Know your belly: “Parmesan” project to find out about its state of health

Do you want to know the state of health of your belly, do you want to know how the microbiota, that is the set of over 1000 billion microorganisms (bacteria, fungi and protozoa)) present in the intestine, which affect the general well-being of the organism?

In Parma you can, for free. In our University there is a world center of excellence, the Microbiome Research Hub (www.microbiomaresearchhub.com), which is carrying out a screening project on the microbiota of Parmesan people to understand how nutrition affects the health of the intestine, therefore on general well-being. Everyone can participate, as long as they are of age and have no symptoms of intestinal diseases. The advantage? Double: for oneself and for the progress of science. You will get to have a personalized check-up of your microbiota in relation to diet and lifestyle and you will become the protagonists of knowledge. The director of the project is a super expert such as Marco Ventura, university professor of Microbiology and head of the Microbiome Research Hub, a “brainwash” who had “stolen” from abroad but returned to Italy, a teacher considered internationally as a of the world’s leading authorities in the sector and who today leads an extraordinary staff of 17 professors from our University.

What is the Microbiome Research Center?

An interdepartmental center of the University of Parma that was born in 2017. An important academic reality, unique in Italy, which sees the involvement of different research groups of our university with different and complementary skills (clinicians, nutritionists, microbiologists, immunologists, neuroscientists, oncologists, pharmacologists, pediatricians and veterinarians) intended for the study of the microbiota in a multidisciplinary way; the composition guarantees a multicultural approach which is expressed in a strong push towards scientific and technological quality. Our multidisciplinary and multi-omic approach is limited to the microbiota and man and microbiota and animal.

What is the mission of the Center?

To dynamically link multidisciplinary skills related to the study of all those scientific issues of nature, microbiological, biological, nutritional and medical that are the basis of the biological processes of living organisms. Furthermore, the Center’s “cultural mission” is to raise awareness through the dissemination of the territory to inform people, motivate them in their choices (life, food, pharmacological, diagnostic, preventive) but above all in order to increase awareness by generating a climate positive that allows new policies in the management of public health (from a One Helath / One Medicine perspective).

Why is the microbiota so important for our health?

Because it profoundly affects different functions of the human body. For example, food metabolism and the conversion of dietary components into biologically active molecules are largely entrusted to the intestinal microbiota. The function of the immune system is also affected by the microbiota

Is it true that some forms of cancer can be associated with alterations in the intestinal microbial community?

Yes. But that’s not all. Various metabolic disorders – for example obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes -, some diseases – such as inflammatory bowel diseases, pseudomembranous colitis, autoimmune diseases – are now believed to be associated with alterations in the composition of the microbial communities that live in close contact with the human body. Specifically, the alteration of the normal balances that exist between the various members of the microbiota, a condition better known as dysbiosis, seem to have important repercussions on human health.

Parma Microbiota is the flagship project of the Center. Can you explain it?

The goal is to identify the possible correlations that exist between the intestinal microbiota, nutrition and health in the population of Parma and its province. The project was funded by the Cariparma Foundation and is the only one of its kind in Italy, comparable to similar initiatives conducted in other European countries and in the United States. Relapses will be important to understand the functions carried out by the human intestinal microbiota as determinants of health conditions.

But it also has a screening function.

The “Parma Microbiota” study will represent an important model at national and European level in the introduction of new methodologies based on the study of the microbiota in local preventive clinical practice and will provide a solid basis for a complete screening of the Parma population aimed at the early identification of possible inflammatory bowel diseases.

Where are we at?

Currently the study is still in the phase of completion of the recruitment that involves individuals residing in Parma or its province aged 18 and over without apparent signs of gastrointestinal or systemic symptoms suggesting chronic inflammatory bowel disease or other unrecognized diseases. Anyone interested can contact us at parma.microbiota@gmail.com.

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Know your belly: “Parmesan” project to find out about its state of health


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