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UNBC professor wins an international research prize for upcoming vitamin project

Dr. Jacqueline Pettersen has won her second international research prize this year
Dr Jacqueline Pettersen, Hevert award
Dr. Jacqueline Pettersen accepts the 2018 Dr. Wolfgang Hevert Prize from the Hevert siblings. (via UNBC)

A UNBC researcher from the Northern Medical Program (NMP) has won an international prize for an upcoming first-of-its-kind study on how vitamins affect cognition.

NMP associate professor Dr. Jacqueline Pettersen was awarded the 2018 Dr. Wolfgang Hevert Prize for a proposed study on vitamins D and K2 in relation to cognition.

She is the first researcher from North America to receive the German-based prize since its inception in 2006.

IMG_8230fcDr. Jacqueline Pettersen is a cognitive/behavioural neurologist and associate professor in the Northern Medical Program. (via UNBC)
This is also the second international award that Pettersen has won this year, as she received the Fritz Wörwag research prize in Berlin this past May.

“This will be the first study to directly assess the effects of vitamin K2 supplementation in conjunction with vitamin D on cognition,” said Dr. Pettersen in a press release. “This project will build upon my previous research on vitamin D and cognition. It is certainly validating that internationally recognized experts in the field feel that the study is very worthwhile.”

Pettersen received the Dr. Wolfgang Hevert Prize in Baden-Baden, Germany on Nov. 3 at the medical congress during Medicine Week (Medizinische Woche).

The prize, which includes an endowment of €10,000 Euros, is awarded to a planned scientific study which seeks to clarify questions in the field of natural medicine and therapies.

The award recipients are selected through an independent panel of scientific experts.

Pettersen’s proposed trial will look at evaluating the effects on cognition of vitamin D alone, and vitamin D combined with vitamin K2, as compared to a placebo control, in normal healthy adults.

“Vitamin D and Vitamin K2 are known to work in a complementary fashion in terms of bone mineralization and prevention of arterial calcification and related atherosclerosis,” explained Pettersen. “There is some suggestion that K2 may also have beneficial effects in the brain and on cognition and these effects may possibly be increased by vitamin D.

Pettersen says insufficiencies of both vitamins are thought to be common worldwide and associated with cognitive decline and dementia.  She says there have been no prior studies on assessing the effects of K2 supplementation on cognition either with or without Vitamin D.

The Dr. Wolfgang Hevert Prize is provided through the Hevert Foundation, in conjunction with Hevert-Arzneimittel, a German company specializing in natural remedies.

“The research project submitted by Dr. Jacqueline Pettersen from the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George, Canada, convinced the panel especially regarding the scientific advancement, the usability of the expected results for prevention and therapy as well as the relevance for the health system,” said Mathias Hevert, in a press release.

Mathias is a board member with the Hevert Foundation, and he presented the award to Pettersen together with his siblings Sarah and Marcus Hevert who are also board members.

“We are very happy to award this year’s Dr. Wolfgang Hevert Prize to Dr. Pettersen.”

The prize is awarded every two years and is dedicated to the work of the Hevert siblings’ father, Dr. Wolfgang Hevert.