Being fit and healthy even at high age is a high value for many people. A key factor in this is a healthy diet. People, who eat well and healthily throughout their lives, are less likely to be ill in old age. But how exactly is healthy nutrition defined? How healthy do older people in Germany eat? Would they even accept new nutrition recommendations? The competence cluster Nutritional Intervention for Healthy Aging (NutriAct) is investigating these questions in the Berlin-Potsdam area. The aim is to create the scientific basis for age-appropriate nutritional interventions and recommendations. In addition, new foods are to be developed that enable healthy nutrition. The cluster focuses in particular on the middle-aged population (50-70 years) in order to promote healthy aging beyond the age of 70. To this end, the neurobiological, psychological, social and familial basis of food choices and, in particular, their influencing factors within family structures, will be analyzed. In addition, research will be conducted to determine whether sociocultural factors influence taste preferences and dietary practices. A central question here is the significance of gender-specific effects in connection with taste orientations within a partnership. In addition, the extent to which moments of upheaval, such as the transition to retirement, separation, or an illness, influence eating practices will be examined. On the basis of the nutrition pattern analyses, realistically implementable nutrition recommendations will be developed. The central element of the cluster is an intervention study in which the effectiveness, adherence and acceptance of the NutriAct dietary pattern rich in plant proteins, fiber and unsaturated fatty acids will be systematically tested. Based on this, new healthy and palatable foods will be developed that will be accepted by consumers. Accompanying this will be the identification of new biomarkers that predict the effects of a particular diet on health status, especially in old age.
The German-Canadian consortium NephroCAGE is cooperating to demonstrate the added value of artificial intelligence (AI) using the concrete clinical example of kidney transplantation. Inadequate kidney function requires regular dialysis: there are currently around 100,000 dialysis patients in Germany, and around half that number in Canada. Dialysis costs approximately 30-40k EUR per patient per year. In comparison, a kidney transplant costs around 15-20 thousand euros. In 2019, more than 2,100 kidney transplants were performed in Germany (German Organ Transplant Foundation) and more than 1,700 in Canada (Canadian Institute for Health in Canada). However, suitable donor organs are rare: in Germany, for example, there are more than 7,000 patients on a waiting list, and in Canada more than 3,000. Even after a transplant, there is a risk of complications that can lead to severe limitations in kidney function or, in the worst case, even total loss of the organ.
The consortium partners are creating a learning AI system to match organ donors and recipients even more precisely in advance (matching) and thus prevent risks in kidney transplants. To this end, clinical centers of excellence in both nations are contributing transplant data from the last ten years. They will be analyzed using AI learning techniques and combined together with a novel matching algorithm to create clinical prognostic models for kidney transplant patients. By using a federated learning approach, where the algorithms are executed at the location of the data, data protection is maintained and sensitive health data from both nations can serve as a common basis for clinical prognostic models for the first time. As a result, a clinical demonstrator will be created to serve the exploitation of the medical and technical innovations in the context of care, as well as a basis for exploitation and follow-on projects.
The University of British Columbia, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Vancouver, British Columbia
The cooperation project Systems Medicine of Heart Failure (SMART) focuses on researching risk factors of heart failures. The onset and course of heart failure (HF) is triggered by a complex regulatory network that includes stressors (pressure overload by individual anatomic hemodynamic settings), intrinsic (genes), environmental (regulating epigenetics), and modifying factors (such as hormones and the immune system). SMART aims to establish individualized strategies for the prevention and management of HF by early detection of the physiological, genomic, proteomic and hemodynamic mechanisms that lead from one common cause of ventricular dysfunction (pressure overload) to maladaptive remodeling and irreversible HF. To cope with the complexity of HF, SMART will interrelate models describing the interplay between genome, proteome and cell function, regulating hormones, tissue composition and hemodynamic whole organ function up to a whole body description of a patient and patient cohorts. The ultimate goal is to demonstrate proof-of-concept tools for predicting disease evolution and efficacy of treatment in a given patient. To achieve this task SMART will apply – A modelling framework that couples multi-scale mechanistic models with in-depth genome/proteome, cell physiology and whole organ (biomechanical and fluid dynamic) models – Subsequently, investigate methods validity and relevance for “quantitative prediction” of treatment outcome in a clinical proof-of-concept trial (demonstrator) of patients with aortic valve diseases.
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5.Kraus, M., Niedermeier, J., Jankrift, M., Tietboehl, S., Stachewicz, T., Folkerts, H., Uflacker, M., Neves, M.: Olelo: a web application for intuitive exploration of biomedical literature. Nucleic acids research. (2017).
6.Schapranow, M.-P., Kraus, M., Danner, M., Plattner, H.: IMDBfs: Bridging the Gap between In-Memory Database Technology and File-Based Tools for Life Sciences. Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedicine. bll. 1133–1139. IEEE (2016).