Junior Research Group "Drug safety in older adults/ Oxidative stress and ageing"
The junior research group is addressing two different topics:
1. Drug safety in older adults
Polypharmacy (simultaneous prescription of 5 or more drugs), potentially inappropriate medication for older adults, potentially serious drug interactions, inappropriately dosed drugs, non-adherence and medication handling deficits are common medication problems in older adults. It is the aim of the research group to assess the relevance of the named medication problems for patient-oriented health outcomes like symptoms that often reflect adverse drug reactions, falls with subsequent fractures, cardiovascular events, hospitalization, cognitive impairment, nursing home admission, multimorbidity, frailty and premature death.
2. Oxidative stress and ageing
The Free Radical/Oxidative Stress theory of ageing puts an increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the centre of processes that promote cell aging. ROS are a natural by-product of mitochondrial energy synthesis. Oxidative stress occurs when the natural production of ROS cannot be balanced by anti-oxidative capacities of tissues. This primarily leads to mitochondrial DNA damage and dysfunction and a higher apoptosis rate of cells. In the past, a major problem for large studies in humans in this research area was that ROS cannot be measured in plasma or serum samples because they have a very short half-life. However, biomarker kits for indirect measures of the oxidative status of blood are being developed. It is of interest in this research group, whether these indirect biomarkers of oxidative stress are associated with mortality and age-related diseases. Several chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes mellitus, coronary heart disease, cancer and dementia have been proposed to be in part caused by ROS damage but there is little evidence from prospective cohort studies in humans so far. Furthermore, the research group is interested in discovering epigenetic mechanisms of regulation of oxidative stress pathways to age-related diseases.