Unravelling the mystery of stress and healthy ageing

Collaborating across borders with 10 other European institutions, the University of Birmingham is researching crucial health challenges of our ageing populations.

elderly person

A fifth of Europe’s population will be aged over 65 by 2020. This increasingly elderly population brings with it added health concerns and pressures that health services desperately need to address.

While the physical effects of ageing are well-known at a cellular and tissue level less is known about how the various age-related changes interact to result in frailty and disease.

The University of Birmingham has coordinated the Neuroendocrine Immune Networks in Ageing project which looked at three crucial systems impacted by or impacting on the ageing process; the central nervous system, the immune system and the endocrine system. Funded through the Marie Curie Initial Training Network 15 research fellows across 10 institutions investigated a range of issues.

Collaborations with universities in France, Portugal and Germany were made possible through the European Union and enabled the researchers to discover the effects of sleep duration on the immune system, the stress of care-giving on young people and ways to improve immunity as people grow older. 

Policy area

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