Results regarding healthy ageing – University of Copenhagen

Major research results regarding healthy ageing

With a growing population and an increasing number of senior citizens, it is increasingly important to understand the causes of the ageing processes. The Center for Healthy Aging plays a pivotal role in research into ageing at the University of Copenhagen. In a few short years, the Centre has put this new interdisciplinary research environment on the world map.

The research studies ageing from many angles and provides knowledge about how more people can enjoy a long and healthy life. Nordea-fonden, a Danish foundation, has provided EUR 40 million in funding for the Center. The Center is a network of research units, most of which are located at the University of Copenhagen.Examples of research results in recent years are listed below.

Health-promotion innovations in local communities

Researchers investigate how community-based health services targeting the elderly can be made more effective and better coordinated. They collaborate with four Danish municipalities to investigate how various public, private and political players can best develop and implement social and health-promotion services for the elderly. In particular, the researchers are investigating the significance of the local community in order to identify the potential opportunities for promoting health in people in the later stages of life. They are also interested in exploring how historical and social changes have affected interpersonal and inter-generational relationships.

Life-course aging processes

The researchers investigate social conditions and aging processes throughout the life span and what happens to muscles and the brain as we age. The aim is to promote an active life style and the researchers are conducting an intervention project focusing on physical activity to counter age-related changes in musculature and brain and investigate the interactions between cognitive and physical function in middle-aged individuals who have been treated with preventive medication.

Energy levels in humans

Throughout our lives, our bodies wear and this make us more liable to illness. Aging is thus associated with a decline in 'vitality'. More people could live longer, healthier lives, free from illness, if we could understand the processes in the cells of the body that lead to aging. The focus of research is on the inability of the body to repair damage to our cells, tissues and organs as we age.  Basic research into cells and genes is important for understanding how we decline throughout life and become more liable to disease. Understanding this could mean we might be able to postpone the point in life at which illnesses associated with old age typically occur, and thus give many people more years of high quality life.

Blind mand med blindestok går på fortovThe immune system and age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most frequent cause of blindness in older people in the western world. Research suggests that immunological signals are important for the early stages of the condition. The article below identifies the neurotransmitters that affect a central group of cells that play a key role in development of the degeneration.