Science at the European University Games of Coimbra
The Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology (CNC) at the University of Coimbra (UC) and the organization of the 4th European Universities Games 2018 (EUG) established a partnership to promote healthy lifestyles and biomedical research applied to sports practice.
The CNC’s European project FOIE GRAS focused on the training of early stage researchers and the development of new technologies to investigate Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), as well as other scientists of CNC, will develop together with the EUG a series of science communication actions in topics relating to metabolism, nutrition and physical activity both in the facilities of the games and the city of Coimbra.
“One of our initial goals was having at the same time of the universities games an educational programme which included the several knowledge areas of sport”, states Mário Santos, secretary-general of EUG2018, who believes that “sport may be the engine for research and innovation”, which makes the partnership with CNC “a very interesting challenge”- “ It turns sport into a bridge to physical activity and an improvement in the quality of life and healthy lifestyles”, he adds.
The EUG will bring close to 4.000 athletes of 250 European universities to compete in different sports between the 15th and 28th of July, a research collaboration opportunity in the area of high-performance sports that will involve the different areas of knowledge of the CNC.
The President of CNC, João Ramalho-Santos and the Secretary-General of the Organization Committee of the EUG, Mário Santos signed today the collaboration agreement, that will last until the end of 2018, in CNC headquarters.
The several scheduled activities of science awareness and communication will take place in the framework of the EUG2018, with a network of athletes, coaches, researchers and students. “We already have ongoing activities”, reveals the CNC president João Ramalho Santos.
Mário Santos expects that the activities will bring “practical results” and he also believes that through the Memorandum of Understanding between the two entities it will be possible to show that “sport is much more than a competition and within a university context it may be the object of research and innovation”.
Focused on the training of scientists and the development of new technologies to carry out research on Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Syndrome (NAFLD), the European project "FOIE GRAS" is one of the projects coordinated by CNC, which takes up the strategy of promoting healthy lifestyle habits.
FOIE GRAS investigates NAFLD that affects 6 to 37 percent of the population worldwide. The symptoms become apparent only in later stages, when it is already untreatable, contributing to an increased risk of diabetes, hepatic cirrhosis and cancer. Nowadays the disease is diagnosed through liver biopsy, a risky and expensive invasive procedure, a situation for which the European project wants to provide an alternative.
The collaboration with the EUG is framed within this concern for public health and exercise practice for all, allied in a democratic communication of knowledge produced in research institutions. The EUG are currently in their 4th edition, having been previously celebrated in Cordoba (Spain), Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Zagreb (Croatia).