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UCL Ageing event

GuestBlogger15 November 2016

pencil-iconWritten by Dr Emma Chambers, Research Associate in the Division of Infection and Immunity

 The United Kingdom has an ageing population and by 2025, one in four people will be over the age of 65. Unfortunately with increasing age there is not increasing ‘healthspan’, and actually people are now living unhealthy for longer.

With increasing age come increasing health problems, as people over the age of 65 have an increased risk of infections such as flu and shingles, as well as an increased risk of having dementia; this collectively places a huge burden on our already stretched NHS.

At the UCL Ageing Event – cultivating research connections across the university, arranged by the UCL Populations and Lifelong Health Domain and held on Thursday 3 November 2016, researchers from across UCL came together to discuss what we can do to age better.

Attendees heard first from Dr Jenny Regan (Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment) who works on the common fruit fly. Apparently, the fruit fly ages similarly to humans, with decreased mobility, increased infections and memory loss.

Dr Regan told us that the key to a longer life is to be female – a bit unfortunate for half of the population! Secondly, you need to have a calorie restricted diet, though this does not enhance the lifespan of a male fruit fly.

Dr Milica Vukmanovic-Stejic (Division of Infection and Immunity) introduced us to her human skin model where the lab studies white blood cells (immune system) in the skin of old and young people to establish if there are any differences that can explain why older people are more at risk of shingles. (more…)

Osteoporosis: Is it going to get you?

Katherine LAitchison20 October 2011

I (like many others) have a family history of osteoporosis so it was with some vested interest and a little trepidation that I attended today’s Lunch Hour Lecture: ‘Osteoporosis: Bouncing Babies to Crumbling Wrinklies‘. The speaker was Professor Allen Goodship of the UCL Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science and the lecture was in honour of World Osteoporosis Day. He aimed not to scare us with the grim facts and figures of osteoporosis, but instead to give us some ideas on how to avoid the condition.

(more…)

Baby boomers and the ageing revolution

AndreaPochylova11 June 2011

Another record beaten, this year there are over 650,000 people in UK alone who will turn 65. There are more over 60 year-olds than under 18 years-olds.

This means that there are lot of people to take care of, but not that many of those who will be young enough to do so.

Demographic changes such as this one will have a great impact on our society, the performance of the economy, the postcode lottery in the NHS and many other aspects of people’s lives.

Linda Partridge from UCL studied mutations of genes which made worms, fruit flies and mice live not only longer but also healthier (especially when older) lives, which can transform our already ageing society further.

At this stage it seems this will be possible with humans. Linda and her team are potentially on the way to discovering a drug that would prevent the disease we will all suffer from: the disease of ageing.  However, living longer and healthier will necessarily mean that people will also have to work longer, so get ready for that.