured in the study of this discipline too. It is easier for me to spot confusion, frustration and panic among young faces, because I’ve gone through these emotions myself. In my life as an educator, I have always tried to teach my kids perseverance and resilience. The study of the sciences may not be a walk in the park, but the joy in discovery is always worth the hard work and the uncertainties.

I have been fortunate to work with kids whose natural curiosity and intelligence push me to be curious and intelligent too. Their unending questions, silly and brilliant ideas and zest for life fuel my own journey to lifelong learning.

I am grateful to Philippine Science High School and our mother agency, the Department of Science and Technology, for giving me a good playground to teach and to conduct research; for allowing me to go out and see the world outside of Pisay; for frequently pushing me out of my comfort zone.

This Achievement Award in Chemistry Education is a wonderful gift that I owe to the more than a thousand students I’ve had the fortune to teach. Thank you, Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies, for this privilege and for recognizing the efforts we make at the secondary level. We may not be hard core researchers and scientists but this recognition is an affirmation that our contribution to the field is important too.

Let me thank Dr. Jose Andaya, President of the Philippine Association of Chemistry Teachers, for the surprising nomination and for the confidence in me. My heartfelt thanks also to the group of people who comprises my support system- my parents and family, and this collection of crazy, delightful, brilliant friends God blessed me with.

I dedicate this Achievement Award to my two children who are left motherless during times when I need to heed the call of duty; and to the many children in this country and beyond who are in need of meaningful education.

Thank you and God bless us all.

Janeth Morata-Fuentes is recipient of the 2017 PFCS Achievement Award for Chemistry Education (Secondary Level). She delivered this speech during the awarding ceremony in the 32nd Philippine Chemistry Congress, Asturias Hotel, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

She is a special science teacher at the Philippine Science High School-Eastern Visayas Campus in Palo, Leyte. She teaches Chemistry and handles Science & Technology Research. She graduated from the University of the Philippines—Diliman with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Education (Chemistry). She took her Master of Education (Teaching and Curriculum Studies) at the University of Sydney (New South Wales, Australia) where she graduated with merit. She is currently a PhD (Chemistry Education) student at the UP Open University.

The Warning on Saturated Fat: From Defective Experiments to Defective Guidelines

This article is written by Dr. Fabian Dayrit, current president of the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines and the chairman of the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community’s Scientific Advisory Committee for Health, and is in response to the recent viral advisory published by the American Heart Association (AHA) warning the public against the use of coconut oil due to its saturated fat content.

Abstract

Coconut oil has been adversely affected by the current dietary guidelines that advocate a lowering of total fat and the replacement of saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat. This recommendation has its origins in the saturated fat-cholesterol-heart disease hypothesis that Ancel Keys first proposed in 1957. This hypothesis became an official recommendation with the publication of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans in 1980 and has been adopted by many other countries and international agencies. The dietary recommendations also warn against coconut oil. Recently, the American Heart Association re-issued this warning in its 2017 Presidential Advisory. However, a critical review of the experiments that Keys conducted has revealed experimental errors and biases that cast serious doubt on the correctness of his hypothesis and the warnings against coconut oil. Further, the recommendation to decrease saturated fat recommendation effectively means an increase in unsaturated fat in the diet. The actual result has been an increase in omega-6 fats and a high omega-6 to omega-3 fat ratio. This unhealthy ratio has been linked to heart disease, the very disease that the AHA wants to target, as well as cancer and inflammatory diseases. Defective experiments have led to defective guidelines. This first paper in this series of papers will present these errors and biases and address the points raised by the AHA.

Abbreviations: AHA: American Heart Association; CHD: coronary heart disease; CVD: cardiovascular disease; HFCS: high fructose corn syrup; MCS: Minnesota Coronary Survey; PUFA: polyunsaturated fatty acid; SDHS: Sydney Diet Heart Study; SFA: saturated fatty acid

Introduction: the Dietary Guidelines

The Vital Statistics of the United States 1976 listed “diseases of heart” as the leading cause of death in the US (USDHHS, 1980). From 1980 to 2015, there were eight editions of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans which sought to address the problem of heart disease. In all eight editions of the Dietary Guidelines, there was one warning that was consistent: “Decrease overall fat intake and replace saturated fat with unsaturated fat.” However, in 2016, heart disease continued to be the leading cause of death in the US (CDC, 2016). In its 2017 Presidential Advisory, the American Heart Association continued to emphatically recommend that “lowering intake of saturated fat and replacing it with unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fats, will lower the incidence of CVD (Sacks et al., 2017).

Albert Einstein famously defined insanity as: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” This essay aims to show how the Dietary Guidelines and the AHA recommendation are examples of insanity.

The warning against “saturated fat” is virtually the same recommendation that Ancel Keys made in the 1950s. The Keys hypothesis, generally known as the saturated fat-cholesterol-heart disease hypothesis, states that saturated fats raise serum cholesterol which in turn increases the risk for heart disease. Although the saturated fats that are most often studied are animal fats, coconut oil is often included in this warning because it is a saturated fat.

This first paper will discuss the basis for the recommendations against coconut oil and saturated fat. We will review of the work of Ancel Keys which reveals several errors that invalidate his strictures against coconut oil.

