Year of grant:
Forsagnir um heilsu og andsevnir hjá eldri føroyingum – ein 10 ára uppfylgjandi kanning
Deildin fyri Arbeiðs- og Almannaheilsu
Maria Skaalum Petersen, Fróði Debes, Philippe Grandjean, Nanna Kallsberg, Maria Nilsson
Grant from the FRC in DKK:
Physiological and cognitive functions decline together in old age. Many risk and protective factors have been proposed and include genetic, health, physical, lifestyle, and socio-demographic contributors. However, results have inconsistent. A major challenge in the quest to promote healthy aging is to uncover the determinants of cognitive decline in the general population. The ultimate aim is to provide information towards a rational basis for practical interventions that might slow age-related cognitive and other health related decline and therefore improve the quality of later life. We find that the Faroe Islands constitutes a highly unique setting that would be very well suited for examining these issues and just now, we have a window of opportunity. In 2008, ten years ago, all Faroese elderly in the age range 70-74 were invited to participate in a project examining the possible health effects of lifetime exposure to neurotoxicants through marine food and pollutants. A total of 713 Faroese septuagenarians, 63 % of the eligible population, underwent thorough 4 hours’ examination covering a general health examination, cardiovascular status and neuropsychological tests. Thus, extensive information is available regarding their health, cognition, life-time exposure and lifestyle. We propose to conduct a follow-up study of these cohort members now 10 years later. This is a unique opportunity to obtain substantial and valuable knowledge about overall health decline, health outcomes, cognitive decline and survival in the Faroe Islands.
Our main hypothesis is that cognitive performance and general health is influenced by a variety of factors, including environmental, biological, behavioural and genetic factors, that all contribute to the deterioration of healthy aging.
The specific aims are: 1. to perform a follow-up examination of the subjects from the cross-sectional study in 2008 using the same neuropsychological test battery, cardiovascular parameters and other clinical parameters
2. to evaluate determinants/predictors of non-pathological cognitive ageing; i.e. the ageing of cognitive functions largely in the normal range, by comparing the neuropsychological test results from base-line and follow-up taking all relevant factors measured into account
3. to determine the possible impact of heterogeneities of relevant genes that may affect health and neuropsychological parameters
4. to examine the cross-sectional and temporal associations of telomere length and epigenetic markers with neuropsychological performance and to examine age-related changes in telomere length and epigenetic alterations from baseline to follow-up
5. to conduct a mortality study and survivor analysis