National / Science & Health

Ajinomoto eyes new services aimed at mitigating dementia risk

Jiji

Ajinomoto Co. is considering new services to help to reduce the risk of developing dementia, President and Chief Executive Officer Takaaki Nishii said in a recent interview with Jiji Press.

The seasoning and instant food maker aims to commercialize the new services by fiscal 2023 and to post sales of around ¥10 billion at an early date, Nishii said.

The new services will utilize technology to measure amino acid blood concentration levels to calculate the probability of getting ill. Ajinomoto plans to start a diagnosis service for dementia risks within fiscal 2020.

In addition, the company will analyze possible links between dietary habits and declines in cognitive function in cooperation with major domestic medical institutions, which maintain large amounts of patient data.

Using the analyses, Ajinomoto will start offering in fiscal 2023 menu recommendations that lower dementia risks. It also aims to develop new seasoning products and supplements helpful to preventing dementia.

“Drugs can’t be used before people develop dementia, and the only thing they can do is to change their lifestyles,” Nishii said. “There is a big business opportunity here.”

Nishii said the company plans to offer the new services mainly to corporate and group clients.

Some 4.62 million elderly people in Japan had dementia as of 2012, a figure expected to rise to about seven million in 2025, according to the health ministry.

Some major drug makers, however, have withdrawn from research and development for treatment drugs aimed at complete recovery.

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