Errors in the Keys experiments 

Keys committed several serious errors that cast doubt on the validity of his saturated fat-cholesterol-heart disease hypothesis with respect to coconut oil. He conducted both human feeding and observational studies. In his human feeding studies, Keys used hydrogenated coconut oil, while in his observational studies coconut oil was only a minor component of the population’s diet. Finally, Keys was never able to unambiguously prove his hypothesis and refused to acknowledge results that contradicted his hypothesis.

Keys used hydrogenated coconut oil in his human feeding studies

In 1957, Keys published two important papers, one in the Journal of Nutrition (Anderson, Keys & Grande, 1957) and the other in Lancet (Keys, Anderson, Grande, 1957) on controlled feeding studies using schizophrenic patients from the Hastings State Hospital, businessmen in Minnesota, and Japanese coalminers in Shime, Japan. These were relatively small, short-term feeding studies with the number of subjects ranging from 16 to 66. In these studies, Keys wanted to compare the effects on serum cholesterol of feeding monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats versus saturated fats. For sources of unsaturated fats, he used corn oil, olive oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, and sardine oil. For sources of saturated fats, he used butterfat, margarine and hydrogenated coconut oil (HydrolÔ) in the Minnesota experiment and margarine in the Shime experiment.

The use of hydrogenated fats – margarine and Hydrol – in this feeding study casts doubt on the validity of the conclusions of this work regarding the effects of coconut oil. It was already known in the 1920s that hydrogenation of vegetable oils produced trans fats (Hilditch & Vidyarthi, 1929). In 1957, the same year when both Keys papers came out, it was reported that trans fats were deposited in various human tissues, such as adipose tissues, liver, aortic tissue, and atheroma of those who died of atherosclerosis (Johnston, Johnson, Kummerow, 1957).  In a 1961 paper on hydrogenated fats, Keys himself noted that hydrogenated oils raised serum cholesterol and triglycerides (Anderson, Grande, Keys, 1961). Therefore, the increase in serum cholesterol that Keys observed may have been due to the trans fats in margarine and hydrogenated coconut oil and this would make his conclusions invalid. The use of hydrogenated coconut oil may also have biased Keys’s judgment against coconut oil.

The Seven Countries Study was not a representative study

Keys described the evolution of the Seven Countries Study in a book that he published in 1980. Keys conducted initial studies on CHD in 1947 in Minnesota on healthy businessmen and professionals. In 1952, this study expanded to include Italy and Spain, in 1956, Japan and Finland. The aim of these studies was to identify dietary and lifestyle factors in apparently healthy middle-aged men that contributed to CHD. However, this study had two built-in limitations which would give results that are not representative. First, to ensure higher probability of successful follow-up (every 5 years), the study targeted rural populations so that 11 of the 16 cohorts studied were rural populations. For the US, since the stability of rural populations could not be assured, the American subjects selected were railroad men and to balance this effect, Italian railroad men were also selected. Second, the basis for the selection of the seven countries was not systematic but was decided by the availability of collaborators. As Keys himself stated, it was the availability of research collaborators that became the deciding factor in the selection of subject areas (Keys, 1980). It is clear that there was no scientific basis for the selection of the seven countries and these limitations should have been declared so that sweeping generalizations could be avoided.

The Seven Countries Study was begun in 1956 and ended with the publication of the 1986 paper (Keys et al., 1986). The most important conclusions from the Seven Countries Study were given as follows:

“Death rates were related positively to average percentage of dietary energy from saturated fatty acids, negatively to dietary energy percentage from monounsaturated fatty acids …. All death rates were negatively related to the ratio of monounsaturated to saturated fatty acids… Oleic acid accounted for almost all differences in monounsaturates among cohorts. All-cause and coronary heart disease death rates were low in cohorts with olive oil as the main fat.”

There are a number of important things that should be noted regarding the Seven Countries Study: First, this study cannot be claimed to be representative for all types of oils and for all groups of people. Second, the beneficial oil claimed in the Seven Countries Study was olive oil and it should be compared only to the other fats and oils that were consumed, which was mainly animal fat. Interestingly, although Japan showed very low death rates, olive oil consumption in Japan was negligible (Pitts et al., 2007). Third, this study assumed that all saturated fats have the same properties regardless of chain length. This assumption is not valid given what is known today regarding the individual properties of saturated fatty acids (this will be discussed in a succeeding article).

Coconut oil was not a significant part of the diet in the Seven Countries Study

Coconut oil was not a significant part of the diet in any of the seven countries and it was not mentioned in the 1986 Keys paper. Based on the consumption record for the year 1961, the estimated amount of animal fat consumed in Northern and Southern Europe was 67.5% and 35.7%, respectively, while for coconut oil, it was 5.9% and 1.6%. In the US, the amount of animal fat in the diet was 51% versus 3% for coconut oil (FAOSTAT, 2006; Pitts et al., 2007). Clearly, coconut oil was an insignificant part of the diet in Europe and the US so how did coconut oil get included in the health warnings on heart disease?

The Low-fat Diet and Obesity

The first official recommendation on saturated fat was contained in the first Dietary Guidelines for Americans which was jointly issued by the US Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Health and Human Services in 1980 and updated every 5 years. From the first to the eighth edition of Dietary Guidelines, the recommendation on saturated fat remained fundamentally the same: consume a low fat diet and avoid saturated fat. In the 2010 edition, the recommendation was made more specific: “consume less than 10% of calories from saturated fatty acids by replacing them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.”

