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“Because of the increasing rates of obesity, unhealthy eating habits, and physical inactivity, we may see the first generation that will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.”

U.S. Surgeon General,
Richard Carmona,
March 2004

Summit Agenda

Friday, April 24, 2009

7:45 - 8:45 a.m. Breakfast
8:45 a.m. Welcome and Introductory Remarks
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Debbi Brainerd, Philanthropist,
Founder of IslandWood (a residential environmental education center for Seattle area children) brought the world’s top addiction scientists and researchers together for the Food Addiction Summit. She believes our obesity epidemic and our country’s health problems are being driven by all the refined foods that have taken over the marketplace, and that these highly processed foods are derailing the brain’s dopamine pathway, resulting in addiction to these highly refined substances.
9:00 - 9:45 a.m. Taking Action in Today's Obesity Crisis
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Kelly Brownell, Ph.D.,
Director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Professor of Psychology, Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale University. Named by Time Magazine in 2006 as one of the World's 100 Most Influential People. Dr. Brownell has advised members of Congress, governors, world health and nutrition organizations, and media leaders on issues of nutrition, obesity and public policy.
9:50 - 10:35 a.m. Inside Our Brain: Obesity and Dopamine Deficiency
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Gene-Jack Wang M.D.,
Chairman of the Brookhaven National Laboratory Medical Department. His groundbreaking human research studies in addiction and obesity focus on using brain scan imaging, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). He is currently studying the effect of cognitive inhibition during food stimulation on the brain of obesity subjects and the changes in brain dopamine activity in response to food stimulation in obese subjects with binge-eating disorder.
10:35 - 11:00 a.m. Break
11:00 - 11:45 a.m. The Addiction Gene

Ernest P. Noble, MD, Ph.D.,
is a Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and Emeritus Director of the Alcohol Research Center Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior at the UCLA School of Medicine. In 1990, Dr. Noble and his colleagues were the first to discover the association of the DRD2 receptor gene with alcoholism, which received wide national and international recognition. Subsequently, he has also found the DRD2 gene to be involved in other substance abuse disorders including cocaine, heroin and nicotine addiction and obesity.
11:45 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Lunch
1:00 - 1:45 p.m. Genetic and Biological Systems: The Connection to the Dopamine Pathway

Eric Stice, Ph.D.,
is a Senior Research Scientist at Oregon Research Institute. His program of research has primarily focused on the elucidating genetic and environmental factors that increase the risk for onset of overeating disorders and obesity, as well as the development and evaluation of prevention programs for these conditions.
1:50 - 2:35 p.m. Is Sugar as Addictive as Cocaine?
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Serge H. Ahmed, Ph.D.,
is a scientist at University of Bordeaux, France. He and his research team found that intense sweetness can surpass cocaine reward, even in drug-sensitized and addicted individuals. They speculate that the addictive potential of intense sweetness results from an inborn hypersensitivity to sweet tastants.
3:00 - 4:30 p.m. Discussion Groups
5:30 & 6:00 p.m. Reception & Dinner
7:15 - 8:15 p.m. Human Interest Panel
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Facilitator Patricia Gras, PBS–Houston producer and Emmy Award Winner, has produced the first PBS coverage of food addiction on her show "Living Smart.” Patricia will interview Connie Bennett and Joan Ifland.

Connie Bennett, C.H.H.C., is a health/lifestyle journalist and author of the book, SUGAR SHOCK! How Sweets and Simple Carbs Can Derail Your Life--And How You Can Get Back On Track. Connie is a former sugar addict-turned-sugar-liberation expert, health counselor and life coach, who helps people around the world break free of their sugar dependency.

Joan Ifland, PhD (cand.), MBA is the Chair of Refined Food Addiction (ReFA) Research Foundation. She is the lead author of the first academic article describing food addiction in humans. She writes a weekly column for United Press International and is the author of Sugars and Flours: How They Make Us crazy, Sick and Fat.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

7:45 - 8:45 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 - 9:45 a.m. Sugar Addiction: Bingeing, Withdrawal and Craving
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Bart Hoebel, Ph.D.,
is a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Princeton University. His latest scientific research presents new evidence demonstrating that sugar can be an addictive substance affecting the opioid and dopamine pathways of lab animals in a manner similar to many drugs of abuse.
9:50 - 10:30 a.m. Mechanisms of Food Cravings

Sarah Leibowitz, Ph.D.,
is an Associate Professor at the Laboratory of Behavioral Neurobiology at Rockefeller University who has led animal studies exploring metabolic and neural antecedents for the overconsumption of fat and alcohol. Her research has investigated the mechanisms and brain areas that may underlie food cravings and possibly contribute to eating disorders, such as binge eating and overeating, which commonly lead to obesity in children and adults.

