Last weekend I attended the Science of Nutrition in Medicine Conference in Melbourne and for those of you that didn’t make it I can tell you, it wasn’t your regular CPE event.  I’m not sure if the debate inside the presentations or outside in the breaks was more interesting but I can say that I haven’t seen this much stimulated thought, heated discussion and passion at company run events.  Why?

Well, the best thing about this conference (& in my opinion has always been its strength), is that it is a genuine attempt at a collaboration between mainstream and integrative nutrition research i.e. the conference is primarily run and organised by ACNEM but the presenters are a mix of highly regarded conservative research groups such as CSIRO and key universities, as well as some of the more liberal thinkers, such as Professor Berk (of NAC fame), Jerome Sarris etc.  And thanks to parallel presentations & the Q & A sessions, some of these researchers with opposing opinions actually went head to head, debating each other in front of us!

No façade of consensus regarding the simplicity of human health & wellbeing that is all neatly packaged into a protocol here…oh no not here… thank goodness!

While some practitioners might find the disparate ideas & research findings frustrating, most people I ran into at the conference were revelling in the opportunity to hear from the researchers firsthand for a change and then form their own opinion. And it was great to see so many practitioners there 🙂

The conference kicked off with the ultimate mix of opening speakers – covering the entire spectrum from hard hitting to hit the floor laughing!  Professor John Funder, talked about the Epidemiology of Obesity and before you start yawning (as secretly I was getting ready to do!!), this was one of the most engaging and fresh perspectives on a well-worn topic I have heard in a very long time…including the gem:

“The stage is set for obesity before the child can even reach the fridge door because the primary influence is the 4 years before a child’s third birthday” and yes he is referring to the impact and importance of the preconception environment & nutrition!

Prior to Professor Funder, most of us could be found madly texting, tweeting, facebooking everyone we know to tell them that we were in the same room as the real Clever Greene!  Yes that awful but somehow loveable & incredibly unhealthy reprobate that was the central character in the ABC TV series, Rake.  As he said himself at the outset, he wasn’t quite sure he belonged at conference but perhaps he was there to represent the consumer, as he had spent the first half of his life trying to kill himself through sheer excess and now the second half trying to live forever under the guidance of an integrative doctor…or die in the process trying!  His speech gave me the most laughs I’ve had in months and I know was a bit of highlight for lots of people.

So in short, if you weren’t there, you missed out!  ACNEM, CSIRO & NSA should be congratulated on this year’s event which, from where I was standing, appeared to be a huge success and hopefully, next year more of us will mark this one on the calendar and prioritise attending it over the pre-digested….packaged into a protocol stuff, that many of the companies are churning out 🙂

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