The University of Tartu and the Nestle Institute of Health Sciences based in Lausanne, Switzerland have signed a three-year collaboration aimed at better understanding the biological mechanisms involved in long term weight maintenance.
The purpose of the collaboration is to discover the molecular characteristics that define resistance to weight gain and it will be done by analyzing biological samples and clinical data stored in the Estonian biobank run by the University of Tartu Estonian Genome Center.
“It is known, for instance, that people who eat equal amounts of food gain or lose weight differently despite having equal levels of physical activity. The reasons for this are not known yet,” said the director of the Estonian Genome Center, Andres Metspalu. “Today, when health problems caused by obesity are a growing problem all over the world also health expenditures for treatment of Type 2 diabetes are increasing proportionally. Hence the subject that will be researched together is important not only for Estonia and Switzerland but in a much wider context,” Metspalu said.
“Understanding the biological reasons why some people are resistant to weight gain could provide new biological targets for weight management solutions. We are going to look for these targets in collaboration with the University of Tartu Estonian Genome Center. Our long term goal is to discover targeted nutritional approaches to improve weight management in obese people,” said Emmanuel Baetge, head of the Nestle Institute of Health Sciences.
The population based biobank of the Estonian Genome Center currently holds information about nearly 52,000 donors, with medical records and lifestyle data including eating habits.
Research for the collaboration will be carried out simultaneously in Estonia and Switzerland.
Source: Estonian Review / BNS