Annual Alan Howard Memorial Lecture at SETU

The annual Alan Howard Memorial Lecture was given on Friday, 18 August from 10am to 1pm at Carriganore House, South East Technological University (SETU) West Campus, Waterford Ireland.

The Nutrition Research Centre Ireland (NRCI), led by Professor John Nolan Howard Chair of Human Nutrition, is based at Carriganore House where the Howard Foundation has supported research into the benefits of macular carotenoids for eye and brain heath over the past fourteen years.

The event featured the unveiling of a Waterford Civic Trust Heritage Blue Plaque in honour of Dr Mary Strangman who was born at Carriganore House in 1872.

Please click the image/link below to view the recording of this event.

Click above to view the recording from Friday 18 August 2023

The event began at 10am with a welcome address from Professor Veronica Campbell, the President of SETU, followed by Dr Marina Green, deputy director of the NRCI. Mrs Julie Lambert and Mr Jon Howard then spoke on behalf of The Howard Foundation. The memorial lecture about the life of Dr Mary Strangman was given in two parts: the first by Dr Eugene Broderick, historian with the Waterford Civic Trust, who spoke about her political life, and the second by Mrs Ann Fitzgerald, historian with the Waterford Women’s Centre, who spoke about her personal life.

The lectures were followed by the unveiling of the Heritage Blue Plaque outside Carriganore House.

The unveiling of the plaque by Mrs Mary O’Halloran (former First Lady Mayor of Waterford City)
Pictured are (L-R) Jon Howard (HF), Dr Marina Green (Deputy Director NRCI), Julie Lambert (HF), Cllr Joe Conway (Mayor of Waterford), Professor Veronica Campbell (President SETU), Dr Eugene Broderick (Historian, Waterford Civic Trust), Professor John Nolan (Director NRCI), Matt Shanahan (Waterford TD).

Click here to read the full press release on the SETU website

Dr Mary Strangman

Medical and public health pioneer, Dr Mary Strangman.
Photo courtesy The Poole Photographic Collection.

Born in 1872 at Carriganore House, Dr Strangman became a doctor, a champion of public health and better housing, a suffragist and the first woman to be elected to Waterford Corporation in January 1912.

In recognition of her notable achievements, particularly around public health, the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland (NRCI) and Waterford Civic Trust are set to unveil a plaque at her historical family home.

Click here to read the full announcement in the Waterford News.

Cedar 2022 – a tree sculpture by Ai Weiwei

In the early spring of 2020, the large blue Atlas cedar tree that had stood in the East Lodge Garden of Downing College for over 170 years had to be taken down. It had succumbed to a disease and had become unsafe. Internationally acclaimed artist Ai Weiwei offered to create a new ’tree’ sculpture from the wood of the felled tree as a gift to Downing College.  The artist’s generosity was supported by a donation from the Howard Foundation, which funded the fabrication of the sculpture in honour of Dr Alan Howard.   The sculpture by Ai Weiwei, named Cedar 2022, now stands in First Court opposite The Heong Gallery.  The Foundation were donors to The Heong Gallery when it was first opened in 2016 so it is very fitting that the tree is now positioned in the courtyard as a permanent artwork for visitors to the college and gallery.

A dedication ceremony was held on 16th May 2023 to unveil a plaque to commemorate both the tree and Dr Alan Howard, recognising his connection with Downing College as alumnus, nutritionist and benefactor. His son and daughter are pictured below.

Jon Howard and Julie Lambert from the Howard Foundation at the dedication ceremony

The tree sculpture was built by Ben King, normally a bespoke furniture maker, according to a design by Ai Weiwei.

See also the Downing College News. Unless noted otherwise, all photographs below were taken by Susan Lintott, Director of The Heong Gallery.

