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Pennington Biomedical Research Center September 1996 Site Visit

Congress mandated in the 1988 Department of Defense (DoD) appropriations bill that $3.5 million be allocated over 3 years by the Army to fund research programs at Louisiana State University's Pennington Biomedical Research Center (PBRC). Support for the PBRC was continued in 1992 with a 5-year, $13 million grant to conduct ''Military Nutrition Research: Six Tasks to Address Medical Factors Limiting Soldier Effectiveness.''

The staff at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM), in consultation with the Committee on Military Nutrition Research (CMNR), periodically reviews and makes recommendations on research projects proposed by the PBRC. In June 1989 the CMNR was first asked to review the research plans of the PBRC funded through the DoD appropriations and submitted a letter report with its recommendations to the Army (IOM, 1989). In September 1991 as the initial 3-year grant to the PBRC was nearing completion, the CMNR was asked to review the progress of the PBRC, which resulted in a letter report that was submitted to the Army in May 1992 (IOM, 1992c). The CMNR again visited the PBRC in June 1992 to review new research plans as proposed by the PBRC for a renewal of their contract with the Army. The committee focused its attention on the areas of neuroscience and menu modification, and these reviews were transmitted as reports in May and December 1992 (IOM, 1992c,d).

At the request of Harris R. Lieberman, Military Nutrition and Biochemical Division, USARIEM, members of the CMNR met at the PBRC in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on September 18–20, 1996. The purpose of this meeting was to review and evaluate the progress on work related to the U.S. Army grant to the PBRC, "Military Nutrition Research: Six Tasks to Address Medical Factors Limiting Soldier Effectiveness," and to hear proposals for research to be



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--> Pennington Biomedical Research Center September 1996 Site Visit Congress mandated in the 1988 Department of Defense (DoD) appropriations bill that $3.5 million be allocated over 3 years by the Army to fund research programs at Louisiana State University's Pennington Biomedical Research Center (PBRC). Support for the PBRC was continued in 1992 with a 5-year, $13 million grant to conduct ''Military Nutrition Research: Six Tasks to Address Medical Factors Limiting Soldier Effectiveness.'' The staff at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM), in consultation with the Committee on Military Nutrition Research (CMNR), periodically reviews and makes recommendations on research projects proposed by the PBRC. In June 1989 the CMNR was first asked to review the research plans of the PBRC funded through the DoD appropriations and submitted a letter report with its recommendations to the Army (IOM, 1989). In September 1991 as the initial 3-year grant to the PBRC was nearing completion, the CMNR was asked to review the progress of the PBRC, which resulted in a letter report that was submitted to the Army in May 1992 (IOM, 1992c). The CMNR again visited the PBRC in June 1992 to review new research plans as proposed by the PBRC for a renewal of their contract with the Army. The committee focused its attention on the areas of neuroscience and menu modification, and these reviews were transmitted as reports in May and December 1992 (IOM, 1992c,d). At the request of Harris R. Lieberman, Military Nutrition and Biochemical Division, USARIEM, members of the CMNR met at the PBRC in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on September 18–20, 1996. The purpose of this meeting was to review and evaluate the progress on work related to the U.S. Army grant to the PBRC, "Military Nutrition Research: Six Tasks to Address Medical Factors Limiting Soldier Effectiveness," and to hear proposals for research to be

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--> initiated under the new appropriation of the Pennington military nutrition research program. Prior to the meeting, the CMNR reviewed: (1) the preproposal requesting funding for the continuation of the agreement between PBRC and USARIEM for 5 years beginning April 1, 1997 for military nutrition studies at the PBRC and background materials; (2) the Pennington Biomedical Research Center Annual Reports for 1991 and 1996 submitted by the principal investigator Donna H. Ryan to the Army; and (3) past CMNR reviews of PBRC activities in the form of letter reports. The Committee on Military Nutrition Research's activity during this site visit included (1) hearing presentations by PBRC staff members on the progress of current research efforts and proposals for research to be initiated under the new appropriation to the PBRC military nutrition research program; (2) discussing the progress and proposals in a closed session of CMNR members with the Army sponsor; (3) evaluating the progress and proposed activity in an executive session of committee members; and (4) developing a brief report to the Army stating the committee's conclusions and recommendations. Subsequent to approval of the final draft by the CMNR, this report was reviewed in confidence by a separate anonymous scientific review group. The CMNR evaluated the anonymous comments of these reviewers and incorporated their suggestions where appropriate. This report is thus a thoughtfully developed presentation that incorporates the scientific opinion of the Committee on Military Nutrition Research and the anonymous National Research Council reviewers. Overall Conclusions and Recommendations The committee finds that the Clinical Research Laboratory is vital to the PBRC and to USARIEM. The availability of this laboratory to USARIEM has, in large measure, solved a critical need that existed for some time prior to 1990 to obtain timely and accurate analytical support for field studies on the nutritional status of military personnel and for the evaluation of military rations designed to meet their needs. Of concern to the committee is the lower than expected rate of publication in the scientific literature of the data produced for USARIEM by the PBRC. The committee recommends continued support for and integration of the Clinical Research Laboratory, Stable Isotope Laboratory, Menu Modification/Enhancing Military Diets Project, and Nutrient Database Integration Laboratory at a level consistent with USARIEM needs. Experimental studies utilizing the technique of doubly labeled water as well as the incorporation of studies within the Metabolic Units Project employing isotopes to evaluate nutrient utilization should receive high priority in developing projects of interest to the Army.

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--> The committee recommends that additional collaborations be sought for the incorporation of the most current laboratory methodologies for nutrient analysis, with restriction of effort to obtaining data that are not currently available or are extrapolated. The committee recommends that additional expenditure of resources be permitted for collaboration on development and evaluation of various clinical laboratory tests to assess immune function. The committee recommends the use of human subjects in metabolic studies that will be more inclusive and better directed to the needs of the military. The committee believes that with expert consultation and with the development of an appropriate animal model to evaluate the impact of stress on brain function, the Stress, Nutrition, and Work Performance project can contribute much in the way of basic studies in support of the military mission. On the other hand, the committee does not feel that continuing the development of clinical studies on sleep deprivation in the Sleep Laboratory is of particular value to the Army. The committee finds that the Menu Modification/Enhancing Military Diets Project as well as the Nutrient Database Integration Laboratory are valuable to the Army mission and provide needed support to USARIEM. Additional efforts with regard to nutrition education should be incorporated in order to meet Military Dietary Goals. The committee recommends integrating the proposed new projects, "Stress, Nutrition, and Work Performance" and "Stress, Nutrition and Immune Function," in both the basic laboratory studies and the clinical studies; they can provide a high degree of military relevance and should be strongly supported. Whenever possible and as appropriate, human subjects should be utilized rather than animal models in these project areas. <><><><><><><><><><><><> The committee's review of the PBRC's military nutrition research program, along with conclusions and recommendations, are included in Appendix G.

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