AminoIndex® Risk Screening (AIRS®) and wellness maintenance
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Most people are aware that smoking, drinking, and not eating right can lead to health problems. Cancer is one of them. Globally, cancer accounts for about one in every six deaths. Risk factors range from lifestyle choices to genetics.
Diabetes is another major killer, accounting directly for over one and a half million deaths in 2016. Plus, the disease can lead to hyperglycemia (elevated blood sugar), which impacts the nervous and circulatory systems by damaging nerves and blood vessels. In 2012, hyperglycemia was implicated in another two and a quarter million deaths.
With treatment, cancer and diabetes can go into remission. But cancer therapy is a lengthy and painful process. The body never fully recovers and relapses cannot be ruled out. Diabetes can be prevented with early intervention in some cases. The best bet, however, is to head off cancer and diabetes before they happen through early detection and by making lifestyle choices that reduce one’s risk.
Ajinomoto Group technology powering early detection
What if doctors had a means of accurately assessing their patients’ risk of cancer, stroke and heart-attack, or diabetes? Could that enhance early detection? Interestingly, our researchers found that the balance of amino acids in the blood changes in response to a person’s health. This insight led to the development of AminoIndex®︎ Risk Screening (AIRS®︎). The test analyzes blood concentrations of amino acids to effectively screen for stomach, lung, colorectal, pancreatic, and prostate cancer in men, and stomach, lung, colorectal, pancreatic, breast and uterine/ovarian cancer in women. It can even assess the risk of diabetes within four years, and of stroke and heart-attack within ten years, thereby covering the three major noncommunicable diseases. AIRS®︎ requires just a five-milliliter blood sample, making it easy for patients and doctors alike.
Supporting health of mind as well as body
Going along with the risk of developing lifestyle-related diseases is the risk of developing cognitive impairment. Various aspects of the causes of cognitive decline have been studied, and a recent study suggests that lifestyle change as another culprit. The study focused on the relationship between multiple lifestyle factors and cognitive decline, including nutrition, exercise, and sleep. A diet focused on carbohydrates seems to be a risk factor for cognitive decline, while a diet with a good balance of protein and fat may be a protective factor. The study estimates that controlling risk factors for cognitive decline in middle age and beyond and maintaining a healthy lifestyle may reduce risk of cognitive decline by some 32%1. With the aging of populations, the risk of cognitive decline is a major health issue. To help improve quality of life, the Ajinomoto Group has added a new assessment item to the AIRS®︎ that evaluates cognitive decline in people over 50.
Tools for healthier living
In addition to risk assessment, the Ajinomoto Group has begun offering services to support healthy lifestyles after diagnosis. The aminoSTEP™ smartphone app allows users to track AIRS®︎ results and visualize their physical activity while having fun walking. It also provides for personalized dietary advice and online chat consultations with doctors. In addition, the Ajinomoto Group has launched the Brain Health Diary for 100 year Life® app in Japan that allows users to track their daily diet, exercise, and sleep status and receive advice, as well as a dietary supplement that leverages the power of amino acids. This cognitive function maintenance support ecosystem is being built on a foundation of nutrition-related services centered around amino acid and protein intake.
Advanced screening tools and regular health checkups for young and old alike reduce the risk of serious health problems and continue to prove that an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure. The Ajinomoto Group will continue to unlock the power of amino acids to contribute to consumers’ health and quality of life with solutions like AminoIndex®︎ technology and comprehensive health and welfare solutions.