CWRU Medical Student Calls for Change to FDA Labeling of Trans Fat

Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt

What really are the nutrition facts on those chips you’re eating? That’s what Eric Brandt, student at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, set out to uncover with his research on trans fat. Aware that there often are hidden trans fats in foods, Brandt wanted to discover exactly why that is. Now, his findings, published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, are getting national media attention from outlets such as CBS News and MSNBC and could lead to new labeling regulations from the Food and Drug Administration.

Brandt, who hails from Sterling Heights, Mich., and is on track to graduate from the School of Medicine in 2013, found that current FDA regulations allow foods with less than 0.5 grams of trans fat to be listed as 0 grams trans fat (the FDA policy requires items with less than 5 grams trans fat to be listed in 0.5-gram increments, and food producers can round down to the lower increment). So when individuals eat three servings of foods with “0 grams trans fat,” they really could be ingesting nearly 1.5 grams of trans fat unknowingly, exceeding the recommended daily intake of 1.11 grams. Eating trans fat can lead to coronary heart disease, heart attacks, sudden cardiac death, diabetes, high cholesterol and other serious health issues, Brandt said.

So what happens next? The Daily spoke with Brandt to find out. Read more.

Campus News

Case Western Reserve University will be closed Jan. 17, in observation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Daily will not be published.

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Looking for ways to meet new people and share a special hobby or talent? Thinking about building your résumé and increasing your presentation skills? Presenting a SatCo is a great way to get a head start. If you are interested in presenting please submit a program proposal here. Deadline for submissions is Jan. 28. Spring SatCo will be Feb. 26-27.

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The Weatherhead Tax Assistance Program prepares tax returns free of charge for low-income workers throughout Cleveland. Last year, program volunteers provided tax services to more than 8,000 clients who received $9.1 million in refunds and saved an estimated $2 million in preparation fees. More volunteers are needed—faculty, staff and students—to help continue to expand the program. A beginning training session will be held Jan. 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. An advanced training session also will be held Jan. 29 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For details, email Beth Johnston and Di Huang or check the website.

For Faculty and Staff

The University Fire Safety and Prevention Coordinator offers helpful information regarding the use of space heaters on campus. If you are experiencing difficulties with the heat in your building, contact Plant Services. For urgent building issues, call 216.368.2580. Employees can use space heaters as a temporary solution during these cold winter months as long as they are used safely. Students are prohibited from possessing space heaters in University Housing, per the Student Code of Conduct.

Employees who use space heaters should follow these safety requirements and tips:

• Only use listed and labeled space heaters that have been tested by a recognized testing laboratory (i.e. UL).
• Do not plug space heaters into extension cords. Space heaters must be plugged directly into a wall outlet.
• Keep all combustibles (anything that can burn) at least 3 feet away from the heater.
• Only use in areas where the manufacturer designed them to be used.
• Do not use near water or in areas where flammable or combustible liquids or gases are in use.
• Place the heater on a level surface.
• Do not leave the space heater unattended.
• Turn it off and unplug it when leaving for the day.
• Do not place power cords under carpeting.
• Before using, inspect the heater for any damage and the cord for any signs of deterioration (cracking, fraying, broken or loose connections). If any damage exists, do not use the unit.
• If any problems occur while using the space heater, stop using it immediately.
• Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on use.
• Use space heaters that have tip-over protection, so in the event the space heater falls over it automatically shuts off.
• Use heaters that have thermal cut-off protection, so in the event the space heater becomes too hot it shuts off the heater. Any questions or concerns regarding the use of space heaters should be directed to Jim Dahle, Fire Safety and Prevention Coordinator, at 216.368.3120 or at

For Students

121 Fitness Center, owned and operated by Case Western Reserve University, offers the Spartan Shape Up program for undergraduate students. For just $175, this semester-long membership provides full access to more than 28,000 square feet of top equipment, more than 55 free group exercise classes each week, free lockers and towels and more. New members receive four free personal training sessions and a free T-shirt if they join before Jan. 31. Stop in for a tour and to see the just-installed strength training circuit. 121 is open Monday through Friday, 5:30 a.m.-10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Register online or at the front desk. 121 accepts Case Cash.

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The Writing Resource Center opens Jan. 18. Consultants at the WRC will be available to assist students from all disciplines in either 30- or 60-minute individual sessions. WRC locations include: Bellflower Hall, Kelvin Smith Library, SAGES Cafe and Nord Hall (Rooms 407-408). Online tutoring also is available. Students can make appointments online. For more information, check the website or email the writing center.

