Healthy Ageing

ISCOMS has been enriched with the focus ‘Healthy Ageing’, which we share with the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG). During the congress this focus will stand out within various components of the programme of ISCOMS.

Healthy Ageing in the University Medical Center Groningen

The UMCG has a pivotal focus on healthy ageing in patient care, education and research. Healthy Ageing is a lifelong process which starts already before conception, with parents passing on their genes and thus risks and opportunities for a healthy lifespan. External factors, such as lifestyle, food patterns and environmental factors also influence the development of health. However, new knowledge is required about the influences of these factors and how they interact with one another.

Basic knowledge about the ageing processes and understanding of what is necessary for prevention, diagnosis and treatments of age-related, chronic diseases as well as for improved care for the elderly, will also contribute to healthy ageing. A multidisciplinary approach is thus necessary for research into ageing, extending from fundamental biological and (pre)clinical research through to applied research into social-societal effects of disease and health.

The strength of the UMCG’s efforts in the area of healthy ageing is largely due to Lifelines: a large-scale cohort study that follows 167,000 people for a minimum of 30 years and will record the course of their life and health developments. The unique three-generation approach is being used to study the extent to which heredity and the circumstances of life play a role in the occurrence of chronic diseases. Fundamental scientific research into ageing processes and diseases related to ageing is performed in the European Research Institute for the Biology of Ageing (ERIBA). In Groningen, a brand-new building was erected, which contains all the facilities needed for top-level research. Since 2011, leading international researchers are working in this new building.

Lifelines and ERIBA complement and enhance one another and produce new insights and solutions. Other examples of Healthy Ageing-related initiatives within the UMCG are: Technology for Ageing People, Ageing Brain, UMCG Centre for Geriatric Medicine, Healthy Ageing at work and Proton therapy.

The patient perspective on healthy ageing

In patient care the UMCG increasingly focuses on healthy ageing and ‘better in, better out’. This concept generates increasingly evidence that exercising before, during and after treatment benefits the patient. It reduces complications and advances the results of treatment. In several patient populations this concept has been introduced and proven effectively. The UMCG has a lifestyle check through which patients can get a free and voluntary advice with regard to their lifestyle (exercise, food habits and smoking). The importance of health literacy among patients is evident; already multiple departments have a strategy in place. In 2017 a corporate effort has been introduced in the UMCG to get health literacy higher on the agenda of all departments and via numerous channels of communication (waiting rooms, doctor/ patient conversations, arts route aimed at getting patients out of bed, etc.).

Click here to read more about Healthy Ageing.

If you are interested in how ISCOMS helps futher research in the Healthy Ageing focus, click here.