EU Science Hub

Patients and doctors

Monitoring our health status

Health is central to everybody’s life. It is also crucial for the wellbeing of society since only a healthy population stands to maximise its full economic and social potential.

Every citizen is keen to monitor their health. In case of sickness, patients take for granted that the diagnostic check-ups deliver the right results and subsequently trigger the correct treatment.

Correct diagnosis and the subsequent appropriate treatment rely on accurate and comparable measurements between laboratories and over time. Reference materials are essential in order to ensure such reliable and accurate results. They play a key role in the calibration of laboratory instruments by providing precise reference values and data.

The JRC develops a wide range of Certified Reference Materials (CRMs) for a number of important health-status markers for diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, leukaemia, tumours, kidney diseases, autoimmune diseases e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, the JRC supports the establishment of best-practice guidelines for clinical measurements.

These tools are the basis for having confidence in the diagnostic results of our health checks. The earlier a disease can be detected, the earlier the treatment can be started, reducing the risk of severe damage.

Informing consumers allergic to certain foods

Food allergy is recognised as a serious health problem and affects about 17 million people in Europe, 3.5 million of them younger than 25 years old.

The immune system of allergy sufferers reacts to the intake of some specific foods such as nuts, milk, eggs, and soya. Since there is no cure for allergies, allergic patients must strictly avoid the intake of allergens in their diet, meaning they rely on the correct labelling of allergenic ingredients in food products.

The JRC supports food control authorities with fit-for-purpose analytical methods for the detection of allergens, as well as with reference materials aimed at preventing an undesired intake of potentially harmful foodstuffs by allergic and food-intolerant consumers.