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Are you a first or second year student looking to get experience under your belt? Well, here's your chance to shadow over spring break with a Case Western Reserve University alum within your chosen field of interest. Attend the Career Connections workshop Jan. 18 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Nord 310 to learn how you can apply for a Career Connections shadowing opportunity. Registration is now available through CWRULink. For more information contact Laura Papcum.


Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Week events will be held through next week around campus. The following events will take place Jan. 15-18:

Jan. 15:

  • Case Western Reserve University School of Law Center for Social Justice hosts the MLK Day Financial Literacy Event at the East Cleveland Library at 10 a.m.

Jan. 17:

  • The MLK Day Symposium for all faculty, students and staff will celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with activities from noon to 4 p.m. in Thwing Center Ballroom. Registration is required for the event; all attendees receive a complimentary lunch and T-shirt. For more information, contact Kate Kraus.

Jan. 18:

  • Discuss the importance of the bystander and how to address issues at the Active Bystander Awareness Training, sponsored by the Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity. Training will be held in 1914 Lounge at Thwing Center at 11:30 a.m.
  • Create a Dream Quilt, sponsored by the Office of Student Activities and Leadership, University Program Board and the African American Society, at Thwing Center Atrium at 11:30 a.m.
  • View a screening of KING from the series A Journey to Change: The Road to the White House at KSL from noon to 2 p.m.
  • Listen to readers or read your own favorites at Out Loud: African-American Voices from History, sponsored by the Department of English and the Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity, at Guilford House Parlor, 3 p.m.
  • Watch a screening of The Lottery, a documentary of families who enter their children into a charter school lobby, and then join a discussion. Sponsored by CCEL, the Student Leadership Committee at the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations and the Kelvin Smith Library, the event takes place at the Mandel Center at 5:30 p.m.
  • Participants in the SMART Girls and Passport to Manhood programs from the King Kennedy Boys and Girls’ Club will come to the School of Medicine to talk about chronic disease and disease prevention at Empowering Youth to Promote Health in Their Communities. The event, held in the School of Medicine’s third floor lounge at 6 p.m., is sponsored by the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine Student National Medical Association, SMART Girls and Passport to Manhood.

Ongoing events: the Free at Last: A History of the Abolition of Slavery in America display, sponsored by and held at Kelvin Smith Library, and the I Have a Dream display, sponsored by Office of Student Activities and Leadership, at Thwing Center Atrium.

The views and opinions of those invited to speak on campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.

Et al.

Stephanie Liscio
George Dent

School of Law Professor George Dent kicked off the year with presentations and publications. He organized and moderated a “Hot Topics” program Jan. 6 at the Association of American Law Schools meeting in San Francisco on Ideological Diversity and Discrimination in American Law Schools, and he will participate in a panel on Proposition 8 and the Future of Same-Sex Marriage, hosted by the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the American Constitution Society at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law from 6-7 p.m. Jan. 18. Additionally, his article, "Straight Is Better: Why Law and Society May Legitimately Prefer Heterosexuality," is scheduled for publication in the March issue of the Texas Review of Law & Politics.

Jan. 14, 2011

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In the News

Case Sci-fi Movie Marathon Returns for Weekend

The Morning Journal, Jan. 14, 2011
Imagine stepping into a strange world of someone else's dreams, where laws of reality no longer apply. The plot of the 2010 summer blockbuster Inception? Actually, more like the annual Case Western Reserve University Sci-Fi Marathon this weekend in Cleveland (except the menacing beings are actually called "projectionists").

GOP Targeting Greenhouse-Gas Regs

World Net Daily, Jan. 14, 2011
Jessica Green, an assistant professor of political science at Case Western Reserve University, is cited in an article about potential environmental action in Congress.

A Look at Northeast Ohio's Growing Neurotechnology Industry Here

MedCity News, Jan. 13, 2011
NDI Medical, a company started by a Case Western Reserve University graduate, is mentioned in an article about the region's neurotechnology industry.

Higher Ed News

The House's New Higher Ed Leader

Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 14, 2011
The chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, Minnesota's John Kline, announced in December that he had asked Representative Virginia Foxx, a North Carolina Republican, to head the Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness, which deals with postsecondary issues of all sorts, including financial aid, work force development, and the like.