William B. Grant, PhD

William B. Grant, PhD


Professional Career: Worked at the level of senior research scientist in the fields of optical and laser remote sensing of the atmosphere and atmospheric sciences at SRI International, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the NASA Langley Research Center. This career included doing pioneering laser remote sensing instrument development, while the latter half included participating on many NASA-led airborne atmospheric chemistry field missions to the far corners of the world, as well as writing a number of papers on the observations. Author or coauthor of over 60 articles in the peer-reviewed journals, edited 2 books of reprints, and contributed half a dozen chapters to other books. Elected Fellow of the Optical Society of America in 1992.

Current Position: Director, Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center, an entity devoted to research, education, and advocacy relating to the prevention of chronic disease through changes in diet and lifestyle.

Key contributions in the field of nutrition and ultraviolet radiation research, health and disease:

  • Published the first paper linking diet to Alzheimer’s disease and identifying the major dietary components that are risk and risk reduction factors.
  • Presented strong evidence that sweeteners are an important risk factor for coronary heart disease for pre-menopausal women.
  • Extended the list of internal cancers for which vitamin D reduces the risk from 5 to 16 in an ecologic study including solar ultraviolet-B (UVB) irradiance, degree of urbanization, lung cancer mortality rates, alcohol consumption, fraction of white Americans with Hispanic heritage, and fraction of the population living below the poverty level (submitted).
  • Confirmed a recent finding from Scandinavia that men with moderate serum 25(OH)D levels have lower risk for prostate cancer than those with lower or higher levels. An ecologic study of prostate cancer mortality rates in the U.S. was used.
  • Confirmed allium family vegetables (onions, garlic, etc.) as important risk reduction factors for prostate cancer.
  • Confirmed that animal products are important risk factors for breast, colon, and prostate cancer.
  • Performed a critical review of papers reporting findings on vitamin D and colorectal cancer, concluding that at the population level, dietary vitamin D amounts are insufficient at present to significantly reduce the risk; only total ingested vitamin D (diet plus supplements) plus solar or artificial UVB can raise serum 25(OH)D3 levels to protective levels.
  • Summarized the evidence on UVB and vitamin D in reducing the risk of non-calcemic diseases for a National Institutes of Health vitamin D conference (submitted).

Current health-related research activities:

  • Making the case that autism is, to some extent, a maternal vitamin D-deficient disease.
  • Extending studies on solar UVB and vitamin D in reducing the risk of cancer.
  • Extending studies on dietary links to cancer and other chronic diseases.
  • Investigating dietary, lifestyle, smoking, and UV links to melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer.
  • Investigating the health aspects of solar and artificial UVA and UVB.
  • Working to restore the ecologic approach to a position of respect among the health research community.
  • Researching whether autism is, to some extent, a maternal vitamin D-deficient disease, and the role that infant vaccinations may play.

Key publications:
Grant WB. Dietary links to Alzheimer’s disease. Alz Dis Rev 1997;2:42-55 http://www.mc.uky.edu/adreview/Vol2/Grant/grant.pdf (55 Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) citations, 4 book citations)

Grant WB. Milk and other dietary influences on coronary heart disease. Altern Med Rev, 1998;3:281?94. http://www.thorne.com/altmedrev/.fulltext/3/4/281.html (5 ISI citations, 1 book citation)

Grant WB. An ecologic study of dietary and solar UV-B links to breast carcinoma mortality rates. Cancer. 2002;94:272-81. (16 ISI citations) http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/89012143/START

Grant WB. An estimate of premature cancer mortality in the United States due to inadequate doses of solar ultraviolet-B radiation, Cancer. 2002;94:1867-75. http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/91016211/START (26 ISI citations) (note – this puts the paper in the top 1 percentile of clinical medicine papers published in 2002) http://www.in-cites.com/thresholds-highly-cited.html

Grant WB. A multicountry ecologic study of risk and risk reduction factors for prostate cancer mortality, Eur Urol. 2004;45:371-9.

Grant WB, Garland CF. A critical review of studies on vitamin D in relation to colorectal cancer. Nutr Cancer. in press (accepted mid-February 2004).

Grant WB. Geographic variation of prostate cancer mortality rates in the U.S.A.; implications for prostate cancer risk related to vitamin D; Int J Cancer. (accepted Feb. 12, 2004)