Academic journal article Health Law Review

Introduction

Academic journal article Health Law Review

Introduction

Article excerpt

This edition of the Health Law Review features a special section of articles that addresses legal and social issues in the field of nutritional genomics. Nutritional genomics--commonly referred to as nutrigenomics--is a developing science that studies the interaction between nutrients in our food and genes in our bodies. The fundamental idea behind nutrigenomics is that nutrients and genes interact: our genes can affect how our bodies use nutrients, and nutrients can influence how genes work. While scientists are working to uncover and understand better these gene-nutrient relationships, some companies are already marketing nutrigenetic tests to consumers. Regulators, health care professionals and other stakeholders are examining benefits and harms that may be associated with nutrigenetic tests and so-called "personalised" dietary advice and products being marketed to the public.

The research featured in this special section is funded primarily through the Network of Centres of Excellence for Advanced Foods and Materials (AFMNet). Professor David Castle, Canada Research Chair in Science and Society at the University of Ottawa, and Professor Timothy Caulfield, Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy at the University of Alberta, are project leaders on a three-year AFMNet project (2006 to 2009) that focuses on four key areas: (1) regulatory issues associated with the development and marketing of genetic susceptibility tests and nutrigenomic health recommendations targeted to consumers; (2) qualitative analysis of popular representations of nutrigenomics in print and online media; (3) awareness of and attitudes towards nutrigenomics among health care professionals and members of the public; and (4) capacity of health care professionals to respond to growing consumer interest in genetic testing and personalised lifestyle counselling. …

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