The European Union, like the rest of the world, is faced with an epidemic of the related chronic conditions, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Unless steps are taken to alleviate this crisis, the cost of treating the long-term consequences of these conditions could overwhelm our healthcare systems. Although genetic factors increase the risk of developing these conditions, their rapid current global rise must be due to environmental factors. Obesity and insulin resistance, both precursors of Type 2 diabetes, arise due to an imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure. This in turn may be due to two features of the modern urban lifestyle: (i) frequent consumption of processed foods with high energy and low fibre content; (ii) reduction in the amount of exercise taken due to changes in social and transport patterns. It is now well established that regular exercise, combined with an improved diet, provides protection against the development of these conditions, as well as a first line of treatment. The aim of the consortium is to provide a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved, especially in terms of the signalling pathways and changes in gene expression, that provide these beneficial effects of exercise. Our consortium will address these questions using a range of multidisciplinary approaches including:
(i) molecular and cell biology;
(ii) studies of animal models;
(iii) physiological studies in human volunteers of both genders;
(iv) epidemiological and genetic studies of large human populations of both genders.
The consortium includes companies in the areas of food production, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, who will ensure rapid application of the findings made. Improved understanding of the molecular basis of the beneficial effects of exercise will yield applications not only in these industries, but will also provide a sounder theoretical basis for policies regarding promotion of good health.
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeIP - Integrated Project