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Ageing with better health and independence


As life expectancy in Europe continues to rise, researchers are trying to unlock the secrets to healthy ageing. © Bruno Aguirre, Unsplash

As life expectancy in Europe continues to rise, researchers are trying to unlock the secrets to healthy ageing. © Bruno Aguirre, Unsplash

Europeans born today may expect to live longer than any generation in history. Yet brain functions, bodily strength, even immune systems decline with the passing of time.

 

The question for European science is, how do we grow old healthily?

One of the goals of healthy ageing is to live independently. This involves maintaining both bodily and mental health.

Diet and nutrition play a central role in slowing down the ageing process. We meet scientists who have studied the famous Mediterranean diet to see which, if any, beneficial effects it has on ageing.

Activities such as listening to music and singing come with many benefits for the ageing brain. Researchers are studying music and singing as a way to stimulate memories and improve emotional and social wellbeing for people living with a neurogenerative disease, such as Alzheimer’s. 

While there is growing research into the processes of ageing, there are still many more questions than answers.

In this Monthly Focus, we speak to researchers trying to get to the bottom of some of the most pressing unknowns: why are vaccines much less effective in the elderly than the young? How can taking up new activities and hobbies as we age help delay the onset of cognitive decline and diseases such as Alzheimer’s?



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