Cohen and co-workers (2015) conducted a comprehensive analysis of the food consumption patterns together with the body weight and body mass index of the US adult population using data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). They found that Americans in general have been following the nutrition advice from the Dietary Guidelines. In particular from 1971 to 2011, consumption of fats dropped from 45% to 34% of total caloric intake, but this was accompanied by an increase in carbohydrate consumption from 39% to 51%. The result was a dramatic increase in the percentage of overweight or obese Americans from 42% to 66% over the same period. It is surprising that the AHA would continue to recommend the “low-fat diet” in light of the obesity epidemic among Americans.

Keys failed to prove his Saturated Fat-Cholesterol-Heart Disease Hypothesis

Since the Seven Countries Study was an observational study, Keys wanted to do a study where he could carefully control the diet of the subjects. In 1967, Ivan Frantz, Jr. and Ancel Keys undertook a project entitled “Effect of a Dietary Change on Human Cardiovascular Disease,” also called the “Minnesota Coronary Survey” (MCS). This study was funded by the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and was undertaken from 1968 to 1973. MCS was meant to be a landmark study because of the large number of subjects (n=9,423), the length of the feeding study (5 years), the high level of dietary control, and the double blind randomized design. MCS used residents in a nursing home and patients in six state mental hospitals in Minnesota. This enabled the study to carefully control and document the food that was actually consumed. This study sought to test whether replacement of saturated fat (animal fat, margarines and shortenings) with vegetable oil rich in linoleic acid (mainly corn oil) will reduce all-cause death, and CHD in particular, by lowering serum cholesterol. Coronary atherosclerosis and myocardial infarcts were also checked in 149 autopsies conducted (Ramsden et al., 2016). This study was conducted at the same time that Keys was coordinating the Seven Countries Study and would have provided powerful validation of the saturated fat-cholesterol-heart disease hypothesis.

Unfortunately, Keys did not publish the results of this study. A partial release of the results of MCS study was made in a 1989 paper in the journal Arteriosclerosis with Frantz as lead author. This paper made the modest conclusion that: “For the entire study population, no differences between the treatment (high linoleic acid group) and control (high saturated fat group) were observed for cardiovascular events, cardiovascular deaths, or total mortality.” (Frantz et al., 1989). Interestingly, although Keys was a co-proponent of the MCS study, his name did not appear as a co-author in the Arteriosclerosis paper; he was not even mentioned in the Acknowledgment.

The full data were discovered in the basement of the home of Frantz by his son, Robert, who turned them over to Ramsden and co-workers, who then analyzed and interpreted the data (O’Connor, 2016). The key results from the MCS study were reported by Ramsden and co-workers (2016) and are summarized as follows:

  • The group that consumed the high linoleic acid diet showed significant reduction in serum cholesterol compared with those on the saturated fat group.
  • However, there was no difference in mortality among the groups.
  • There was a higher risk of death in subjects who showed reduction in serum cholesterol level.
  • The main conclusions from this study are as follows: a high linoleic acid diet effectively lowers serum cholesterol but this increases the risk of CHD.

The results of the MCS study did not give the expected results and directly contradicted the conclusions of the Seven Countries Study which Keys had published in a few years earlier in 1986. This might explain why it was published in a journal of limited circulation which gave it less exposure. It is clear that a wider distribution of the results of the 1989 paper, with Keys properly included as co-author, would have been fatal to the saturated fat-cholesterol-heart disease hypothesis and to the scientific basis of Dietary Guidelines, which was going into its third edition.

The recovered MCS study is not the only example of an unreported study which had negative results. The Sydney Diet Heart Study (SDHS) was conducted from 1966 to 1973, almost at the same time as the MCS study, with the same objectives and similar study design to evaluate the effectiveness of replacing dietary saturated fat with linoleic acid for the prevention of CHD and all-cause mortality. This was a single blinded, parallel group, randomized controlled trial involving 458 men aged 30-59 years with a recent coronary event. The intervention involved replacement of dietary saturated fats (from animal fats, common margarines, and shortenings) with omega-6 linoleic acid (from safflower oil and safflower oil polyunsaturated margarine). The primary outcome was all-cause mortality and the secondary outcomes were CHD and death from heart disease. The results of this study were contrary to expectation: the unsaturated fat group had higher rates of death than the animal fat group, both in terms of all-cause mortality and CVD mortality. Similar to the recovered MCS study, the SDHS data were not reported but were recovered for analysis by Ramsden and co-workers almost 40 years after it was conducted (Ramsden et al., 2013).

In addition to the hidden MCS and SDHS studies, there are a number of published studies that contradicted the saturated heart-cholesterol-heart disease hypothesis. A six-year dietary study of 21,930 Finnish men, aged 50-69 years, concluded that there was no association between the intake of saturated fat and monounsaturated fat with the risk of coronary death (Pietinen et al., 1997). A dietary study of 80,082 women in the US Nurses’ Health Study, aged 34–59 years, with a 14-year follow-up, failed to come up with an unambiguous conclusion on the link between saturated fat and CHD (Hu et al., 1999). A study involving 58,453 Japanese men and women, aged 40-79 years, with a 14- year follow-up, gave an inverse association between SFA intake and mortality from total cardiovascular disease and concluded that replacing SFA with PUFA would have no benefit for the prevention of heart disease (Yamagishi et al., 2010).

