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Metabolic fingerprints offer fresh clues and a new path toward personalized medicine
Date:4/9/2010

The old excuse, "I am only overweight because of my genes," is suddenly gaining credibility as researchers uncover ever more evidence that the way our bodies digest and process nutrients in the food we eat is different for every person. The budding discipline of metabolomics strives to investigate these differences in a scientific manner. Nutrition scientists and food chemists at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen are on the front line: They have joined forces with outside experts to form the Munich Functional Metabolomics Initiative, an interdisciplinary network for driving research in this field.

(A video report, in both English and German versions, is available at: http://www.youtube.com/user/TUMuenchen1 and www.tum.de/film.)

When it comes to our genes, we are 99.9 percent identical. And yet, every person looks different. But it does not end there. Recent studies confirm that individual differences apply not only to superficial traits they also define our metabolism. Researchers are now asking how this is even possible considering the pool of nearly identical genomes. Only once the fundamental mechanisms are uncovered can conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease that stem from metabolic disorders be fully understood and more effectively treated. Experts at the Center for Life and Food Sciences Weihenstephan of the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) have given high priority to the search for answers.

To this end the researchers have initiated a study called HuMet. Fifteen healthy young men were closely scrutinized for four days. They had to fast, eat and drink various types of standardized nutrition, and submit to a variety of physical tests. All the while numerous blood, urine, and breath samples were taken. Hannelore Daniel, professor of nutritional physiology, and Prof. Hans Hauner, a nutritional physician at the TUM,
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Contact: Jana Bodicky
bodicky@zv.tum.de
49-816-171-5403
Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Source:Eurekalert

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