Principal Investigators

    Professor M Richards


    University College London

    Contact information of lead PI


    United Kingdom

    Title of project or programme

    Mental Ageing

    Source of funding information


    Total sum awarded (Euro)

    € 1,357,156

    Start date of award


    Total duration of award in years


    The project/programme is most relevant to:

    Alzheimer's disease & other dementias|Neurodegenerative disease in general


    Research Abstract

    This programme brings a life course approach to bear on maintaining quality of later life through promoting cognitive capability and reducing risk of depression. The essence of this approach is to map life course determinants and consequences of cognition and affect; their associations with each other, and their associations with other aspects of health and function through common and sequential causes. key recent accomplishments include: Clarifying the pathways through which cognitive development influences adult health: directly for health outcomes closely related to neural systems governing cognition (e.g. affective state, balance and coordination, and reproductive function); through social pathways, primarily education, for preventable chronic physical diseases. Conducting cross-cohort work demonstrating the impact of adolescent mental health, particularly conduct problems, on a wide range of life chances, from educational and socioeconomic attainment, to social roles such as family formation and citizenship, to health. Building on our long-term work showing that cognition, as well as affective state, is modifiable in midlife. In the case of cognition modifying factors range from the societal (e.g. education, occupation, neighbourhood) to the behavioural (smoking, exercise, alcohol, diet). In most parts of the world older people account for the fastest-growing proportion of the population, with huge corresponding increases in the absolute prevalence of dementia – a trend that is projected to continue well into the future. In addition the World Health Organization has identified depression as the leading cause of disease burden in middle and high income countries. The long-term priorities of this programme are therefore to reduce the risk of these outcomes using a life course approach across all levels of explanation: from societal opportunities and barriers, through behavioural choices, to underlying regulation from genes, endocrine systems, inflammatory mechanisms, and autonomic control. In regard to the next five years, work within this programme consists of three broad themes: Capturing mental ageing, involving defining lifetime cognitive trajectories; ascertaining cognitive impairment and dementia; conducting a neuroimaging sub-study; and ascertaining the lifetime prevalence trend of depression and its determinants Maintaining mental capability in early old age, involving the role of self-organisation and its consequences for self-management of health; and a focus on education and occupational attainment, and retirement, in relation to cognitive skills Integration of mental and physical ageing, including outcomes in relation to cognitive capability and mental health, cardio-respiratory function, metabolic disorders, musculoskeletal function, and mortality

    Lay Summary

    Further information available at:

Types: Investments > €500k
Member States: United Kingdom
Diseases: Alzheimer's disease & other dementias, Neurodegenerative disease in general
Years: 2016
Database Categories: N/A
Database Tags: N/A

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