The relevant causal geographic context in space and time

All studies assessing the influence of the external exposome on human health face two fundamental methodological challenges:

  1. People are mobile and are exposed to multiple environments outside their residential neighbourhood (e.g., at work or at school);
  2. Exposure research is additionally challenged by how the temporal exposure window for each person is assessed

Both methodological problems can introduce considerable misclassifications when assessing an individuals’ exposure. To address the need to correctly integrate the environmental context in space-time for health impact assessments, this research project aims to develop theories and methods to assess people’s daily and life-long exposures more accurately. To this end, we will establish the relevant spatial and temporal resolution to measure the “truly relevant causal geographic context” in space and time.

 

Our ultimate goal is that people live healthily for longer

Our ultimate goal is that people live healthily for longer

We know far less about the exposome than we do about the human genome. So far, we only understand about half of the disease burden for which we know the environment plays a role. If we want to prevent people from becoming ill, then we need to understand the other half too. We therefore want to systematically analyse the exposome for the first time. We will start with research into the causes of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The techniques and insights from this research will also be applicable to other chronic conditions.

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