One would think that these studies should be enough evidence to prove that the saturated fat-cholesterol-heart disease hypothesis is wrong. Unfortunately, the 2017 AHA Presidential Advisory did not cite these studies and instead went out of its way to discredit the results of the Minnesota Coronary Survey and the Sydney Diet Heart Study so that they could remove these studies from the “totality of the scientific evidence (that) satisfy rigorous criteria for causality.”

In 1981, Steven Broste, who was then a MS student at the University of Minnesota, analyzed the MCS data and addressed the difficulties that the AHA used to reject this study. These issues included withdrawals and uneven feeding periods of subjects. After making the appropriate statistical corrections, Broste still came to the conclusion that: “the experimental diet of the MCS may actually have been harmful in some way to patients who were exposed to it for at least one year” (Broste, 1981, p 85), and that “the experimental diet of the MCS, and reductions in cholesterol that resulted from the diet, were counterproductive… cholesterol reductions were generally associated with increased mortality, especially among males and older patients” (Broste, 1981, p 97).  Broste’s conclusions were consistent with those of Frantz and co-workers (1989) and Ramsden and co-workers (2016). Contrary to the claims of the AHA, the MCS results are valid: low serum cholesterol increases the risk of CHD. It is unfortunate that the AHA chose to dismiss the results of the MCS and SHDS studies as lacking in scientific rigor.

High PUFA consumption and high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio: A dietary disaster

The low-fat and low-saturated fat recommendation of the Dietary Guidelines may be the reason for rising obesity, diabetes, and other metabolic diseases among Americans. The low-fat recommendation has effectively increased the consumption of sugar and carbohydrates. Since 1980, consumption of fats fell by 11% of total caloric intake (from 45% to 34%), while consumption of carbohydrates rose by 12% (from 39% to 51%) (Cohen et al., 2015). The consumption of soybean oil, a high omega-6 polyunsaturated oil, more than doubled during the same period and now accounts for over 90% of vegetable oil consumption in the US (Index Mundi, 2016). Because soybean oil is a polyunsaturated oil, it is susceptible to the formation of free radicals, malondialdehyde, trans fats, and polymeric material during frying (Brühl, 2014).

The other major problem with the Dietary Guidelines is that it has resulted in a diet with excessive omega-6 fatty acid resulting in an average omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of about 15:1. Such a high ratio has been blamed for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and chronic inflammatory, and autoimmune diseases. The ideal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is about 4:1 (Simopoulos 2002, 2008, 2010).

AHA should worry about the impact of too much soybean oil – not coconut oil – on the American diet. It should also rethink its support for the Dietary Guidelines.

From defective experiments to defective guidelines

Despite its widespread adoption, the saturated fat-cholesterol-heart disease hypothesis has been shown to be incorrect. Ancel Keys committed a number of errors and was unable to unambiguously demonstrate a causal link for the role of saturated fat in heart disease. The twenty-five year old, 8-edition Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which has a great influence on international guidelines, has failed to address the problem of heart disease. Defective experiments can only lead to defective guidelines, and defective guidelines can only result in poor health outcomes.

References:

Anderson JT, Grande F, Keys A (1961). Hydrogenated Fats in the Diet and Lipids in the Serum of Man. J. Nutr. 75: 388-394.

Anderson JT, Keys A, Grande F (1957). The effects of different food fats on serum cholesterol concentration in man. J Nutr. 62: 421-444.

Broste SK (1981). Lifetable Analysis of the Minnesota Coronary Survey. MS thesis, University of Minnesota.

Brühl L (2014). Fatty acid alterations in oils and fats during heating and frying. Eur. J. Lipid Sci. Technol. 116: 707-715.

[CDC] Center for Disease Control. 2016. https://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/docs/fs_heart_disease.pdf

[Codex] Codex Alimentarius 210-1999, amended 2015; Codex Alimentarius 33-1981, amended 2013.

Cohen E, Cragg M, deFonseka J, Hite A, Rosenberg M, Zhou B (2015). Statistical review of US macronutrient consumption data, 1965–2011: Americans have been following dietary guidelines, coincident with the rise in obesity. Nutrition 31: 727–732.

[FAOSTAT] Food and Agriculture Organisation Statistics Data. 2006. World lipid availability, Kg/capita/year, 1961. Food Balance Sheets, Rome: FAO.

Frantz Jr. ID, Dawson EA, Ashman PL, Gatewood LC, Bartsch GE, Kuba K, Elizabeth R. Brewer ER (1989). Arteriosclerosis 9:129-135.

Hilditch TP, Vidyarthi NL (1929). The products of partial hydrogenation of higher monoethylenic esters. Proc. Roy. Soc. A, 122(790): 552-563.

Hu FB, Stampfer MJ, Manson JE, Ascherio A, Colditz GA, Speizer FE, Hennekens CH, C Willett WC (1999). Dietary saturated fats and their food sources in relation to the risk of coronary heart disease in women. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 70:1001–1008.

