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Health and well-being

Some people out hiking.

We are facing a number of challenges that all have an impact on our health and well-being. In addition to poverty and communicable diseases, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer are on the rise. Diseases linked to lifestyle factors, such as alcohol, tobacco and lack of exercise, have seen a sharp increase, as has mental health problems. Other challenges include antibiotic resistance and new pathogens with the ability to spread rapidly across the globe. Pollution, climate change and toxicant exposure also have a significant adverse effect on our health. Moreover, there is health inequality – not only between poor and rich countries, but also between different groups within countries and communities.

There are many dimensions to a sustainable living and many of these are accommodated within the university’s interdisciplinary focus area Food and Health. This initiative brings together researchers from areas such as medicine, culinary arts and meal science, sport and nursing sciences, biomedicine, media and communication studies, computer science, psychology, economics, sociology, political science, toxicology, biology, engineering and bioinformatics. The focus is set on prevention – by introducing healthy eating habits from the start, we can buffer against problems that we later in life attempt to curb with medication.

At the same time, a foundation for more exact diagnosis is emerging with the goal of tailored treatments on an individual basis and the possibility to make more accurate prognoses.

In many of our most common diseases, there is an underlying inflammation. The strategic profile X-HiDE – Exploring Inflammation in Health and Disease uses mathematical modelling to characterise different inflammatory conditions in regard to similarities and unique features. The long-term goal is to understand the inflammatory process and its effects in the individual patient – at different life-stages and in what way an altered lifestyle can change the course of inflammation before it becomes a disease. This is the basis for precision medicine and precision health.

Research performed within the theme Health and well-being looks at prevention but also at creating better tools for diagnosis, prognosis and treatment:

  • The consortium SIMPLER – Swedish Infrastructure for Medical Population-Based Life-Course and Environmental Research studies the impact of genetics as well as dietary and lifestyle factors on our health.
  • Researchers within diabetes, endocrinology and metabolism study the interaction between health-physical activity-overweight-diet­glucose regulation-metabolism-diabetes-endocrinology-epidemiology and prevention.
  • Örebro University is part of the national network Genomic Medicine Sweden (GMS) as well as Clinical Genomics; both working to develop and implement precision medicine, primarily within genomics.
  • Clinical epidemiological centre (KEP): epidemiological studies are key to understanding and monitoring how changes affect our health.
  • Within cardiovascular research, basic and clinical research is performed into cardiovascular disease and stroke.
  • Basic and clinical research is conducted into gastrointestinal diseases and certain cancers.
  • There is extensive research on neuropsychiatric conditions and how environments influence these.
  • The geographical distribution of certain vector-borne infections has altered, which highlights the importance of research into vaccines against the tick-borne disease TBE.
  • Enhanced recovery following surgery is studied within ERAS (Enhanced recovery after surgery). Not only does this affect the individual, but there are sustainability aspects involved as enhancement of medical procedures can reduce the need for further procedures.
  • How patient care in connection with surgery can be enhanced is also subject to studies. These are conducted within the fields of disability and ageing research as well as within the research project REAL (Research Enabling an Active Life).
  • Developvaccines@oru investigates how vaccination directly applied on mucosal membranes of the body can be optimized for different types of prototype vaccines.