Saturday, November 3, 2007

Towards an interfaculty research institute for health and care research.

Yesterday the senior staff of EMGO research institute (see met to discuss plans to reform our institute into a so-called interfaculty research institute. Our mission is to encourage, initiate, conduct, and publish excellent research of international standing to improve public and occupational health, primary care, rehabilitation, and long-term care.
The main challenges in these research fields all require interdisciplinary research, involving medical doctors as well as health scientists, psychologists et cetera. This asks for close collaborations between experts from different university faculties.
Our policy day was focussed on exactly that: what are the strengths, weaknesses, opprtunities and threats related to forming a formal interfaculty research institute, involving the VU University Medical Center (, the Institute for Health Sciences ( of the faculty of earth and life sciences and the faculty of psychology and education ( Other collaborations are with the faculty of Social Sciences ( and the faculty of Law
Important examples of ongoing interfaculty collaboration include the Netherlands Study on Depression and Anxiety NESDA ( as well as the longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (

Monday, October 29, 2007

Nutrition and cancer?

This week the new report from the World Cancer Research Fund on the association between nutrition, physical activity and cancer will be published (see This report is the result of one of the most comprehensive series of systematic reviews and meta analyses. The title of the new report is Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer.

In a process that has taken five years, an expert panel of 21 renowned scientists from around the world reviewed and assessed the body of research on the relationship between food, nutrition (including obesity) physical activity and cancer risk. The expert panel has drawn conclusions based on this evidence and developed 10 health recommendations for the prevention of cancer.

Based on early ecological studies and case-control studies it was hypothesized that nutritional factors such as fat intake, fiber intake and fruit and vegetable consumption were strong determinants of risk for certain cancers.
In the last decades more and more longitudinal cohort studies have become available, and these studies show that the association between diet and cancer risk appears to be much weaker than was believed from the earlier weaker designed investigations.

However, the WCRF reviews will probably also make clear that obesity is a major risk factor for certain cancers, such as breast cancer.

Registration for the meeting where the new report will be launched is still possible…