Mini-Nutritional Assessment tool
Our Mini-Nutritional Assessment Tool is a validated nutrition screening and assessment tool that can help healthcare professionals identify people aged 65 or above who are malnourished or at risk of becoming so. The tool was developed jointly by the Nestlé Research Center (NRC) and Toulouse University in 1991, but has been updated recently to improve its effectiveness. It comprises a questionnaire and a tape device to measure calf circumference if weight-based BMI calculations are not possible. The Mini-Nutritional Tool and tape received a Good Design Award in 2011, from the Japan Institute of Design Promotion after its widespread use in the aftermath of the Japan earthquake that year. Currently translated into several different languages, it is also available as interactive and digital versions suitable for iPhones and other mobile digital devices.
Eating Assessment Tool
Nestlé Health Science has developed an eating assessment tool, EAT-10, that can help healthcare professionals and carers identify dysphagia problems early in vulnerable patients. Dysphagia, a condition that makes it difficult for sufferers to swallow food, is prevalent in frail, elderly people and those with recurrent pneumonia or certain neurological conditions. The condition can have a profound impact on patients’ nutritional health, but 75% of those affected are never diagnosed.
Focusing on biomedical research
At the heart of our quest for truly personalised nutrition solutions is the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS), launched in 2011 and based within the campus of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland.
Building on our tradition in nutrition, NIHS will use state-of-the-art biomedical knowledge and technologies – genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, systems biology and others – to understand the interaction between the food and beverages we eat, lifestyle, inherited factors and individual metabolism.
It will focus on in three categories of chronic conditions: gastrointestinal health (including irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s disease), metabolic health (notably diabetes and obesity) and brain health (particularly cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease).
NIHS has set research projects underway, all broadly focused on how nutrition and genetics influence health and disease. These include: a Genome Interaction Study to examine how genetic factors affect people when they make the transition from a poor to a healthy diet; a major study of weight management in Europe through the DioGenes Consortium; and workshops on Essential Nutrients with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Transforming knowledge into new products
Nestlé Health Science, a new commercial venture, aims to develop science-based personalised nutrition solutions, with a strong focus on nutrition for patients already under treatment. A number of acquisitions completed since Nestlé Health Science started trading in 2011, have equipped the Company to focus on three acute areas: ageing medical care, critical care and surgery and paediatric medical care. These acquisitions include Vitaflo, a UK company that has already developed nutrition products for people with genetic conditions that produce intolerances to specific amino acids. The Company will also address chronic gastrointestinal, metabolic and brain health conditions.
In the longer term, it aspires to produce personalised nutrition products that target more complex conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. The acquisition of CM&D Pharma, which produces products for irritable bowel disease, colon cancer and other gastro-intestinal conditions, as well as Prometheus Laboratories, which develops diagnostic and therapeutic gastro-intestinal and oncology products, reflects its long-term focus. Nestlé Health Science also holds a stake in Vital Foods, a New Zealand-based business that produces foods for people with a range of gastro-intestinal conditions.