(MENAFN - Gulf Times) In a collaborative effort between Qatar Foundation entities, researchers from its Equine Veterinary Medical Centre (EVMC), Al Shaqab's endurance department and Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q), have been exploring the use of a technique called 'metabolomics' to assess the readiness of a horse before a race. 'Metabolomics is a relatively new technology used to measure hundreds of small molecules called metabolites, found in a biological sample. Metabolites are the products of constantly occurring and life-sustaining chemical reactions in all living organisms.
'Their production and removal from the blood stream is dependent on multiple factors including genetics, diet and lifestyle. Any change in these factors is reflected by a change in specific metabolite levels, which allows them to be used as biomarkers, said Dr Tatiana Vinardell, head of Research and Education, EVMC.
A pilot-study on equine metabolomics was inspired by Prof Karsten Suhre, director of Bioinformatics Core at WCM-Q and his desire to create a 'health and fitness passport for athletes. It turns out that horse endurance races are just the ideal test environment to explore such an idea.
'Every living organism has a metabolic fingerprint and by frequently monitoring this fingerprint, we can establish the reference or baseline metabolic readings indicative of that organism's wellness. 'Any changes in the health of the organism can be detected by comparing their metabolic state to their established baseline. If a considerable change is seen between the two, it can be indicative of a health problem that should be further investigated, said Prof Suhre.
Metabolomics research in human athletes has provided important insights into energy demands and training physiology, allowing scientists to identify novel biomarkers associated with better performance...