First Pillar 1 workshop, held in Norwich on 9 and 10 December 2003

The partners participating in the three projects of pillar 1 organized a workshop at the Institute of Food Research (IFR) in Norwich.

Aims of this workshop were to learn each other better, to communicate the designs of the planned studies, to discuss any problems and first of all to make an enthusiastic and ambitious start of the organization of the three projects. There were 17 participants in the workshop, including the three project leaders and the pillar 1 coordinator. They represented 6 countries (Iceland, Ireland, United Kingdom, Germany, Holland and Spain. Liz Lund, the project leader of Fishgastro (project 1.1) hosted the meeting.
The projects of pillar 1 focus on the measurement, mainly via human intervention trials, of potential beneficial effects of fish, e.g. n-3 fatty acids and fish protein on the body at three different levels: the gastrointestinal tract (project 1.1: FISHGASTRO), the metabolism, the adipose tissue and the bone and the brain in young people (project 1.2: YOUNG) and the heart (Project 1.3: METAHEART). Interventions will be done with fatty fish, lean fish and fish oil capsules.

In FISHGASTRO the focus is on colon cancer prevention in studies with colitis patients and healthy adults and the project pays a lot of attention to measurement of novel markers for colon cancer risk. In the Fishgastro study there will be intensive cooperation between the Wageningen University in Holland, IFR in Norwich (UK) and the Justus von Liebig University in Jena, Germany. TNO Nutrition and Food Research in the Netherlands will investigate the digestibility of fish protein and bioavailability of fatty acids from fish.

In YOUNG a multicenter intervention study will be performed in Iceland, Spain and Ireland to investigate the effect of fish consumption on body fat reduction in overweight young people and on risk parameters of the diabetes type II and cardio vascular diseases. In addition each of the centers will have a specific focus area. In Spain this will the adipose tissue metabolism. In Ireland the focus will be on bone health promotion and in Iceland it will be the metabolic syndrome itself. In a later stage of the Young project it is foreseen to investigate the role of fish consumption during pregnancy on the health of the outcome and on the occurrence of postpartum depression. Large existing Danish and Icelandic cohorts will be used in these latter studies.

In METAHEART the focus area is the effect of n-3 fatty acids on the electro physiology of the heart. This project is essentially a cooperation between the Wageningen Center for Food Sciences, the Maastricht University and the University of Amsterdam. The project includes a large multinational intervention trial with cardiac patients having an implanted cardiovascular defibrillator, which can detect and registrate disturbances in the electro physiology of the heart. The project also includes animal model studies using an isolated heart in which an infarction can be induced. Specific attention is given to measurement of the metabolism n-3 fatty acids in vivo, using stable isotope techniques.

During the workshop the project leaders of the three projects and their partners presented their projects plans and in separate meetings the project groups made appointments in order to make a rapid start with the pillar 1 research activities from the first of January 2004.

From the left to right.
In the back: Prof. Alfredo Martinez (Spain), Dr. Ruben Coronel (NL), Dr. Mairead Kiely (Ireland), Dr. Robert Havenaar (NL), Dr. Ellen Kampman (NL), Dr. Bryndis Eva Birgisdottir (Iceland), Dr. Nina Haberman (Germany), Dr. Linda Harvey (UK), Dr. Andrew Hart (UK), Dr. Joanne Christer (UK) and Dr. Dolores Parra (Spain)
In the front: Dr. Liz Lund (UK, project leader Fishgastro), Prof. Inga Thorsdottir (Iceland, projectleader Young), Prof. Gertjan Schaafsma (NL, pillar coordinator) and Dr. Ingeborg Brouwer (NL, project leader Metaheart). Not shown on the photo Dr. Ian Johnson (UK).