Our life expectancy has increased significantly over the last two centuries. Yet we spend 25 percent of our life suffering from chronic diseases and discomfort. Age is the major risk factor for most of these diseases and treating the elderly is complicated because of their vulnerability. Elderly patients have multiple diseases simultaneously (multimorbidity) and concomitant multiple medications (polypharmacy) and often prescibed in suboptimal combinations and dosages. Creating real value for elderly patients also means focusing on the consequences of disease and quality of life.
Longstanding tradition in human ageing research
The LUMC has a longstanding tradition in human ageing research and is leading national and international consortia with the mission to make people live healthier for longer. We envision disease in elderly patients as a holistic problem affecting many tissues simultaneously.
We treat elderly patients according to this perspective and in a process involving not only the clinic but also the living conditions, home care and lifestyle factors.
Our research profile is multidisciplinary by nature. In clinical and population based epidemiological studies we focus on risk factors of diseases specific for aged individuals and factors determining their response to treatment. Aetiological studies into causality of disease or healthy ageing are performed in humans and animal models by clinical studies, genomic and (cell) biological approaches and lifestyle intervention studies.
Departments collaborating for this mission include gerontology & geriatrics, cardiology, orthopaedic surgery, psychiatry, oncology, public health and primary care and departments applying innovative technology to classify heterogeneous populations of elderly such as radiology and molecular epidemiology.
Focus on three major themes
The musculoskeletal system (mobility) in the elderly
Experimental and epidemiologic research is performed to generate novel possibilities for prevention of functional decline and geriatric rehabilitation of older persons from the community-based population to nursing home, and in the general hospital.
We focus on the causes and consequences of mobility problems, in relation to physiology and pathology of the musculoskeletal system (joints, muscle, bone and neuromotor functions).
The heart-brain axis in the elderly
Experimental and epidemiologic research is performed into the functional status of older people, both in the general hospital and the general population, with respect to the influence of the cardiovascular status on brain MRI-characteristics and brain function (operationalized as cognition, depression, apathy, and other neuropsychiatric symptomatology).
Cancer in the elderly
Older cancer patients are underrepresented in clinical trials and basic cancer research. We aim to integrate epidemiological, clinical and molecular data into evidence based recommendations for the treatment and care for older cancer patients. Retrospective, population based cohort studies coupled to tissue banks as well as protective randomized trials are conducted in close collaboration with researchers and clinicians within the LUMC, national and international.
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- Postmus I, Trompet S,.. , de Craen AJ, .., Westendorp RG, Slagboom PE, .., Jukema JW, .., Caulfield MJ. Pharmacogenetic meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies of LDL cholesterol response to statins. Nat comm 2014 5, 5068-5073.
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- Moonen JE, Foster-Dingley JC, de Ruijter W, van der Grond J, Bertens AS, van Buchem MA, Gussekloo J, Middelkoop HA, Wermer MJ, Westendorp RG, de Craen AJ, van der Mast RC. Effect of discontinuation of antihypertensive treatment in elderly people on cognitive functioning-the DANTE Study Leiden: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med 2015: 175(10):1622-1630.
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- Smit RA, Trompet S, Sabayan B, le Cessie S, van der Grond J, van Buchem MA, de Craen AJ, Jukema JW. Higher Visit-to-Visit Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Variability Is Associated With Lower Cognitive Performance, Lower Cerebral Blood Flow, and Greater White Matter Hyperintensity Load in Older Subjects. Circulation. 2016 Jul 19;134(3):212-21.
- Stott DJ, Rodondi N, …..,, Gussekloo J; TRUST Study Group. Thyroid Hormone Therapy for Older Adults with Subclinical Hypothyroidism. N Engl J Med. 2017 Jun 29;376(26):2534-2544.
Dutch science agenda
The medical research profile Ageing participates in the Nationale Wetenschapsagenda (in Dutch).