New appointment to the Cullman Chemoprotection Center

The Johns Hopkins Department of Medicine just announced the transfer of my primary appointment to their Division of Clinical Pharmacology, and my change from Acting Director to Director of the Cullman Chemoprotection Center.

Their blog post highlights our interest in inclusive research collaborations across the entire JHU community (which includes the Arts and Science campus and the schools of Public Health, Nursing, Engineering, Education, and Business).

The center occupies space in both the Rangos and Wood Basic Science Buildings. In addition to basic research on the development and application of plant-based compounds for the prevention and treatment of chronic disease, the Cullman Center collaborates on a range of clinical studies both domestically and internationally.

Autism report covered in national press

We are happy about the following coverage on our recent report which studied sulforaphane’s ability to alleviate symptoms of autism. For more information on the study, please see our website for The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Chemoprotection Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine here, and FAQs here.

To summarize, from ABC News’ Broccoli Sprout Extract May Help Curb Autism Symptoms (Oct 13, 2014):

Study authors found that patients [with autism] who took sulforaphane improved. Almost half of the patients treated with sulforaphane had “much improved” or “very much improved” social interaction and verbal communication, and more than half exhibited less aberrant behavior. When the patients stopped taking the extract, they returned to baseline levels for these symptoms within four weeks.


Importlantly, the Disability Scoop website’s article points out:

Researchers caution that their findings will need to be replicated in a larger study and noted that about a third of those who took sulforaphane did not see any improvement. What’s more, they said the doses of sulforaphane given to study participants would be difficult to achieve by eating broccoli or other cruciferous vegetables.

Sulforaphane is believed to prompt a cellular stress response in the body much like a fever does when a person is ill. Researchers said they were inspired to try the treatment after hearing anecdotally from families that fevers seemed to trigger improvements in autism symptoms.

“We believe that this may be preliminary evidence for the first treatment for autism that improves symptoms by apparently correcting some of the underlying cellular problems,” said Paul Talalay of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, a co-author of the study.


This short video from CBS News summarizes the study and interviews a family whose son has autism:

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Lastly, Autism Speaks, a leading autism science and advocacy organization, also reported on the study here.

Press coverage on the China study

Our recent study has been mentioned in the press this week:

In The Wall Street Journal‘s How Eating Broccoli Can Help Your Body Cope with Air Pollution, Te-Ping Chen explains:

According to a study published this week by the journal Cancer Prevention Research, an experiment conducted in eastern China’s Jiangsu province found that feeding villagers beverages concocted from broccoli sprouts had various salutary effects, including helping the body to more speedily eliminate ingested air pollutants.


Then, Broccoli Loves Us in The Atlantic:

“This study points to a frugal, simple, and safe means that can be taken by individuals,” said lead researcher Thomas Kensler, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in a press statement, “to possibly reduce some of the long-term health risks associated with air pollution.”

The author, James Hamblin MD, somewhat humorously states:

Chemoprevention could empower people who live in areas with high levels of air pollution, and this study will provide leverage for broccoli-pushing parents everywhere.


Lastly, Alessandro Sorrentino highlights some sobering facts in The World of Chinese‘s Fighting Air Pollution with Broccoli.

It’s no secret that one of the biggest health problems facing the people of China is pollution. CNN Money reports that the problem is so severe that it slashes an average of 5.5-years off the health from the average Chinese citizen, and The Guardian reports that the toxic levels are now so bad that it represents “Nuclear Winter.”


See the abstract from our study here.