The Blue Atlas Cedar in the East Lodge Garden.
(photo Tim Marshall)
The new tree sculpture Cedar in First Court.
The memorial plaque is on the left.
(photo Tom Povey)
Ai Weiwei standing with the demolished sections of the tree.
Ai Weiwei discusses the creation of the sculpture with wood-worker Ben King
Ben in his workshop assembling the tree sculpture
Ai Weiwei sat on his completed tree sculpture
(photo Wang Fen)

Transfer of Patent and Trade Mark Portfolio

In March 2023, the patents and trade marks relating to macular carotenoids held by the Howard Foundation Group, alongside associated intellectual property arising from research sponsored over the last 15 years, were assigned to Maravilla LLC, a US company formed by the two main business partners Industrial Organica (IOSA) and Macuhealth.

Jon Howard, director of Howard Foundation Holdings, reflected on the significance of the patents: “The first set of patents resulted from research into the prevention of Age-related Macular Degeneration. The latest patents cover how macular carotenoids help to improve visual performance and, when combined with fish oil, also slow the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Julie Lambert, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Howard Foundation commented: “In a lifetime of research, my father, the late Dr. Alan Howard, had the vision to create patents to protect the quality and use of the products that came from that research. Through the Howard Foundation, this culminated in a series of patents and trademarks developed for use in eye and brain health. We are pleased to pass these patents on to our long-term business partners.

The Foundation continues to support research and conferences in the field of macular carotenoids.

For further information see the Maravilla website.

New CEO appointed for Supplement Certified

In May 2021, the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland (NRCI) announced the creation of a certification process for nutritional supplements containing carotenoids based in the Howard Laboratory at the NRCI and run by a new company Supplement Certified. The involvement of the late Dr Alan Howard in the initiation of the work that led to the creation of Supplement Certified is described here.

In January 2023, Tom Hennessy was appointed CEO of the company which remains based in the Howard Laboratory at the NRCI which is now part of SETU, the South East Technological University in Ireland.  

A Waterford native, Tom has spent the last 30 years living and working in the United States where he owned and managed a number of businesses predominantly in the health care sector. Click here to read more about Tom.

The Howard Foundation is pleased that Professor John Nolan, the Howard Chair in Human Nutrition at SETU, together with Dr Alfonso Prado-Cabrero, have led the creation of an independent process that will help to guarantee the quality of carotenoid-containing nutritional supplements sold to the public. Their laboratory in the process of gaining ISO certification (ISO/IEC 17025:2017)

Closure of the Lipotrim Programme

The Howard Foundation acknowledges the hard work and dedication of Dr Steve Kreitzman and Mrs Valerie Beeson in their roles as directors of Howard Foundation Research (HFR), supporting and training staff to deliver a programme of weight loss through doctors and pharmacies, thus enabling the success of Lipotrim for over 22 years.

Sadly, the company has had to close the business following the retirement of the directors and due to both supply challenges and the difficulty of finding investors to re-launch the business after the pandemic.

Click here to read more about the Lipotrim programme

Howard Lecture at the RSM

On Monday 28th November, Professor Mark Emberton gave the Howard Foundation 40th anniversary lecture at the Royal Society of Medicine.

Professor Emberton presented the story of how the diagnosis of prostate cancer has been transformed by the introduction of MRI scanning. This was only approved in 2019 and came as a result of two clinical trials led by Professor Emberton. Click here for a further overview of the lecture.

The Howard Foundation began in 1982. The 40th anniversary lecture was introduced by Julie Lambert and Jon Howard, the daughter and son of the founder Dr Alan Howard.

Click on the image below to watch the lecture via the RSM YouTube channel

Ms Julie Lambert, Chair, Howard Foundation and Mr Jon Howard, Secretary, Howard Foundation introduce the lecture

Opera in the Howard Theatre

For three nights, from 26 to 28 October, the Howard Theatre hosted its first opera since the theatre opened in 2010. The opera was Handel’s Semele, performed by the Cambridge University Opera Society together with the Downing College Music Society.

This opera is rarely performed. In his review, William Hale says “Director Max Mason wisely did not adopt a togas-and-tunics look, instead staging the piece in modern dress.  Semele may deal in part with gods and goddesses but they are motivated by very human urges, and these come through wherever the characters find themselves and whatever they are wearing.

