A meditative approach to active and healthy ageing

EU-funded research is exploring how meditation training and other preventive programmes can help Europe's ageing society stay mentally active and physically healthy for longer. The findings can help shape a variety of programmes and policies.

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Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia


 

Published: 13 June 2018  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
Health & life sciencesHealth & ageing  |  Major diseases  |  Public health
Research policyHorizon 2020
SMEs
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Belgium  |  France  |  Germany  |  Spain  |  Switzerland  |  United Kingdom
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A meditative approach to active and healthy ageing

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© WavebreakMediaMicro #141573902, 2018. Source: fotolia.com

Worldwide, the number of people over 60 is expected to reach 2 billion by 2050. Europe’s population is also ageing and living longer than ever. This calls for new thinking on how we care for the elderly and new science on physical and mental health issues.

Researchers in the EU-funded MEDIT-AGEING project are working with the public, patients and meditation experts to learn more about how to improve mental health in later life. Their results will help safeguard quality of life and reduce the cost and care burden on health services caused by age-associated diseases.

The project team is investigating various approaches to healthy ageing, with a focus on mental health including cognitive decline caused by ageing, from early-stage dementia to full-blown Alzheimer’s. The project builds on evidence that lifestyle factors and meditation have potentially positive impacts on mental and neurological conditions.

The researchers are conducting clinical trials on patients with existing cognitive decline, meditators and members of the public aged over 65. The goal is to improve understanding and early detection of Alzheimer’s, explore possible genetic or lifestyle causes and investigate the mechanisms of meditation training on mental health in older people.

Previous studies on meditation and cognitive decline among the elderly reported some positive effects on attention, memory, executive function, processing speed and general cognition. MEDIT-AGEING is now working to develop preventive strategies for at-risk people and better therapies targeting those already affected.

The strategy targets cognitive function and brain regions known to be sensitive to ageing and Alzheimer’s, and targets known risk factors for further deterioration such as depression, stress, anxiety, sleep disorders and social exclusion.

Researchers are developing meditation regimes to address these concerns, and indirectly, the chronic health problems exacerbated by advancing age and related mental health conditions.

MEDIT-AGEING is the first comprehensive, all-in-one study of the short- and long-term cognitive, emotional and biological links to ageing, and the effectiveness of meditation in dealing with these.

Project details

  • Project acronym: MEDIT-AGEING
  • Project number: 667696
  • Participants: France (Coordinator), Belgium, Switzerland, UK, Germany, Spain
  • Total costs: € 7 087 230
  • EU contribution: € 6 134 756
  • Duration: January 2016 to December 2020

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