The Network Aging Research
Aging as a consequence of the normal aging process is open to interventions. Age not. Since aging affects the human being in its entirety, we have founded the Network Aging Research (NAR), in order to research the different aspects of aging on an interdisciplinary concept.
Moderate Temperature Increase Elevates the Risk of Elderly Death or Illness in Most Chronic Disease Groups
A meta-analysis published in the April edition of the journal EBioMedicine reveals that moderate temperature increase elevates the risk of death and illness in the global elderly population (65+ years).
The risk of respiratory, cardiovascular and stroke-related deaths increased in elderly persons, who were exposed to heat. Although the risk of dying from these three causes increased, heat was associated with illness across a wider range of disease groups. For example, cardiovascular, respiratory, diabetes mellitus, genitourinary and infectious disease illness increased with heat exposure. This is concerning as average temperatures continue to rise and the number of elderly people with chronic and degenerative diseases increase globally.
Interestingly, it was not only heat exposure that caused adverse health effects. Exposure to cold temperatures led to a large increase in hospitalisation or general practice visits from respiratory illnesses.
Although the risks were greatest for respiratory causes, the results indicate that the health effects of temperature exposure are not limited to a few diseases. Prevention needs to target a broad range of disease groups.
The lead author, Aditi Bunker from the Network Aging Research and Institute for Public Health, University of Heidelberg, Germany noted that ‘although mental and neurological causes contribute greatly to the burden of disease in the elderly, we reveal a shortage of evidence on how temperature exposure affects elderly mental health outcomes. Future studies should investigate this relationship further.’
She elaborated, ‘We have also exposed a concerning gap in our understanding of the temperature-health association in African, Asian, Middle Eastern and South American elderly populations. Most of the 16 million cases we reviewed are based in wealthier countries with some capability of adapting to the adverse temperature effects of climate change and a growing ageing population.’
Original publication: Bunker, A., Wildenhain, J., Vandenbergh, A., Henschke, N., Rocklöv, J., Hajat, S., & Sauerborn, R. (2016). Effects of Air Temperature on Climate-Sensitive Mortality and Morbidity Outcomes in the Elderly; a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Epidemiological Evidence. EBioMedicine, 6, 258–268.
German Center for Research and Innovation, New York - Interview with Internationally Renowned Aging Researcher Prof. Dr. Konrad Beyreuther
In his interview with GCRI, Prof. Dr. Beyreuther discusses what occurs in the brain of an Alzheimer's patient and how Alzheimer's disease is diagnosed. He addresses the importance of early diagnosis and also shares his thoughts on how far he thinks we are from finding a cure.
Heidelberg ageing researchers study connection between cholesterol level and cognitive decline in old age.
Changes in lifestyle could reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. That was the conclusion of a study conducted by researchers of Heidelberg University’s Network Aging Research (NAR), who examined the data from two independent epidemiological studies. Carriers of the ApoE4 genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s may be able to reduce their increased risk of cognitive decline by reducing their cholesterol level, especially if they also suffer from cardiovascular disease. In Germany, approximately 20 percent of the population carries the ApoE4 risk factor. The results of the research were published in “Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders”. further
Demographic Change: Funding in the Biomedical Ageing Research Is Proving Fruitful
The Ministry of Science, Research and Arts of the State of Baden-Württemberg, 17th April 2015: The demographic change has become a part of daily life. Dementia, along with other age-related diseases are on the rise. Basic researchers have provided new insights into how these diseases could be prevented by making healthy lifestyle choices. further (in german)
With profound sadness, the Network Aging Research (NAR), fellows and supervisors of the NAR College supported by the Klaus Tschira Foundation mourn the loss of their benefactor and founder Klaus Tschira, who unexpectedly passed away on March 31, 2015 at the age of 74. As a committed supporter Klaus Tschira enabled many young scholars to make their initial forays into the current ageing research..
NAR-Lecture: Menschen mit Demenz im Krankenhaus (18.06.2015)
- Dr. Marion Bär, Kompetenzzentrum Alter, Institut für Gerontologie, Universität Heidelberg - Wo ist der Patient? Menschen mit Demenz – eine Herausforderung für die Klinik und ihre Mitarbeiter [Video], [Slides]
- Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Steinhagen-Thiessen, Charité, Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Evangelisches Geriatriezentrum Berlin gGmbH - Menschen mit Demenz im Krankenhaus - die ärztliche Sicht [Video], [Slides]
- Sabine Schulz, Alzheimer Gesellschaft Mannheim-Selbsthilfe Demenz e.V. - Krankenhaus und Demenz - Was ich als Angehöriger wissen muss [Video]
Conference Report: Dialogue Symposium – Psychotherapy in Care Homes, 23th January 2015
Despite increased incidences of depression and anxiety disorders, psychotherapy is still rarely used in both retirement and care homes. On 23rd January 2015, sixty participants were invited to meet at the Dialogue Symposium, first of its kind to take place in Germany, to discuss the potential and limitations of the psychotherapeutic treatment in the context of nursing practice. At the same time, the Dialog Symposium has been designed as the final event of the pilot project ‘Psychotherapy for Depression in the Retirement Homes’ initiated by University of Heidelberg. The conference which has been funded by Robert Bosch Foundation took place on the premises of and was supported by the Psychotherapist Chamber of Berlin. The event has been organised by the Junior Research Group Leader Dr. Eva-Marie Kessler, a Private Lecturer at University of Heidelberg. further (in german)
"Seeing Human Being as a Whole" – How Do Care Home Staff View and Experience Biographical Work – The Book Published by Dr. Charlotte Berendonk, Graduate Program "Dementia"
The life story is the basis of personal identity. This is especially true for people with dementia. It is therefore of the utmost importance that the nursing staff working on inpatient geriatric wards know and systematically integrate the individuals’ biographies into the nursing care. Building upon the findings that the life stories of care home residents have not yet been adequately addressed Charlotte Berendonk examines nursing personnel’s understanding of the biographical approach. What potential do the employees see in the implementation of the life story work into their everyday nursing activities? The findings of the qualitative study conducted by the author provide suggestions and knowledge to guide caregivers, and thus supplies an important step for a better integration of biographical work into the long-term nursing home care dealing with dementia-sufferers.