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MICROBIOME

One of the current challenges in countries with a rapidly expanding elderly population, in the year 2030, the number of elderly population in Singapore is expected to rise to 16%, this mean increase demands of quality health care. While this increasing trend also reflects the need for advancement and compliment of healthcare, sanitization and infrastructure.

There was a recent realization that the gut microbiome massively influences host metabolism and body function represents a paradigm shift in our current understanding of the importance of gut microbe metabolic function and physiology for health in general and the occurrence of a number of non-communicable diseases specifically. Moreover, the microbiome composition varies across ages, suggesting age dependent regulation of host physiology. While the healthy gut microbiome constitutes a very complex and diverse microbial population, there is a success possibility of developing an understanding of the neonate throughout life to the elderly with reduced biodiversity at young and old age. Factors affecting the microbiome of the elderly include, diet stressors, age, institution care or home living, dental health, infection, hygiene, sanitization and urban/rural living.

In recent years, research conducted on mice fed with normal and high fat diet, with or without exercise also showed that exercise alone was sufficient to result in massive shifts in the microbiome, producing an almost similar effect as diet alone. While it is likely that dietary composition and physical activity has significant influence in health status, and specifically the occurrence of major non-communicable diseases, it is less clear how the gut microbiome and its interaction with the diet in question affects health. The purpose of the investigation is to identify differences in metabolic phenotype between sedentary and active senior and young men, in order to establish links between genes, immune parameters and gut health.

This project comprises of a team of researchers, from Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, NTU, School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, School of Humanities and Social Sciences and National Institute of Education Singapore (NIE), Physical Education and Sport Science. The GUTMI project focuses on the comparison of the micro-organism (microbe) profile in the gut between sedentary and active senior and young men. It will undertake a close examination of the interplay between diet, eating behaviours, physical activity levels, gut microbiome and health of the host by comparing young adult, and elderly cohort from Singapore.​​

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Last updated by Kelyn Seow on 20 April 2018