The Cyprus International Institute for the Environment and Public Health proposes to conduct cutting-edge research in molecular and metabolic epidemiology and gene-environment interaction, in cooperation with Harvard University. Through an investigation of obesity and metabolism in a cohort of young Cypriots, we will establish a framework for cross-sectional and prospective studies of historical, anthropometric, clinical, hormonal, and genetic parameters.
The prevalence of obesity and metabolic syndrome has increased in all western countries and Cyprus has surpassed the US with more than 67% of males being overweight or obese. Obesity is becoming an epidemic; it increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in Europe, and associated conditions such as diabetes and hypertension with negative impacts on well-being, economic productivity and the society. Because metabolic syndrome is multi-factorial, with multiple genetic underpinnings expressed through various hormonal pathways, better understanding of the hormone-gene-environment interaction is required. For this reason, a random sample of young adults (members of the Cypriot Army) will participate in the study, during which blood samples, questionnaires, and clinical measurements will be obtained, and advanced hormonal and genetic analyses will be carried out in high throughput laboratories. Because of Cyprus' size, a large proportion of the original participants are expected to be accessible for periodic follow-ups.
Therefore, the proposal should lead to additional future funding to carry out long-term, longitudinal studies of cardiovascular and other outcomes, like the famous Framingham and Nurses Health studies in the US. Using comprehensive baseline data and the archive of biologic samples, we are confident that the "GEMS" study would make Cyprus an important international contributor in the fields of molecular and metabolic epidemiology and health outcomes.
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