The areas in the Stockholm region that were the hardest hit by Covid-19 in the early pandemic phase during spring 2020, were characterized by a younger population in combination with lower socioeconomic status. This is shown in an article in British Medical Journal Global Health, by researchers from ARC/NEAR and the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet.
The findings can be important in the development of future shielding strategies against future resurgences of the COVID-19 infection or other pandemics.
To hear more about this join the seminar on November 17th entitled: “COVID-19 seminar with Alessandra Marengoni, Amaia Calderón-Larrañaga and Giorgi Beridze” hosted by the Aging Research Center (ARC) using this link: Covid-19 seminar ARC
NEAR’s director Laura Fratiglioni is interviewed on Swedish science radio on newly found risk factors for dementia development that have been pointed out by the members of a commission for the Scientific journal The Lancet. The three factors: alcohol consumption, traumatic brain injury, and air pollution add to an earlier list of nine factors. The twelve risk factors are responsible for around 40% of all dementia occurence.
The newly determined factors can be relieved by change in living habits or stricter legislation.
In a cultural opinion article in Dagens Nyheter, signed by NEAR’s Director, Laura Fratiglioni together with two other members of Karolinska Institutet’s special resource group for the health of elderly under the Covid-19 pandemic, urges local authorities to use the their expertise. With more research and education, in cooperation with regional authorities and municipalities, the situation on those nursing homes and facilities lacking in good care can be much improved, they argue.
In an article in the largest daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter, the professors Anders Wimo (member of the NEAR steering board) and Bengt Winblad (member of the NEAR scientific advisory board) are strongly critical on the guidelines prescribing opioid substances rather than Oxygen treatment för elderly displaying shortness of breath due to Covid-19.
The daily Dagens Nyheter has interviewed two researchers on the societal attitudes towards the elderly in Sweden. Professor Ingmar Skoog, Gothenburg university and member of the NEAR steering board, is surprised over the ‘youth culture’ that is still predominant in Sweden, since today’s elderly are so much healthier and active than before. Media and Journalism associate professor Maria Edström from the same university, notes that people who have retired from working life are much less covered in media. For women, the decline in reporting starts already around 50-55 years of age, she states.
The whole article can be found here (in Swedish).
The ARC (Aging Research Center) at Karolinska Institutet, the department that hosts the NEAR initiative, is a cooperation between the institute and the Stockholm university. In a unique collaboration it has invited photo students to document elderly people from the programme SWEOLD . The resulting photos, together with lectures can now be watched online on this page (in Swedish).
NEAR’s second scientific workshop was conducted remotely over Zoom with 82 connected participants. It was chaired by Debora Rizzuto.
After a short update and welcome address by Laura Fratiglioni, Johan Skoog from the University of Gothenburg presented the NEAR sleep disturbance and cognition project, an ongoing cooperation between researchers in the H70, KP&SNAC-K, GÅS/SNAC-S, CAIDE studies and the NEAR operational group. Both insomnia in midlife and long sleep duration has been shown to be associated with higher risk for dementia, and sleep disturbances are also associated with lower MMSE scores. Multi-level models are applied but more work is needed to harmonize the differing variable measurements between the studies.
Linda Enroth from Tampere University, Finland, presented the outline of a project she is setting up, using NEAR data from nine studies. The general aim of the project is to examine the health consequences of the increasing life expectancy by analyzing disability rates and trajectories during the last years of life. It further seeks to investigate the role of sex and socioeconomic inequality behind these traits.
Enrico Ripamonti, NEAR statistician, gave a presentation on ongoing collaborative work regarding lifetime determinants of the cognitive status in older age. The work employs several waves from six databases from SOFI, NEAR and Finnish studies, including life-level analyses of younger age cohorts with outcomes at high age (>75 years).
The NEAR platform for database access and analysis will be launched during the autumn. Xiaonan Hu, NEAR data scientist, ended the workshop by demonstrating its functionality and showing examples from the SNAC-K study, which is already accessible.
The presentations rendered many follow-up questions and positive comments and will likely lead to future cooperations.
The Swedish Research Council has decided on grants regarding the call för COVID-19 research. NEAR’s Director Laura Fratiglioni received 1.68 MSEK för her application into
“Indirect damage of COVID-19 in the elderly: short-term and long-term health effects of the outbreak of the epidemic”