|Chronic diseases are defined broadly as conditions that last 1 year or more and require on-going medical attention and/or limit daily activities. They are not transmitted like infectious diseases, but rather from either lifestyle choices or microbiome imbalances. Microbiome research has revealed that bacteria, viruses, and fungi cohabiting our bodies influence digestion, brain development, and immune system function. This research focuses on the trillion microorganisms play in our body in health and in the development of disease. The CDC estimates that 6 in 10 adults in the United States have a chronic disease and 4 in 10 adults have two or more.
The CII collaborates with institutions throughout the world on long-term projects focused on analyzing the microbiome of chronic diseases. We utilize ‘omics analysis, bioinformatics, biostatistics, and machine learning to interpret extensive data for trends to try and identify the origins of disease. Similar to infectious disease research, understanding the disease source provides the foundation for developing diagnostic tools and treatment therapies. With the staggering number of affected people who live with a chronic disease, there are significant negative global economic impacts from extensive healthcare costs to a reduction in workforce. The annual impact of chronic disease in the United States alone is in excess of $1 trillion.