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CORDIS Express: Research focused on health and nutrition

This edition of CORDIS Express takes a look at the health challenges that face us and the many EU-funded research efforts focused on tackling them.

Our health is our wealth. It may be a cliché but it couldn’t be truer, and anyone who has suffered through a painful illness would surely agree. However, there are many elements around us that threaten our health. Powerful infectious diseases and pandemics can indiscriminately sweep across whole communities, sometimes with little warning. The current outbreak of Ebola in west Africa, for example, is the largest and most complex outbreak since the virus was first discovered in 1976. And the risk is not limited to one country or continent — the World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General has declared that this outbreak is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Meanwhile, the huge burden of chronic and degenerative diseases keeps growing as Europe’s population ages. In fact, chronic diseases — long-lasting conditions such as diabetes and heart disease that can be controlled but not cured — are the major cause of premature death around the world, even in places where infectious disease are rampant. The significant risk posed by antimicrobial resistance is also a growing concern. These health challenges may seem daunting but let’s not forget the great progress made by our researchers, policy-makers and health workers in recent years. Worldwide, the average age life expectancy has increased from 48 years to 66 years since 1955. And although the HIV epidemic continues to be a major global health challenge, there has been a decline in the number of AIDS-related deaths worldwide and improved health and longer lives are now possible for those who are infected. Additionally, the world is on track to reduce Tuberculosis (TB) mortality to 50 % of 1990 levels by 2015. European research and innovation in nutrition and health is playing a role in efforts to help tackle health challenges. Whether it’s about improving nutrition, ensuring adequate decontamination or exploring cures and treatments for disease, EU research projects are an investment in our health and, ultimately, in a healthy workforce, a healthy economy and lower public health bills. That’s why during the first two years of Horizon 2020, the EU will invest some EUR 1 200 million in the challenge of Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing. Open calls currently include Personalising Health and Care and Health Co-ordination activities . There are many EU-funded research projects focused on health and nutrition underway at this moment. This edition of CORDIS Express takes a look at just a handful of these efforts. - 3D food printing technology to help people with chewing difficulties - Promoting the positive effects of nutrition on health - A chemical-free decontamination system for fruit and vegetables - Trending science: Skin-like patch to monitor your health - Helping SMEs to make us healthier - Opening up about health care innovation - Statistics provide clues to health and ageing