By 2050, one in four people will be 65 years of age and older. Life expectancy has increased, but time spent in good health has not. How doctors want to slow down the aging process.
By 2050, every fourth person in this country will be 65 years of age and older. Life expectancy has increased, but time spent in good health and intact bodily functions has not. Doctors want to slow down the aging process.
“We need new prevention concepts that focus on protecting against vulnerabilities and maintaining physical function,” says Professor Heike Bischoff-Ferrari, clinic director of the University Clinic for Geriatric Medicine at University Hospital Zurich and City Hospital Zurich.
Medical checkups and vaccinations are not enough
She will report on her research in the field of xeroscience at the Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics in Frankfurt am Main. “Today’s medicine is focused on the treatment of overt diseases. Prevention efforts are largely limited to check-ups and vaccinations. This approach is no longer sustainable in an aging society,” the researcher said in a press release.
Xeroscience aims to accurately measure and manipulate the aging process to reduce the risk of multiple diseases and vulnerabilities simultaneously. The signs of aging determined in this way provide new biomarkers that make the success of preventive concepts measurable within a few months.
Omega-3, Vitamin D and Exercise Tested
As part of the DO-Health study, 2,157 healthy adults aged 70 years and older have been screened over the past ten years. They come from Switzerland, Germany, France, Austria and Portugal. They tested three prevention strategies: omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and exercise.
Beforehand, the phenotype of all participants was recorded, including key lifestyle factors such as diet and physical activity. Data on health care use and quality of life were also collected. Relevant factors as levers for effective prevention also include sleep, mental health and social interactions.
How doctors want to slow down the aging process
This is how doctors seek to slow down the aging process: treat it directly and thus prevent functional loss and age-related diseases at an early stage before irreversible structural changes occur. “It’s also exciting that the same preventive measures also prevent dementia, cancer risk, and falls,” stresses Bischoff-Ferrari.