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Food supplements for malnutrition and geriatrics offer research and innovation opportunities: Study

By Shane Starling+


A survey of enteral nutrition 'key opinion leaders (KOLs)' has found that the research and development of food supplements for battling malnutrition and geriatrics has the highest priority, whilst treatment improvements in the area of intensive care should be prioritised in tube feeding.

The research, to be published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition this week, looked at the influence of KOL with medical nutrition firms. It found 62% gave input into patient needs at nutrition companies, but, “under-influence the setting of research priorities by enteral nutrition companies.”

The advice they did give was to prioritize the research and development of food supplements in the area of general malnutrition and geriatrics, and tube feeding in the area of intensive care treatments.

“In addition to providing new directions for enteral nutrition research and development, this study highlights the relevance of involving KOLs in the identification of research priorities as they have the ability to provide a balanced view of the unmet patient needs,” the researchers, led by Tamar Weenen from Erasmus University in the Netherlands, concluded.

Highlighting the gap between research and patient need the researchers noted: “Unfortunately, there is limited knowledge of patient needs and priorities. As a result, there is often a mismatch between research driven by the interests of scientists, funders and powerful interest groups and the health needs of the population.”

The survey was conducted via questionnaires with data then compiled from 77 KOL who responded.

Other health areas deemed relevant for food supplement use included: Non-surgical oncology; surgery and transplantation; gastroenterology; intensive care; renal failure and pulmonary problems.

For tube feeding general malnutrition; surgery and transplantation, gastroenterology, non-surgical oncology and geriatrics were ranked highly.


Journal of Clinical Nutrition

November 2013

‘Patient needs and research priorities in the enteral nutrition market – a quantitative prioritization analysis’

Authors: T. Weenen et al

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