University of Gothenburg
Mental and cognitive health in relation to functional ability and somatic health in the elderly. The influence of age, sex, birth cohort, genetic, psychological, social and neurobiological factors.
Swedish Research Council
Alzheimer's disease & other dementias
The research activities to be undertaken: To examine mental and cognitive health, their determinants, prognosis and long-term course, and their impact on functional ability and well-being in older persons, taking into account the complex interactions with age, sex, gender, somatic health, socio-economic gradients, secular changes, historical context, psychosocial, neurobiological, and genetic factors occurring across the life course and in different birth cohorts. We will also examine the long preclinical phase of dementia using different biological (e.g. brain imaging, cerebrospinal fluid, body composition) and clinical methods. A special line of research is concerned with the biological and social origins of late-life psychiatric disorders (such as depression and anxiety disorders), and the effects of alcohol use in the elderly. The project implementation and the scientific methods to be used: The studies include representative birth cohorts followed longitudinally in Gothenburg; a) the H70-study comprising cohorts born 1901-02 (studied from age 70 to 102 years), 1905-6 (studied from age 70 to 79 years), 1922 (studied from age 70 to 93 years), 1930 (examined from age 70 to 79, follow-ups planned at age 85, 88, 90 and so on) and 1944 (ongoing at age 70, with planned follow-ups at ages 75, 79, 81, 83 and 85 years); b) the H85-study comprising cohorts born 1901-02 (examined from age 85 to 102 years), 1923-24 (studied from age 85 to 90, with planned follow ups at ages 92, 95 and thereafter yearly), and 1930 (planned examination at age 85 in 2015-16, with planned follow-ups at age 88, 90, 92 and yearly thereafter); c) the 95+ study (populations aged 95 and over are followed longitudinally; N=1020); d) the Prospective Population Study of Women (1462 women followed over 48 years 1968-2016). The studies include psychiatric, somatic, audiologic, opthalmologic, cognitive, psychological, social, genetic, dietary, cerebrospinal fluid and psychometric examinations, examinations with CT-scan, MRI and PET of the brain, body composition (DEXA), qualitative studies, laboratory tests, and assessments of physical and functional abilities. It includes multidisciplinary collaborations between researchers from psychiatry, neurochemistry, audiology, ophthalmology, dentistry, neurology, occupational medicine, epidemiology, nutrition, health science, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, psychology, sociology, and historical science. Significance: The project will increase our knowledge of the ageing process and how it has changed over time. It will increase our knowledge of processes that occur in the brain and the body before onset of clinical symptoms of disease, especially in relation to Alzheimers disease. It will increase our knowledge on how biological and psychosocial factors interact in the development of dementia, depression and other mental disorders. It has clinical relevance in relation to prevention, early diagnosis, understanding of pathogenesis, clinical picture, experience of illness, and prognosis of age-related disorders. The detailed longitudinal examinations of Alzheimer processes that occur decades before clinical onset of the disease are unique, and has great potential for scientific break-throughs. The multidisciplinary approach examining biological, sociological, psychological, medical and genetic factors in longitudinally followed populations will deepen our understanding of ageing, psychiatric and somatic disorders. The study will increase our understanding of psychiatric disorders in the elderly, both from a biological and psychosocial perspective. Results will easily translate into clinical practice due to the location of the research group at the memory and old age psychiatry clinic, and as several of the reserachers work part-time as doctors or nurses at this clinic.