An unhealthy lifestyle that includes a pro-inflammatory "Western diet", physical inactivity, work-related stress, and other environmental factors have a major impact on our health. These factors drive chronic inflammation, leading to organ dysfunction and non-communicable diseases such as obesity, chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and brain disorders. Since the gut controls the regulation of inflammatory responses and dietary habits have emerged as the most relevant factor for health-to-disease transitions, the interface of diet, microbiota, and host is crucial to unravelling key factors for chronic inflammation and developing prediction strategies.
Yet, this so-called “diet-microbiome-metabolite-immune axis” still widely constitutes a “blind range of imminent disease”. Although many of the environmental factors driving chronic inflammation are modifiable with great potential to benefit a person’s health, healthcare providers still act in most cases too far downstream in the process and citizens usually do not seek medical help before an organ dysfunction results in clinical symptoms. Moreover, individual risk and resilience profiles of non-communicable diseases are largely unknown and cannot be simply inferred from visible factors (such as age, sex, BMI, smoking, etc.).
The EU-funded research project "IMMEDIATE" aims to explore the "diet-microbiome-metabolite-immune axis" to enhance our understanding of the mechanisms and molecular pathways that underpin health-to-disease transitions. IMMEDIATE will use machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyse significantly large datasets and assess risk/resilience profiles for chronic inflammation. The goal is to identify a pre-disease stage during which end-organ damage and clinically symptomatic disease can still be successfully prevented by appropriate interventions, including dietary and lifestyle modifications. Furthermore, a proof-of-concept human study will be conducted on healthcare professionals who are exposed to high levels of stress to examine the beneficial, anti-inflammatory effect of a probiotic intervention. Ultimately, the project endeavours to develop mobile apps that will provide personalised lifestyle recommendations and empower citizens to manage their own health proactively.