A new federally funded study will use machine learning to predict how an individual responds to a given diet, allowing physicians to offer patients personalized nutrition prescriptions to improve health and treat chronic diseases.
“Food lies at the epicenter of health and disease. But clinical nutrition is still limited to a one-size-fits-all-approach that far too often fails a large segment of the population,” said Eric Ravussin, Ph.D., Associate Executive Director for Clinical Science at Pennington Biomedical Research Center.
Experts say what is needed is precision, the ability to prescribe diets that account for the factors unique to each person, such as genetics, metabolism, physiology, behaviour and their microbiome.
Nutrition for Precision Health, powered by the All of Us Research Program will develop a first-of-its-kind algorithm to predict individual responses to food and dietary habits. The study will recruit 10,000 people nationwide from the one million U.S. residents who have volunteered their health data for the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Research Program.
As one of six clinical sites in the nation, Pennington Biomedical plans to enroll more than 2,000 participants in three study modules.
Scientists at the six clinical sites will follow 10,000 participants while they eat their usual diets. The study will also gather data on 1,500 participants who will follow one of three prescription diets while living at home. A final group of 500 participants will follow the same diets during stays at clinical sites.
Researchers will measure blood sugar levels and biomarkers of cardiometabolic health, such as insulin resistance, blood pressure and blood lipids. Wearables will be used to track participants’ physical activity and sleep. Researchers will also collect samples of blood, urine, saliva, hair and stool to assess the impact of people’s diets.
This large research project is expected to bring us closer to precision medicine. The study will generate a massive dataset and algorithms that will lead to personalized dietary prescriptions that can promote health, prevent heart attack or stroke and address health disparities.
The National Institutes of Health awarded $170 million over five years to fund the Nutrition for Precision Health program.
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