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Super scanner will show what fat and sugar do to the body during diseases

Professor Hans Stødkilde-Jørgensen from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital will receive DKK 17 million towards a new scanning technique. The technique will show what meat, fat and soft drinks mean for the development of lifestyle diseases. At the same time, the results can be used by the food industry to produce more healthy products.

We eat more meat and fatty food and drink soft drinks filled with lots of sugar. But what does this mean for diabetes and diseases related to overweight?

Professor Hans Stødkilde-Jørgensen from the MR Centre at Aarhus University has received DKK 17,354.883 to conduct research into this question. The money comes from the Danish Council for Strategic Research Programme Commission on Health, Food and Welfare.

Hans Stødkilde-Jørgensen and his colleagues will use a so-called hyperpolarisation system - originally a Danish invention - to magnetise trace elements. Connected to two completely new MR scanners, it will be possible to obtain an unprecedented precise image of the body’s conversion of fat, sugar and proteins. The research is being carried out together with the universities in Oxford and Cambridge, among others.

“The purpose of the project is to contribute to preventing diseases by understanding what the diet’s content of proteins, fats and sugar mean for the development of diseases such as diabetes, arteriosclerosis and other diseases that arise in connection with overweight,” explains Hans Stødkilde-Jørgensen.

Sensitivity will be increased

The hyperpolarisation scanner is moreover able to show details about what the new protein combinations of foods and their quantity in the diet mean for the cells’ degradation of the proteins.

“This information can support the development and refinement of Danish food products, and provide access to new markets,” says the professor.

Aarhus University will be among the first in Europe with the ability to exploit this new technology in research and, in the long term, make it available for patients. The technology can determine metabolic processes and the most important degradation products with a sensitivity, which has been increased between 1,000 and 10,000 times.

“Hyperpolarisation is therefore extremely well-suited for measuring the biochemical processes in the body as a result of changes in diet, and for looking at the relationship between dietary patterns, diseases and the prevention of diseases,” says Hans Stødkilde-Jørgensen.

Other participants in the project are DTU, Technical University of Denmark, GE Healthcare, and the Arla Foods Ingredients group.

As of Monday 16 December 2013 it is possible to see all the recipients who have been granted funding at the Danish Council for Strategic Research’s website.

65 researchers submitted applications to the Danish Council for Strategic Research’s Programme Commission on Health, Food and Welfare, which totalled more than one billion Danish kroner. The programme commission awarded DKK 147 million to a total of nine projects, of which one was Hans Stødkilde-Jørgensen and his project.


Further information

Professor Hans Stødkilde-Jørgensen
Aarhus University, The MR Research Centre, Department of Clinical Medicine
Aarhus University Hospital
Direct tel.: +45 7845 6113

Anne Tjønneland
Contact person from the Danish Council for Strategic Research Programme Commission
Direct tel.: +45 3525 7607