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Preventive Health, Nutrition & Behaviour

With the help of new technologies, OnePlanet Research Center works on improving quality of life and reducing the pressure on and costs in healthcare. OnePlanet Research Center is focussing on preventive health because of the major influence of nutrition on our health.

Food, or rather good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle are key ingredients for a healthy life. Health specialists, including those within our own founding partners’ organizations, indicate that preventing is often more effective than having to cure someone from a disease later on.

What if.. we can live in a world in which we can have insights into- and ownership over our own bodies, so we can make personalized adjustments to our lifestyle to prevent serious health issues down the line?

OnePlanet believes it is possible. Chip and digital technologies are being developed with which you can measure the metabolic and mental health of people. Models are being developed with which the obtained data can be analyzed and the health risks of people can be predicted. These predictions make it possible to provide personalized advice for preventive measures, such as an adjusted diet. In this way we can slow down or even prevent the development of chronic diseases such as diabetes and depression.

Stronger together

How do you encourage people to make healthier choices? This requires an integrated approach. The combined expertise and knowledge of the founders of OnePlanet (Wageningen University, Radboud University, Radboudumc and nanotechnology company imec) enables the research center to view preventive health, nutrition, behavior and possible technological applications from different angles. So instead of different people looking at different pieces of the puzzle, OnePlanet looks at the whole picture.

By working closely together and complimenting each other’s expertise, the founders can work within OnePlanet and jump-start research and develop applications to help people make healthy choices.

Why technology?

The technology we are exploring and developing at OnePlanet, allows for very personalized and detailed measurements. Take for example the ‘Smart bathroom’. The sensor technology we use here, makes it possible to detect early markers in urine and provides insights into what changes happen in a certain timeframe.  This allows us to provide concrete, personalized advice to optimize someone’s health. The adjustments that are required from people are small and less invasive than when you have to treat a bigger health issue along the way.

The starting point of any solution we explore is sensing technology. This technology allows us to continuously measure specific indicators and collect data from several (existing and new) sources. The data will then be collected in an integrated, multi-source data platform. The next step is for that data to be analyzed and interpreted for use in an application towards a specific target audience, to achieve personalized behavior change.

Applications

In the coming years, OnePlanet will focus on innovations such as the “Smart bathroom for health”; in which urine measurements and physiology are central, the “Ingestible”; with a focus on gut health and nutrition and the wearable “CHILL +”; where we investigate how to measure mental well-being and stress. All of these projects converge in the “human digital twin,” which is literally a digital copy of an individual. Bringing the data together in these digital twins provides personalized insights into their health and wellbeing. Doing this in a safe way is key; the individual always remains the owner of their digital twin in order to gain control over their body and health choices.

 

Sub-themes

The following sub-themes fall under this domain:

Nutrition & mental well-being

The nutrition & mental well-being program focuses on measuring nutritional behavior and mental well-being in a broad sense. Mental well-being here, includes the objective measurement of stress, pain and the positive / negative influences on them. The objective measurement of stress and behavior is very difficult and therefore often hinders the correct choice / dosage of therapy. The relationship between stress-related eating behavior is complex.

With the studies of eating behavior and nutritional intake and the effects on mental well-being, a closed loop approach can become possible: with the continuous data collection in the home situation, and the data analysis on this, algorithms can provide personal feedback. This offers citizens personal support in changing their lifestyle and eating habits.

Metabolic health

What if … you can slow down or even prevent chronic conditions? And can you reduce healthcare costs by providing more appropriate care to patients?

OnePlanet Research Center believes it can be done by predicting health risks. That is why OnePlanet is developing digital techniques that can measure people’s metabolic health, but it also looks at the way in which they absorb food and what impact that has. Think of a smart pill that can measure and detect problems in your gastrointestinal system or a smart toilet and bathroom that can give you targeted health advice.

Innovations

The following innovations are relevant to this domain:

Want to know more?

Contact our program manager for this domain