Dutch-based research organization TNO is working on a unique approach for human intervention studies: the Do It Yourself (DIY) trial, with test subjects doing their own health measurements, at home. The new approach would cut-down the cost of human intervention studies and increase the applicability of results.

The human trial/intervention is an important step in the, often protracted, process of proving the health effects of nutrition and lifestyle interventions. “Performing a proper intervention study is expensive as, amongst other costs, you need to employ professionals to do on-site measurements and to guide the test subjects throughout the study period”, says Nard Clabbers, Business Line Manager Food and Health at TNO in Zeist, the Netherlands. “Moreover, you have to meet strict regulations when submitting a health claim for approval by the European Food Safety Authority. For many food manufacturers, this situation is a major hurdle to bringing innovative products to the market.”

Cost efficient

TNO is now working on a novel approach that will make human intervention studies more affordable and more accessible: the DIY trial. “Usually, test subjects need to visit, or stay in, a clinic throughout the study period, where professionals measure, for example, their blood glucose levels or energy expenditure. In this new approach the subjects will do most, or even all of their measurements, themselves, at home, using a smart phone or a custom-built device”, explains Clabbers.

This article is available in full in the Spring 2013 issue of Nutraceuticals Now