Irene Yaroslavsky, Post Doctoral Associate, will present for Sarah Leibowitz, Ph.D

10:30 - 10:45 a.m. Break
10:45 - 11:30 a.m. Changing Our Social Environments
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Yvonne Sanders-Butler, ED, Ph.D.,
is the principal of Browns Mill Elementary School. In 1999, she banned all foods high in refined sugars, high fat, and processed foods and drinks from the cafeteria. The results were immediate: a significant drop in absenteeism, improvements in attention, and a general increase in energy levels and grades. She is also the author of Healthy Kids, Smart Kids.
11:45 - 12:45 p.m. Lunch
1:00 - 1:45 p.m. Recognition and Treatment of Food Addiction

Kay Sheppard, MA, LMHC, CEDS
, an addiction treatment clinician who believes that, for some people, refined and processed foods can be as addictive as alcohol and drugs. She is a pioneer in food addiction treatment and the best-selling author of Food Addiction: The Body Knows; From The First Bite and Food Addiction: Healing Day by Day. As a licensed mental health counselor and certified eating disorders specialist, she conducts workshops for professionals and food addicts worldwide.
1:50 - 3:00 p.m. What Does Food Addiction Look Like?
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Five food addicts share their personal stories in a panel discussion that reveals their individual experiences of dealing with out-of-control eating, including the specific foods and drinks that cause these episodes, and the methods or treatments that have allowed them to manage their disease and eliminate or minimize the life-threatening health issues they have faced.
3:15 - 4:30 p.m. Discussion Groups
5:30 & 6:00 p.m. Reception & Dinner
7:30 - 8:15 p.m. Lifetime Achievement Award - Jack LaLanne
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Jack LaLanne, now 94 years old, had the longest-running health and fitness show in history, which aired from 1951 to 1985. After hearing an inspirational health lecture when he was 15 years old, he immediately cut out all white sugar and flour and found his entire life changed for the better. In the 1950’s, he was a pioneer in understanding the addictive properties of sugar and refined carbohydrates and a visionary in linking the similarities of sugar addiction and alcoholism.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

7:45 - 8:40 a.m. Breakfast
8:45 - 9:30 a.m. Food as an Addiction

Mark Gold, M.D.,
is a Dizney Eminent Scholar and Distinguished Professor at the University of Florida, College of Medicine’s Brain Institute and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry. His research has led to changes in the treatment of opiate and cocaine addictions and of obesity. Over the past decade, Dr. Gold has pioneered the hypothesis of hedonic overeating or pathological attachment to food as an addiction and over eating as a substance dependence disorder that causes obesity.
9:35 - 9:55 a.m. Role of Fructose in the Epidemic of Obesity, Diabetes, and Hypertension

Richard J Johnson, M.D., F.A.C.P.
is Chief of the Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension at the University of Colorado. Dr. Johnson is nationally and internationally renowned for his work on mechanisms of renal injury and progression, including in glomerulonephritis, diabetes, and hypertension. Recent studies have focused on the pathogenesis of essential hypertension and the role of subtle renal injury. He has also performed extensive research on the role of uric acid and fructose in the epidemic of obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and hypertension. His talk was on the role of excessive fructose intake in causing obesity, diabetes, and hypertension, and how our sensitivity to fructose may relate to a genetic mutation our species had many millions of years ago.
10:00 - 10:25 a.m. Evolutionary and Developmental Bases of Eating Addictions

Elliott M. Blass, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Massachusetts. His work focuses on motivational and developmental events that cause us to overeat sweet and fatty foods. He will present evolutionary and developmental bases for excessive eating of calorie dense foods.

10:25 - 10:40 a.m. Break

10:40 - 11:05 a.m.






11:10 - 11:35 a.m.







Cravings and chronic stress: Why the candy industry thrives when the economy declines
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Elissa Epel, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry, and founding Co-Director of the UCSF Center for Obesity Assessment and Treatment (COAST, http://chc.ucsf.edu/coast/). Her research examines the psychological and physiological pathways that lead to emotional eating and abdominal fat, with a focus on chronic stress. Her research team is testing novel interventions that integrate stress reduction, mindfulness, and nutrition to reduce compulsive eating and obesity.

Incubation of Sucrose Craving—“Abstinence makes the Heart Grow Fonder”
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Jeffrey Grimm, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Psychology department at Western Washington University and a member of the faculty in the Program in Behavioral Neuroscience. As Co-director of the Northwest Center for Research on Eating Behaviors NWCREB, Dr. Grimm works with colleagues to conduct basic studies on the rewarding properties of foods and to provide educational outreach to the public to help people make science-informed choices in their diets.

11:40 - 11:45 a.m. Closing Remarks
12:00 - 12:45 p.m. Lunch
1:10 p.m. Ferry leaves Bainbridge Island for Seattle