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Scientists and patient volunteers reunite after 12 years for new study

Patients who took part in research into bowel health more than a decade ago have reunited for a follow-up study to help experts gain a better understanding into the risks of bowel cancer.

Bowel problems are common and lifestyle factors, such as diet and physical activity, are known to be key in the development of conditions affecting the large bowel, such as cancer and ulcerative colitis.

Ageing is a significant factor and scientists at Newcastle University are revisiting a study to look at what effect this has on cells in the large bowel and whether these are influenced by lifestyle choices.

The Biomarkers Of Risk In Colorectal Cancer (BORICC) follow-up study - called BFU - aims to enhance understanding of the relationship between ageing, diet, physical activity and health of the bowel.

The initial study was set up by Newcastle University in 2005 and involves Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. The BFU study will again look at bowel cancer risk but also at how well we age.

Health markers

John Mathers, Professor of Human Nutrition and Director of the Human Nutrition Research Centre, Newcastle University, is leading the three-year project.

Professor Mathers said: “I am delighted that the wonderful people who joined our research study as participants 12 years ago are willing to come back and help again.

“This follow-up study will enable us to find out how what we measured all those years ago can tell us about markers of health now.”

The first BORICC study had 363 participants and it is hoped that a high number of those involved will take part in the new project by responding to invitation letters from the research team.

In the original study scientists found that diet and body fatness affect certain proteins and genes in the cells of the large bowel.

Researchers will investigate how being overweight at the start of the original study, or gaining weight in the meantime, affects how well people age and the impact on their health and bowel cancer risk.

For the full article please visit the Newcastle University website.

Published on 20th July 2017

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