Click here to read his full review.

The title role was sung by Ailsa McTernan with James Gant, Hannah Dienes-Williams and Alasdair Austin as the other soloists. The music was directed by Adrian Tsui.

Opera Programme

40th Anniversary Lecture

Dr Alan Howard and his son Jon created the Howard Foundation on 24th October 1982. To commemorate the 40th anniversary, the Foundation is sponsoring a lecture at the Royal Society of Medicine on 28th November 2022. This event is free and available to all.

The title of the lecture is Seeing is believing – the transformation of prostate cancer management over the last decade and it will be given by Mark Emberton who is a Professor of Interventional Oncology within the Division of Surgery and Dean of the Faculty of Medical Science at University College London. He is clinically active and holds the position of Honorary Consultant Urologist at University College London Hospitals NHS Trust where he works as a specialist in prostate cancer. 

He is joined by Dr Matthew Hobbs, Director of Research, Prostate Cancer UK, for a discussion following the lecture, chaired by Professor Roger Kirby, President of the RSM and himself a prostate surgeon with over 40 years’ experience in the NHS and private practice.

You may either attend in person or watch online. For further information and to register, please click to visit the RSM website. After the event, the lecture will be available on YouTube.

The evening opens at 6pm with the lecture starting at 6.30 and the discussion ending at 7.30 to allow time for a drinks reception to network, relax and enjoy a refreshing drink in the RSM’s iconic glass atrium.

Alzheimer’s disease: publication of new research into the role of nutritional supplementation

Dr Alan Howard and Professor John Nolan began working together in 2009, initially looking into the benefits to visual health from nutritional supplements containing the three carotenoids, Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Meso-Zeaxanthin. This led to the Howard Foundation supporting a number of clinical trials and associated research at the Nutrition Research Centre Ireland (NRCI) at which Professor Nolan is the Principal Investigator. The full list of papers resulting from the research supported by the Foundation is given on the Publications page.

By 2014 the research had moved on to looking at brain as well as visual health. The first paper from the Carotenoids and Age-Related Dementia Study (CARDS-1) was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. This showed that patients with Alzheimer’s disease are deficient in carotenoids and have poorer vision when compared to age-matched controls. In 2018, results from the Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trials (CREST) showed, for the first time, that supplementation with the 3 carotenoids in the healthy population improves cognitive function by improving memory.

Further research by Professor Nolan and his team led to the inclusion of omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) with the 3 carotenoids into new studies supported by the Howard Foundation. CARDS-3 was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease in 2018 and indicated that combining the carotenoids with omega-3 fatty acids is beneficial for patients with Alzheimer’s disease. This led to the setting up of a major new trial named Re-MIND (Memory Investigation with Nutrition for Dementia). Patients with mild-moderate Alzheimer’s disease consumed a daily supplement for 12 months in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial.

In October 2022, the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease will publish the results of the Re-MIND trial. This trial has shown that patients with Alzheimer’s disease who consume a nutritional supplement containing fish oil, carotenoids and vitamin E benefit from targeted nutritional intervention. The main outcomes included slower rates of disease progression and greater improvements in mood and memory (as reported by the carers) of patients receiving the active intervention. The Editor-In-Chief, Prof George Perry, says “Re-MIND adds strong clinical evidence to the growing body of data supporting a key role for nutrition in reducing the incidence and slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease with supplements.

The Re-MIND trial was led by Professor John Nolan and Dr Rebecca Power from the NRCI, working with Prof Ríona Mulcahy, Consultant Physician in General and Geriatric Medicine at University Hospital Waterford. The supplements used in the trial were supplied by  Industrial Organica (IOSA) of Mexico and are commercially available as ReMind™ in Europe and the UK and Memory Health® in the USA.

Click here to read the press release from the South East Technological University in Ireland of which the NRCI is a part.

Click here to read the pre-press online publication of the paper which will be published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease Volume (90) Issue (1) on 25 October. DOI: 10.3233/JAD-220556