Jeroen Raes: "We were able to distinguish between two groups based on their intestinal flora: people with a large richness of bacterial species in their intestines and people with a few less bacterial species. A species-rich bacterial flora appeared to function differently compared to the poorer variety. It was surprising to see that obese and non-obese people were found in both groups."
The scientists did see that the group with lower species richness in the intestinal flora was more susceptible to developing obesity-related conditions and chronic inflammation. The obese people in this group are more at risk of cardiovascular conditions than the obese people in the other group. These are important results that suggest that it is not only weight gain and dietary habits that play a role in the development of medical complications in obese people.
The Flemish Gut Flora Project
The question that remains is whether these results also translate to other countries and populations. Therefore, Jeroen Raes has established the Flemish Intestinal Flora Project to follow up on these types of studies on a larger scale. Such efforts are crucial to confirm the insights acquired in smaller studies and to make an effective step towards improved treatments and medicines.
|Contact: Kris Van der Beken|
VIB (the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology)