EU targets childhood obesity with supercomputing project

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EU targets childhood obesity with supercomputing project

Computer-simulated testing of medicines.

The European Commission will fund a health research project using mathematical models for childhood obesity related disease simulations that run on supercomputers.

Some twelve million euros (A$16.1 million) will go into the Model-Driven European Paediatric Digital Repository between now and 2017, the Commission said overnight. Twenty-one health care partners from ten European countries will take part in the project, which the Commission said would enable new drugs and procedures to be tested ethically with no or minimal use of animals.

Right now, very few new drugs are tested specifically for children, the Commission said. 

Computer simulated testing is expected to substantially support and accelerate pre-clinical and phase one clinical trials, reducing the risk to patients involved in them.

The disease simulations will enable doctors to select treatment options tailored to individual children based on the patients' personal medical data.

According to World Health Organisation statistics, European children are steadily getting fatter due to lack of exercise and unhealthy eating habits.

This in turn increases the risk of cardio-vascular disease, type 2 diabetes, orthopaedic problems, mental disorders and underachievment in schools, along with low self-esteem, the WHO says.

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