Index Mundi (2016). https:// www.indexmundi.com/

Keys A, Anderson JT, Grande F (1957). Prediction of serum-cholesterol responses of man to changes in fats in the diet. Lancet 959-966.

Keys A, Aravanis C, Blackburn H, Buzina R, Djordjević BS, Dontas AS, Fidanza F, Karvonen MJ, Kimura N, Menotti A, Mohacek I, Nedeljkovic S, Puddu V, Punsar S, Taylor HL, van Buchem FSP (1980). Seven Countries. A Multivariate Analysis of Death and Coronary Heart Disease. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Keys A, Menotti A, Karvonen MJ, Aravanis C, Blackburn H, Buzina R, Djordjevic BS, Dontas AS, Fidanza F, Keys MH, Kromhout D, Nedeljkovic S, Punsar S, Seccareccia F, Toshima H (1986). The diet and 15-year death rate in the Seven Countries Study. Am. J. Epidemiol. 124(6): 903-915.

O’Connor A (2016). A Decades-Old Study, Rediscovered, Challenges Advice on Saturated Fat. New York Times, April 13, 2016. https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/04/13/a-decades-old-study-rediscovered-challenges-advice-on-saturated-fat/?_r=0

Pietinen P, Ascherio A, Korhonen P, Hartman AM, Willett WC, Albanes D, Virtamo J (1997). Intake of Fatty Acids and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in a Cohort of Finnish Men. Am. J. Epidemiol. 145(10): 876-887.

Pitts M, Dorling D, Pattie C (2007). Oil for Food: The Global Story of Edible Lipids. Journal of World-Systems Research, Volume XIII, Number 1, Pages 12-32. ISSN 1076-156X.

Ramsden CE, Zamora D, Leelarthaepin B, Majchrzak-Hong SF, Faurot KR, Suchindran CM, Ringel A, Davis JM, Hibbeln JR (2013). Use of dietary linoleic acid for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and death: evaluation of recovered data from the Sydney Diet Heart Study and updated meta-analysis. BMJ 2013;346:e8707.

Ramsden CE, Zamora D, Majchrzak-Hong S, R Faurot KR, Broste SK, Frantz RP, Davis JM, Ringel A, Suchindran CM, Hibbeln JR (2016). Re-evaluation of the traditional diet-heart hypothesis: analysis of recovered data from Minnesota Coronary Experiment (1968-73). BMJ 2016;353:i1246 https://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i1246.

Sacks FM, Lichtenstein AH, Wu JHY, Appel LJ, Creager MA, Kris-Etherton PM, Miller M, Rimm EB, Rudel LL, Robinson JG, Stone NJ, Van Horn LV (2017). Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease, A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association. Circulation 135: e1-e24.

Simopoulos AP (2002). The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. Biomed Pharmacother 56(8): 365-79.

Simopoulos AP (2008). The Importance of the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio in Cardiovascular Disease and Other Chronic Diseases. Exp Biol Med 233(6): 674-688.

Simopoulos AP (2010). Genetic variants in the metabolism of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids: their role in the determination of nutritional requirements and chronic disease risk. Exp Biol Med 235: 785–795.

[USDA] United States Department of Agriculture (2017). United States Department of Agriculture. Food Composition Databases. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/; (downloaded: May 15, 2017).

[USDHHS] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 1980. Vital Statistics of the United States 1976. Volume II- Mortality. Part A. National Center for Health Statistics. Hyattsville, Maryland.

Vijayakumar M, Vasudevan DM, Sundaram KR, Krishnan S, Vaidyanathan K, Nandakumar S, Chandrasekhar R, Mathew N (2016). A randomized study of coconut oil versus sunflower oil on cardiovascular risk factors in patients with stable coronary heart disease. Ind. Heart J. 68: 498-506.

Yamagishi K, Iso H, Yatsuya H, Tanabe N, Date C, Kikuchi S, Yamamoto A, Inaba Y, Tamakoshi A, (JACC Study Group) (2010). Dietary intake of saturated fatty acids and mortality from cardiovascular disease in Japanese: the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for Evaluation of Cancer Risk (JACC) Study. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 92:759-765.

2017 PFCS Achievement Awardees to be conferred in the 32nd Philippine Chemistry Congress

The Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies (PFCS) will award five outstanding individuals in recognition of their contributions to chemistry in the upcoming 32nd Philippine Chemistry Congress.

The awards are given under four categories: Chemistry Education, Chemical Research, Chemical Industry and Service to the Chemistry Profession. These awards aim to inspire the youth to take up chemistry and to recognize the outstanding contribution of chemists toward the development of the discipline and the society.

The 2017 Achievement Awards committee is chaired by Dr. Armando M. Guidote, Jr. (PFCS) with Dr. Jose M. Andaya (PACT), Dr. Fabian M. Dayrit (ICP) and Dr. Fortunato B. Sevilla III (KKP) as committee members. Some of the Achievement Awards are co-presented by Shimadzu Philippines Corporation and United Laboratories, Inc.

