Disentangling complexity of health in aging: a new research environment to pave the road for individual medicine

PI: Laura Fratiglioni, laura.fratiglioni@ki.se

The aim of this 6-year project is to build a new, multidisciplinary environment to address the complexity and heterogeneity of older adults’ health. The project will benefit from the team’s solid anchorage in clinical practice and expertise in disciplines ranging from molecular biology to epidemiology to identify individual-level targets for primary prevention and early diagnosis. Specifically, the researchers aim to: 1) disentangle the interplay among major geriatric syndromes and trace longitudinal trajectories of individuals’ health changes (Projects I & II); 2) comprehensively explore the lifelong effects of contextual, clinical, and genetic factors and their biological mechanisms that lead to different aging trajectories and clinical phenotypes (Projects III & IV); and 3) examine the interrelationship between health trajectories and use of medical and social care services (Project V). The project uses information from two population-based studies carried out at the Aging Research Center that include large random samples of older adults followed up every 3 years for more than 15 years. The information, which is collected through face-to-face interviews, clinical examinations, and testing will be complemented with new genetic and biomarker assessment. The program will generate evidence to support clinicians in individualizing treatments and preventive strategies for older adults, help researchers better understand the mechanisms underlying the aging process, and aid health systems in optimizing care provision.

The project is funded by a grant from the Swedish Research Council.