Epidemiological/scientific/medical data, dates, etc. Research, advances in biomedical knowledge and the progress achieved in the health field can also be told through numbers! Explore the history of Inserm and its major contributions from 1964 to today in a series of articles called Figure of the moment. Throughout 2014, the section will regularly feature new topics and links to more resources.


The Gazel cohort was established in 1989 by Inserm Unit 88 (which has since become Unit 687), in cooperation with several departments in EDF-GDF. Thanks to the exemplary level of participation by the 20,000 volunteers from Électricité de France and Gaz de France who constitute it, and the support of its partners, this cohort constitutes an important "open epidemiological laboratory."
Further information about the research projects and results obtained with the help of the Gazel cohort


Asthenia, multiple infections, the abnormal incidence of a rare form of cancer (Kaposi’s sarcoma): at the end of the 1970’s, a number of doctors were worried about a convergent set of symptoms among their homosexual patients. It was finally the team of Jean-Claude Chermann, Luc Montagnier and Françoise Barré-Sinoussi which in 1983 published the description of a retrovirus found in AIDS patients, the HIV. In 2008, this discovery was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine. To find out more, read Françoise Barré-Sinoussi’s. biography on Inserm’s History site.


In 1980, the frequency of obesity in France was estimated at 6.1%. In 2012, it had risen to 15%. However, the 2012 figures are more optimistic: for the first time since the 80’s, the increase in obesity in France is slowing down. To find out more about developments in our knowledge of obesity in the last few decades.


When it was created in 1964, the Inserm comprised 27 research units. Today it has nearly 300. Research Unit 1 was located in Bichat-Claude Bernard Hospital in Paris. Directed by Jean Trémolières, it was entitled "Nutrition and Dietetics" To find out more about the units, the men and women, the areas of research and the places that have marked the history of the Institute, visit Inserm’s History site.


Jean Dausset devoted his life to the study of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Skin grafts performed on volunteers enabled him to show their importance for a successful transplantation. This research into the immunogenetics of human transplantation won him the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1980. To find out more, read Jean Dausset’s biography on Inserm’s History site.


The life expectancy of a child born in 1964 was 74.8 years for a girl, 67.7 years for a boy. Fifty years later, thanks mainly to the advances in biomedical research, these figures have increased by ten years: life expectancy for women is very close to 85 years, 78.5 years for men. To find out more, go to the Insee site.

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