The 2017 PFCS Achievement Awardees are as follows:

Janeth Morata-Fuentes (Chemistry Education, Secondary Level)

Janeth Morata-Fuentes is a special science teacher at the Philippine Science High School-Eastern Visayas Campus in Palo, Leyte. She teaches Chemistry and handles Science & Technology Research. She graduated from the University of the Philippines—Diliman with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Education (Chemistry). She took her Master of Education (Teaching and Curriculum Studies) at the University of Sydney (New South Wales, Australia) where she graduated with merit. She is currently a PhD (Chemistry Education) student at the UP Open University.

Ramon S. del Fierro, PhD (Chemistry Education, Tertiary Level)
(Co-presented with United Laboratories, Inc.)

Dr. Ramon Del Fierro is currently an Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Chemistry at University of San Carlos, Cebu City. His expertise and research interests include Natural products Chemistry, Biochemistry, Chemical Toxicology, Bioassays, Chemical Education, and Educational Administration and Leadership.

Mark Valentine P. Balanay (Chemical Industry)
(Co-presented with Shimadzu Philippines Corporation)

Mark Balanay used his chemical knowledge and skills to become a leader in Philippine Sinter Corporation, a major corporation in Cagayan de Oro. He has engaged in a wide range of activities, including operation & production, analytical laboratory management, research & quality assurance, and human resource management. He is also the company’s lead auditor for ISO 14001 & ISO 9001. Mark has likewise used his skills to guide and build up the chemistry community in northern Mindanao into an active and responsive organization. This mix of experience, competencies, and commitment, including his dynamic interface with government, academe, industry, and scientific associations, makes him a well-rounded leader.

Maribel G. Nonato, PhD (Chemical Research)
(Co-presented with Shimadzu Philippines Corporation)

Dr. Maribel Nonato obtained her doctoral degree in Organic Chemistry with specialization in Natural Products Chemistry from the University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia in 1993. Upon her return to the University of Santo Tomas, Dr. Nonato resumed her research activities at the Research Center for the Natural Sciences (RCNS) where she pioneered research on the Phytochemistry and Biological Activities of Philippine grown species of the Genus Pandanus (Family Pandanaceae). She is currently the Vice Rector for Research and Innovation at the University of Santo Tomas (UST), first female and lay person to assume the post since September 2014. She had served the University of Santo Tomas as an administrator in different capacities: Director of Research Center for the Natural Sciences, acting Assistant to the Rector for Research and Development, Dean of the College of Science and Assistant to the Rector for Research and Innovation.

Marissa G. Noel, PhD (Service to the Chemistry Profession)

Dr. Marissa Noel has long been quietly working to the benefit of the Philippine Chemistry Community. She has been a regular member of organizing committees of the Philippine Chemistry Congress and most notably, has been an indispensable and trusted organizer to whom industry partners and exhibitors flock. She efficiently headed the Ways and Means Committee of many local and international PCCs since 2001 while capitalizing on her reputation to influence industry people, raise funds and generate income for the PCC. Likewise, she also rendered similar services to the Natural Product Society of the Philippines (NPSP). She sat on the organizing committee of several NPSP National Conferences and was the lead local organizer/host of the December 2013 conference held at DLSU. She is instrumental to the ratification of the Chemistry Law. Marissa, together with siblings Representative Victoria Isabel G. Noel and Former Representative Florencio Gabriel G. Noel, helped the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP) and the Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies (PFCS) by liaising and lobbying for the Chemistry Profession Act in the Philippine Congress and Senate. After years of lobbying, dogged persistence and monitoring, the Chemistry Profession Act was signed into law by the Philippine President in 2015. The new Chemistry Law regulates, modernizes and protects the practice of the Chemistry profession in the Philippines.

USC Chem Hosts Security and Safety Workshop

By Patrick John Y. Lim

In an effort to engage universities to adopt flexible best practices in campus emergency preparedness, sixteen chemistry practitioners from the Mindanao higher educational institutions along with eight University of San Carlos participants attended the Workshop on Security and Safety in Universities from January 17–20, 2017 held at the Josef Baumgartner Learning Resource Center-Virtual Training Room (JB LRC-VTR) in Talamban Campus, Nasipit, Cebu City.

Under the leadership of chair Eugene T. Bacolod, Ph.D., the USC Department of Chemistry hosted the workshop, which was jointly organized with the International Biological and Chemical Threat Reduction (IBCTR) program of Sandia National Laboratories based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A. The International Biological and Chemical Threat Reduction program (IBCTR) enhances national and international security by developing and executing innovative solutions for countering biological and chemical threats worldwide.

Former American Chemical Society president Nancy B. Jackson, Ph.D., from Sandia’s IBCTR program, and USC chemistry professor Patrick John Y. Lim, Ph.D. served as trainers for the three-and-a-half day workshop. Sandia logistical analyst Bernadette Garcia de Rodriguez accompanied Dr. Jackson and handled the arrangements for the Mindanao participants.

Participants and organizers of the security and safety workshop pose outside the JB LRC-VTR.

Workshop participants included a dean and four department chairpersons from seven HEIs in Mindanao, including Agnes T. Aranas (Ateneo de Davao University), Cellyn A. Verallo (Ateneo de Zamboanga University), Julius O. Campecino, Maria Cristina A. Dancel, Ellen dV. Inutan, Joel H. Jorolan, Rachel Anne E. Lagunay, Myrna S. Mahinay, Joanna Kristine E. Pancho, Lunesa C. Pinzon (all from Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology), Grace Prado (MSU-Naawan), Maria Cleofe N. Badang (University of Immaculate Conception), Girlie D. Leopoldo and Rengel Cane E. Sia (University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines), and Heide R. Rabanes and Aileen B. Angcajas (Xavier University).

