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Mapping Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases Research Activities and their Impact

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Mapping European research on non-communicable diseases

According to the World Health Organisation, millions of people worldwide suffer from chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as chronic respiratory disease (CRD). Fragmented research and poor dissemination hampers the effective translation of results into clinical practice.


Given the socioeconomic burden of NCDs such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), there is a need to understand their biology and develop effective interventions. For this purpose, we should integrate research efforts and ensure that results get translated into clinical practice. The EU-funded MAPPING_NCD (Mapping chronic non-communicable diseases research activities and their impact) project aimed to map research programs and initiatives in the field of NCDs. The primary goal was to identify potential overlaps and opportunities for future collaboration, and to contribute to the development of evidence-based policies in NCD research. MAPPING_NCD focused on CVD, CRD, diabetes, cancer and mental health. The first step of the project was to perform bibliometric mapping and analysis of the volume of research outputs. The consortium also collected and compared primary and secondary data through the use of common definition criteria and qualitative and quantitative research methodology. For cancer research alone, Europe spent 14 billion euros during 2002-2013 with funding from the EU, the government or alternative sources such as charities. In contrast, the involvement of charitable organisations in mental health disease research was limited and the majority of funding was public. Results indicated that with respect to CVD, research should aim to establish a reliable and solid database for monitoring disease prevalence in Europe. In addition, there should be more focus on heart failure and on raising patient awareness for CVD risk management. With respect to CRD, the consortium proposed an increase in the practice of stratified medicine. For diabetes, future research priorities should focus on understanding disease aetiology and improving prevention and treatment. Regarding cancer, data indicated that if detected early, between half and a third of cancers could be treated. Furthermore, most types of cancers could be prevented by avoiding certain lifestyle behaviours associated with alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking, lack of physical activity, and unhealthy diet. Collectively, the MAPPING_NCD work emphasised the findings of NCD research in Europe and identified gaps that need to be addressed. Project recommendations will guide future investments in the respective research areas and hopefully improve our understanding, diagnosis and treatment of NCDs.


Research, non-communicable diseases, chronic respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, mental health

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