Eat yourself healthy?!

Thursday June 28th

19:45 live music by 2MusE
20:15 speakers
Café Loburg

The title of the next science café may sound very straightforward, but is it really? In our daily life, we are confronted with many opinions about what is healthy, and these ideas are quite often conflicting. All those messages about what we should and should not eat make us confused, insecure, angry, or may be even indifferent, and we are not sure which information to trust. Can you use the information on the label of a product to decide whether a specific product is the healthiest choice for you? When can food producers for example state that a product contains a lot of vitamins or that the ingredients boost your immune system? Strangely enough you may find on the label of orange juice that it is a vitamin C-rich product, but you don’t see this on most oranges, so how is this possible?

In this science café, we will shed some light on these seemingly conflicting matters. Prof. Ellen Kampman will focus on the latest scientific evidence on foods, nutrition, and health and the way nutrition guidelines are produced. She discusses the type of studies that are conducted, their possibilities and pitfalls, and how to interpret the evidence. Dr. Alie de Boer, will share with us her insights into the European regulation on nutrition and health claims, how to scientifically substantiate these claims, and why these claims should be of interest for consumers and producers.

Prof. Ellen Kampman is a nutritional scientist, epidemiologist and Chair in Nutrition and Disease at Wageningen University. The research of her team focuses on the role of lifestyle in disease prevention and prognosis. She published more than 150 scientific papers and is a member of various (inter)national advisory and scientific committees. She studied Nutrition and Health at Wageningen University, was a visiting fellow at the Boston Harvard School of Public Health and received postdoctoral training at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle.

Dr. Alie de Boer is Assistant Professor at Campus Venlo of Maastricht University. She is a nutritional scientist (bachelor in Nutrition & Health from Wageningen University and master in Health Food Innovation Management from Maastricht University) fascinated by food law. As the founder and head of the Food Claims Centre Venlo, she studies how to scientifically prove that food is legally considered safe and healthy. She analyses the interplay between nutritional sciences and (European) food law and focusses on how to substantiate requirements regarding health claims and novel foods.

PREVIOUS SESSION: Ethics in healthcare and medical technology

Thursday May 31st

19:45 live music
20:15 speakers
Café Loburg

Our healthcare is evolving and new technologies are emerging rapidly. For example online consultations, automatic surveillance for elderly with dementia or maybe even health-care robots. This might make care better, easier and probably cheaper. But at the same time medical technological developments have always also spurred ethical questions: should we allow everything which is (technologically) possible? However, it is questionable whether it is always helpful to speak in terms of being ‘for’ or ‘against’ a specific technology. In this Science Cafe ethical concerns will be discussed regarding medical technologies with a special focus on vaccination. Our first speaker Dr. Alistair Niemeijer will focus on the ethics of medical and health technologies, whereby it will be argued that health (or lack thereof) in relation to technology should be conceived of as something that is undergone, rather than something which can be chosen. The limitations of (freedom of) choice is also an issue in the talk by Prof Marcel Verweij. More and more parents are hesitant towards vaccination, and this is undermining public health. How to evaluate this from an ethical perspective?

Dr. Alistair Niemeijer is assistant professor in care ethics at the University of Humanistic Studies and post doc researcher at the Department of Social Medicine of VU University Medical Center. His PhD focused on the ethical aspects of surveillance technology in long term care. He is currently project leader of the ZonMW researchproject “Fostering new normative expressions of human dignity for people with multiple health problems in Utrecht” which has been conducted in cooperation with the Municipality of Utrecht.

Prof. Marcel Verweij holds the chair of philosophy in the Department of Social Sciences, Wageningen UR. His research and teaching cover a very broad area in applied philosophy and ethics, including animal ethics and business ethics, but his primary focus is public health. Since 2005, Verweij is member of the Health Council of the Netherlands. He has been involved in more than 20 advisory reports for the Minister of Health, including reports on collective vaccination, screening, preconception counselling, special policies for high-risk groups, and expert reports on Q-Fever and Mexican Flu.

Exploring and discussing science with professionals, funky music and a drink.