Carolinian participants included Rolly Viesca (Biology), Leonila N. Adarna, Jinky Y. Derla, Sharajen A. Julasiri, Gail Jeremias B. Posas (all from Chemistry), Nikki Marie O. Marquez and Marie Kristie B. Reyes (Water Laboratory), and Talamban Campus Pollution Control Officer Esmeralda S. Cuizon.

The workshop covered security and safety issues including international and national regulations, dual-use chemicals, risk assessment, physical security of chemicals, chemical management and inventory, formulation of standard operating procedures, personal protective equipment, fire protection and prevention, and a security by design module which featured a laboratory design exercise.

The Philippine Chemistry Community Strongly Urges our Legislators to Use Science in Drafting Laws: The Death Penalty Bill and the Inclusion of Precursor and Essential Chemicals

The Philippine Chemistry Community, represented by the Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies (PFCS) strongly urges our legislators to use SCIENCE in drafting laws.  House Bill 001, otherwise known as the “Death Penalty Law”, aims to address the scourge of dangerous drugs in Philippine society.  While we recognize this important concern, we oppose the provisions that equate dangerous drugs themselves with precursor and essential chemicals.  Because their importance in industry, agriculture, health, education, and research, inclusion of these chemicals must be done with adequate scientific knowledge.

We wish to note the following important points:

  1. The bill does not define and identify what are precursor chemicals and essential chemicals. Virtually all precursor chemicals and essential chemicals are multi-use chemicals.  Precursor chemicals may also be precursors to other important products, such as pharmaceuticals, fragrances, cosmetics, agro-chemicals, and others. Likewise, essential chemicals may also be essential for many other purposes, including household and health uses. The cost to the economy can be staggering. The proposed bill is not scientifically rational.
  2. Mere possession of a precursor chemical or an essential chemical is not equivalent to possession or manufacture of dangerous drugs. The proposed bill will criminalize legitimate users, and raise the cost of goods and damage the economy.  This will also provide many opportunities for corruption.
  3. The bill equates pure substances with mixtures. It does not distinguish a compound that is relatively pure with its presence in an essential oil or spice at 1% composition. It will criminalize possession of many medicinal plants and cooking ingredients.

This topic of precursor chemicals and essential chemicals should be discussed extensively together with experts in the field and with industry manufacturers.

The PFCS is composed of four organizations: the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP), Kapisanang Kimika ng Pilipinas (KKP), Philippine Association of Chemistry Teachers (PACT) and Philippine Association of Chemistry Students (PACS).

Signed,

Armando M. Guidote Jr., PhD
President, PFCS

Fabian M. Dayrit, PhD
President, ICP

Nestor S. Valera, PhD
President, KKP

Jose M. Andaya, PhD
President, PACT

John Michael Porca
President, PACS

The Philippine Chemistry Community Strongly Urges our Legislators to Use Science in Drafting Laws: The Death Penalty Bill and the Inclusion of Precursor and Essential Chemicals

The Philippine Chemistry Community, represented by the Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies (PFCS) strongly urges our legislators to use SCIENCE in drafting laws.  House Bill 001, otherwise known as the “Death Penalty Law”, aims to address the scourge of dangerous drugs in Philippine society.  While we recognize this important concern, we oppose the provisions that equate dangerous drugs themselves with precursor and essential chemicals.  Because their importance in industry, agriculture, health, education, and research, inclusion of these chemicals must be done with adequate scientific knowledge.

We wish to note the following important points:

  1. The bill does not define and identify what are precursor chemicals and essential chemicals. Virtually all precursor chemicals and essential chemicals are multi-use chemicals.  Precursor chemicals may also be precursors to other important products, such as pharmaceuticals, fragrances, cosmetics, agro-chemicals, and others. Likewise, essential chemicals may also be essential for many other purposes, including household and health uses. The cost to the economy can be staggering. The proposed bill is not scientifically rational.
  2. Mere possession of a precursor chemical or an essential chemical is not equivalent to possession or manufacture of dangerous drugs. The proposed bill will criminalize legitimate users, and raise the cost of goods and damage the economy.  This will also provide many opportunities for corruption.
  3. The bill equates pure substances with mixtures. It does not distinguish a compound that is relatively pure with its presence in an essential oil or spice at 1% composition. It will criminalize possession of many medicinal plants and cooking ingredients.

This topic of precursor chemicals and essential chemicals should be discussed extensively together with experts in the field and with industry manufacturers.

The PFCS is composed of four organizations: the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP), Kapisanang Kimika ng Pilipinas (KKP), Philippine Association of Chemistry Teachers (PACT) and Philippine Association of Chemistry Students (PACS).

Signed,

Armando M. Guidote Jr., PhD
President, PFCS

Fabian M. Dayrit, PhD
President, ICP

Nestor S. Valera, PhD
President, KKP

Jose M. Andaya, PhD
President, PACT

John Michael Porca
President, PACS

USC Chem Hosts Security and Safety Workshop

Sixteen chemistry practitioners from Mindanao higher educational institutions along with eight University of San Carlos participants attended the Workshop on Security and Safety in Universities from January 17–20, 2017 held at the Josef Baumgartner Learning Resource Center-Virtual Training Room (JB LRC-VTR) in Talamban Campus, Nasipit, Cebu City.

