Ageing Syndromes

We are working to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of ageing syndromes which are core business for health and social care in the UK.

More about Ageing research in Newcastle

The UK has seen dramatic gains in life expectancy, with the number of people aged 85 or above predicted to increase from 1.7 to 3.7 million over the next 20 years. This success presents many opportunities and also challenges at the individual and societal level as the number of people living with ageing syndromes is set to expand rapidly.

Ageing syndromes are long-term conditions commonly experienced by older people that involve a decline in function. In this theme we focus in particular on three ageing syndromes: sarcopenia, the loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength; frailty, where impairments across body systems lead to a lack of reserve and resilience; and multimorbidity, which is defined as having two or more long-term conditions. These syndromes are common; for example two-thirds of those aged 65 and over have multimorbidity.

Research into ageing syndromes in Newcastle

This cross-cutting theme is led by the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) Director, Professor Avan Sayer, and builds on Newcastle’s international reputation for basic science, epidemiological and clinical ageing research. We are establishing well characterised, deep-phenotyped cohorts of older people to understand how ageing syndromes develop and offering the opportunity to take part in a range of intervention studies and randomised controlled trials. With the aim of facilitating the early translation of research findings, the theme works collaboratively with the five research themes in the BRC. A key benefit of this approach is that it allows existing experimental medicine expertise in the different themes to be harnessed, such as that in mitochondrial disease, which to date has been little applied to ageing syndromes. We have a major focus on building capacity in translational health research for older people across clinical and scientific disciplines.

 

Our aims

We aim to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of ageing syndromes through:

  • Establishing well-characterised, deep-phenotyped cohorts of older people with ageing syndromes and offering the opportunity to take part in a range of intervention studies and trials
  • Harnessing existing experimental medicine expertise within the research themes to advance the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of ageing syndromes
  • Building capacity in translational health research for older people across clinical and scientific disciplines

How we carry out research into ageing syndromes

We benefit from a range of facilities that support translational research for older people at the Campus for Ageing and Vitality in Newcastle. This includes the Clinical Ageing Research Unit (CARU); a specialist Clinical Research Facility (CRF). We also have access to the Centre for In Vivo Imaging (CIVI), specifically the Newcastle Magnetic Resonance Centre where we are able to develop new, non-invasive outcome measures. Much of the ageing syndromes research is carried out by the Ageing Geriatrics and Epidemiology (AGE) Research Group, based at Newcastle University.

We have considerable experience in recruitment of older people to both observational studies and clinical trials; the latter is an area led by Professor Miles Witham, Deputy Theme Lead and Chair in Trials for Older People. We are involved in international bodies responsible for developing diagnostic criteria for ageing syndromes such as sarcopenia and are actively developing industry collaborations. We have a major focus on capacity building in translational health research for older people across clinical and scientific disciplines supported by NIHR Newcastle Training – the other cross-cutting theme in the BRC.