Welcome to the blog of team Metabold, semifinalist in the #helsinkichallenge. Our mission is to enable more healthy years!
What is the problem?
One of the greatest achievements of the past century is that people are living longer than ever before. Globally, we have already 800 million people over 60 years, and by 2050, the number will be more than doubled. However, at the same time global birth rates have declined. This will result in increasing health care costs due to ageing population, which need to be covered by fewer taxpayers.
What makes the problem even more serious is that the number of healthy years has not increased at the same pace as the total life expectancy. In many societies, older people cannot afford the basic healthcare, which results in more severe diseases, heavy medication and often hospitalization. Therefore, we need more preventive actions in order to increase the healthy years of old people.
One essential aspect is to focus on the combined effect of medication and nutrition on health. This is important, because optimized and balanced nutrition promotes good health, and can reduce the need of medication, whereas multiple drugs combined may have severe side effects.
Well, why won’t the health care system simply just do it? Because there are no tools for it. Current clinical methods are not able to measure the overall effect of lifestyle including nutrition and medication, because the system is relying on just a narrow range of biomarkers measured from blood. Current situation is like looking through a narrow key hole, and with such limited view you are missing the big picture.
This is especially true when it comes to human body functions. Metabolic functions in every living cell are the basis of life and these processes consist of thousands of interacting compounds, also called metabolites. That is why the current clinical measures, which focus only on few components like cholesterol, don’t tell much about the whole picture and can miss many unexpected findings! This is a major challenge for the current healthcare system.
Here is our solution
Our solution is to guide treatment of elderly people using metabolite profiling. With this technology, we can measure hundreds, even thousands, of metabolites within one analysis (more details how this methods works will be in our future blog posts!).
Putting it simply, our aim, when using this method, is to measure as many as possible metabolites from a sample to get the big picture. This includes biomarkers for nutritional status as well as levels of many medications.
Therefore, we will develop a screening method based on metabolite profiling, that would enable monitoring of nutritional and medicational status, and thereafter enable optimizing these on personalized level.
What about the impact?
Impact of our solution comes when this new method can be implemented as part of the routine, preventive health care of old people worldwide. From the society point of view, it will mean reduction in health care costs. More importantly, for an individual, it will allow more healthy years and improvement in life quality at the later part of the life span.
How are we going to achieve this? Our team consists of experienced scientists with solid academic background and who have all the required scientific knowhow to make this happen. We will introduce our team members in the future blog posts.
Furthermore, we are currently building network with important stakeholders, and have already many interested instances onboard, and have still room for new ones!
We are participating in the Helsinki Challenge to build the required community so that we can be sure to make our solution such that will have a real world impact. And, we do need funding to pilot and develop the solution described above.
So, if you are interested, please share your ideas and thoughts, and help us to get more healthy years to the elderly people. We all deserve it!