Under the leadership of chair Eugene T. Bacolod, Ph.D., the USC Department of Chemistry hosted the workshop, which was organized by the International Biological and Chemical Threat Reduction (IBCTR) program of Sandia National Laboratories based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A.

Former American Chemical Society president Nancy B. Jackson, Ph.D., from Sandia’s IBCTR program, and USC chemistry professor Patrick John Y. Lim, Ph.D. served as trainers for the three-and-a-half day workshop. Sandia logistical analyst Bernadette Garcia de Rodriguez accompanied Dr. Jackson and handled the arrangements for the Mindanao participants.

Participants and organizers of the security and safety workshop pose outside the JB LRC-VTR.

Participants to the workshop included one dean and four chairs of departments from seven HEIs in Mindanao, namely Agnes T. Aranas (Ateneo de Davao University), Cellyn A. Verallo (Ateneo de Zamboanga University), Julius O. Campecino, Maria Cristina A. Dancel, Ellen dV. Inutan, Joel H. Jorolan, Rachel Anne E. Lagunay, Myrna S. Mahinay, Joanna Kristine E. Pancho, Lunesa C. Pinzon (all from Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology), Grace Prado (MSU-Naawan), Maria Cleofe N. Badang (University of Immaculate Conception), Girlie D. Leopoldo and Rengel Cane E. Sia (University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines), and Heide R. Rabanes and Aileen B. Angcajas (Xavier University).

Carolinian participants included Rolly Viesca (Biology), Leonila N. Adarna, Jinky Y. Derla, Sharajen A. Julasiri, Gail Jeremias B. Posas (all from Chemistry), Nikki Marie O. Marquez and Marie Kristie B. Reyes (Water Laboratory), and Talamban Campus Pollution Control Officer Esmeralda S. Cuizon.

The workshop covered security and safety issues including international and national regulations, dual-use chemicals, risk assessment, physical security of chemicals, chemical management and inventory, formulation of standard operating procedures, personal protective equipment, fire protection and prevention, and a security by design module which featured a laboratory design exercise.

Call for Nominations of FACS Awards & Citation 2017

On behalf of the President of Federation of Asian Chemical Society (FACS), Prof. Jasim Uddin Ahmad, I would like inform you that we will be presenting the following Awards at the 17th Asian Chemical Congress (17h ACC) that will be held in Melbourne, Australia from 23-28 July, 2017.

  1. Foundation Lectureship Award 2016 in Analytical Chemistry
  2. Distinguished Young Chemist Award 2016 in Organic Chemistry
  3. Distinguished Contribution to Economic Advancement Award
  4. Distinguished Contribution to Chemical Education Award
  5. FACS Citations for Contributions to Chemistry in the Asia-Pacific Region

Nominations are invited from member societies for the above Awards and Citation, and only one nomination is allowed for each Award from each member society. The closing date for submission of the nominations is on 31 January 2017. Please submit the nominations to following address or via email to:

Prof. Dr. Md. Wahab Khan – FACS Secretariat
c/o Bangladesh Chemical Society
10/11 Eastern Plaza, Sonargaon Road, Hatirpool, Dhaka-1205, Bangladesh

Department of Chemistry, Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET)
Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh
Tel +8801552466300
Email: mwkhan@chem.buet.ac.bd

Click here to download the nomination form.

2017 Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Joint Research Project (JRP) Call for Proposals

The Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and
Development (PCIEERD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)
would like to extend the “2017 Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
(JSPS) Joint Research Project (JRP) Call for Proposals”.

The Joint Research Program (JRP) under the Joint Scientific Cooperation Program
between the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Japan Society
for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) is a bilateral exchange program in accordance
with the mutual Agreement on International Scientific Collaboration which aims to
provide support for research to be jointly conducted by Japanese and Filipino
Researchers. Specifically aims to: 1) Contribute to scientific advancement by
conducting bilateral research (including seminars) in the specific research field and
2) Provide opportunities for young researchers of Japan and the Philippines to meet,
interact and exchange ideas to build a robust S&T community in the region.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) were calling for mutually
beneficial and collaborative project proposals that respond to the priority identified in
the Harmonized National R&D Agenda downloadable at
https://itcu.dost.qov.ph/images/download/National%2ORD%20Acienda.pdf

Interested parties are advised to coordinate with prospective counterpart/collaborator
in Japan to craft their proposals. The Filipino researcher must submit the proposal to
DOST while the Japanese counterpart will submit the same to JPSP for separate
review and evaluation. Only projects approved by both DOST and JSPS will be
implemented under this cooperation scheme.

Attached is the Guidelines for the DOST_JSPS for Pi’ 2017. Application must be
submitted on or before 31 August 2016 to the International Technology Cooperation
Unit (ITCU), 3″d Floor, DOST Main building, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig
City or email them at itcu-maildostmov.ph / amvelasquezdostmov.ph The
necessary forms may be downloaded at https://www.dost.gov.ph.

Click here to download the announcement.