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January 2007

French Paradox

Dr. Carol Boushey, Associate Professor, recently visited École des Trois Ponts in Roanne, France to set the stage for a study abroad course on the French Paradox starting Spring 2008.  The French paradox is the conundrum over the French consuming the same amount of fat, if not more, than people in the US and Britain, and yet the heart disease rates in France are lower. There are other aspects of their diet that are contrary to recommendations for a healthy diet, such as, higher alcohol consumption primarily in the form of wine.  Although this has baffled scientists for years, the concept was popularized recently by the book, French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating For Pleasure by Mireille Guiliano.  This study abroad opportunity will help students capitalize on the scientific issues surrounding this controversy while simultaneously immersing students in the culture of French food and eating patterns.18th Century Chateau in Burgundy


Dr. Carol Boushey got the idea about this course after her daughter participated in a Spring Break French language immersion course with Dr. Becky Brown, Associate Professor in the Department of Foreign Languages & Literature.  Upon her daughter’s return, Boushey was intrigued by her daughter’s excitement over her observations of the pervasive attitudes towards the enjoyment of eating and its place in social life.  From there Boushey approached Brown and they put their heads together to plan a Spring Break course to explore the French Paradox.  The course will be planned with a constructivism framework designed to focus on using information to support learners’ thinking at the levels of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.  Groups of students will be assigned different aspects of the paradox to research, such as eating patterns, red wine, fats and oils, attitudes towards food and chocolate.   All of the student activities will take place in and around an 18th century chateau in the heart of Burgundy.

Boushey has been working toward increasing the number of F&N students taking advantage of a study abroad experience.  The short duration of this experience coupled with the excellent facilities available at the chateau and the intriguing topics will make this a popular choice among students.  For more information about the French Paradox contact Carol Boushey, Ph.D., Associate Professor boushey@purdue.edu.

Elsa Janle: One of Purdue’s First Research Professors

Dr. Elsa Janle came to Purdue to study synthetic organic chemistry and became one of Purdue’s first research professors. Dr. Janle received an MS degree in organic chemistry, but her interests changed after her daughter Elsa Janle Picturedeveloped diabetes. She went on to enroll as a Ph. D. candidate in the Veterinary School.  There, she began working on β-cell transplantation as a cure for diabetes, specifically targeting implantable glucose sensors.

After receiving her Ph.D, Elsa left Purdue to do post doctoral research on insulin receptors at the IU Medical School in Indianapolis.  After completing her post doc, she returned to Purdue and taught medical physiology in Lafayette Center for Medical Education.  She also continued her work on glucose sensors and successfully discovered a device known as the Ultrfiltrate Probe, which is an external sensor implanted to compare glucose levels of blood with that in interstitial fluid. She licensed the technology to Bioanalytical Systems and eventually left Purdue to broaden the applicability of the device. Three years ago, Dr. Janle returned to Purdue to work with the Botanical Center as Co-Director of the In Vivo Core.

Her current research focuses on botanicals and other nutritional components which may be beneficial for improving the glucose control of diabetics and preventing the long term complications. Dr. Janle has written numerous journal papers as well as winning the NASA Space Act Award for technical innovation in the development of the Bone Ultrafiltration Probe in 2000. For more information contact Elsa Janle janle@purdue.edu.

Dining With Diabetes

As part of Purdue Consumer and Family Sciences Target Programs, Extension educators are partnering with dietitians, hospitals, and health departments, on diabetes education.Lady cutting vegetables

Purdue Extension’s Dining With Diabetes is a multi-session program designed by Dr. William Evers, Professor, and a team of county Extension educators to educate participants on practical ways to lessen the health risk posed by diabetes. During the two year period (2004-2006), the program was given 59 times in 32 counties to 841 people. Generally, four to five 2-hour lessons are taught weekly with an optional follow-up lesson. The program is targeted to diabetics or those at risk for diabetes, and their caregivers, but it is also helpful to anyone interested in diabetes or friends and family of a diabetic. The program highlights food choice, diet planning, healthy cooking, portion control, medical indicator awareness, and healthy activity levels for those with diabetes. Participants also have the opportunity to watch food preparation presentations and taste test as well as take copies of recipes home with them.  

Statistical analysis of this program revealed that participants feel more empowered and confident that they can take good care of their diabetes, or the diabetes of a loved one.  Participants also indicated that they exercised more, ate more fruits and vegetables, checked blood sugar levels more often, and practiced more healthy diet habits after the program when compared to pre-program habits.  Eleven questions on the pre-post test also queried the participant’s knowledge of foods and healthy food choice.  Participants demonstrated a significant gain in knowledge with a pre-program score of 6.5 and a post-program score of 7.5.    For more information about Dining With Diabetes contact your county Extension-CFS educator www.ces.purdue.edu/counties.htm.

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Foods & Nutrition Department
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