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Can brain training techniques help improve mental health and well-being in later life?

Press Release   •   Jun 20, 2018 09:30 BST

THE ‘MAGIC OF MEMORY’ TAKES CENTRE STAGE AT INTERACTIVE ESOF 2018 WORKSHOP

Can keeping your brain active by practising activities such as meditation and learning a language help improve your mental health and well-being in later life?

That’s the question being asked at a ‘magical’ interactive workshop to be held as part of the prestigious science programme at EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) in Toulouse where delegates will have the chance to try out some of the mental training activities being trialled as part of the EU-funded Silver Santé Study, such as meditation and health education. It will also include a scientific presentation about the project as well as an engaging magic show.

The global population is ageing and as people are living longer, ensuring good mental as well as physical health into later years is becoming ever more important. With the aim of improving the mental health and well-being of our ageing population, the EU has funded The Silver Santé Study – a €7 million research project investigating the impact of mental training techniques through the use of neuroimaging scans, self-reporting, behavioural measures, sleep measures and blood biomarkers.

Dr Géraldine Poisnel, of the Silver Santé Study’s coordinating team at Inserm, France, who will be speaking at the event, said: “ESOF provides a fantastic opportunity to share our work and we are looking forward to welcoming a wide cross-section of delegates to our fun and interactive session where they will get the chance to try out some of the techniques we are trialling in our study and to enjoy a magic show.

“The aim of our project is to study some different techniques which empower individuals to safeguard their own mental health in later life in order to prove (or not) their effectiveness and, in turn, may reduce the cost /care burden on public health services of age-associated diseases and help overcome health inequalities.

“Our study is unique in several ways –it is the first to take into account the emotional dimension of ageing, it is using a complete and unique set of measurements – including neuroimaging scans – to assess our volunteers, and it also has the longest ever meditation intervention.”

By carrying out clinical trials on volunteers aged 60+ presenting with varying health profiles, including patients at memory clinics, the research is measuring the effectiveness of a range of interventions, and hopes to contribute to wider health policy discussions and forward planning around the challenge of caring for our ageing global population, now and in the future.

The five-year study, launched in 2016, involves research partners in France, the UK, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland and Germany. It is coordinated at Inserm (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale) by Gaël Chételat in Caen, Normandy, France.

ESOF 2018 (www.esof.eu ), taking place 9-14 July in Toulouse, is the largest interdisciplinary science meeting in Europe. It is dedicated to scientific research and innovation and offers a unique framework for interaction and debate for scientists, innovators, policy makers, business people and the general public. The Silver Santé Study session will take place at 17:00-18:15 on Thursday 12th July at the Palais des Congrès Pierre Baudis in Toulouse.

For further information about the Silver Santé Study and the project’s ESOF session, visit the project website at www.silversantestudy.eu/ or click here to watch the 3-minute project video.

Media contact: Media are welcome to attend the ESOF session and members of the Silver Santé Study team are available for interview by contacting Rhonda Smith / Charlotte Reid at Minerva +44 (0)1264-326427/ +44 (0)7887-714957/ +44 (0)7921 804641. rhonda@minervacomms.net or charlotte@minervacomms.net

Editor’s notes:

  1. The Silver Santé Study is the public name of the Medit-Ageing Project which has been successfully funded through H2020-PHC-22: Promoting mental well-being in the ageing population
  2. The project receives €7million funding and runs for 5 years from Jan 2016 - 2020.
  3. http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/h2020-section/societal-challenges
  4. The partners in Medit-Ageing are:
Partner organisation name

Short name
Country
Contact
Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale
Inserm
France
Dr Gaël Chételat
Project co-ordinator
Dr Antoine Lutz
Dr Hélène Espérou
Dr Géraldine Poisnel
University of Liege (GIGA-CRC-In Vivo Imaging; Psychology and Neuroscience of Cognition Research Unit)
ULG
Belgium
Dr Fabienne Collette
Professor Eric Salmon
University of Geneva (Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences, Campus Biotech)
UNIGE
Switzerland
Dr Olga Klimecki
Professor Patrik Vuilleumier
University College London,
UCL
UK
Dr Natalie Marchant
University of Cologne
UKK
Germany
Professor Frank Jessen
Hospices Civils de Lyon (Clinical and Research Memory Centre of Lyon)
HCL
France
Professor Pierre Krolak-Salmon
Consorci Institut d’Investigacions biomèdiques August Pi I Sunyer (Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders Unit; Hospital Clinic; Neurodegenerative diseases: Clinical and experimental research)
IDIBAPS
Spain
Dr Jose Luis Molinuevo
European Clinical Research Infrastructures Network
ECRIN
EU
Amélie Michon
Inserm Transfert SA
IT
France
Delphine Smagghe
University of Exeter
UEXETER
UK
Dr Thorsten Barnhofer
Minerva Health & Care Communications UK Ltd
Minerva
UK
Rhonda Smith, Director
    5. There are nine work packages in the study:
Work Package Lead partner Institution & Country
Meditation Dr Antoine Lutz Inserm, France
Lifestyle Dr Eider Arenaza-Urquijo Inserm, France
Attention Dr Fabienne Collette University of Liege, Belgium
Emotion Dr Olga Klimecki University of Geneva, Switzerland
Cognition & Wellbeing Dr Natalie Marchant University College London, UK
Biomarkers Dr Gaël Chételat Inserm, France
Coordination & Management Dr Géraldine Poisnel Inserm, France
Communication Rhonda Smith Minerva Communications UK Ltd
Clinical Trial Amélie Michon ECRIN, France