Category Archives: News

Edelweiss Touron victorious in Great Silver Santé Study Thesis Challenge!

PhD student, Edelweiss Touron, was crowned the winner of the project’s Great Silver Santé Study Thesis Challenge after impressing the judges with her clear, concise and well delivered thesis entitled ‘Is the cup half full or half empty?’.

Edelweiss, of the University of Caen, was one of 11 students from France, Belgium, and the UK working on the project to enter the competition. She impressed the judges with her presentation on the association of subclinical depressive symptoms with brain changes in healthy adults for its use of analogies, clear scientific explanation, and excellent presentation skills.

Harriet Demnitz-King, of UCL, was awarded second place for her presentation on the association between repetitive negative thinking and markers of Alzheimer’s disease. In third place was Francesca Felisatti, of the University of Caen for her presentation entitled ‘All roads lead to Rome’ for which she also won the ‘audience choice’ award, voted on by all participants in the consortium meeting.

The judges – Eric Salmon of the University of Liège, Rhonda Smith of Minerva UK, and Olga Klimecki of University of Geneva – praised the students for the excellent standard of the presentations overall and said it was extremely difficult to choose the winner.

Click on the image below to watch Edelweiss’s winning presentation.

Final round of Age Well follow-up visits planned to start in January 2021

Wave 1 participants in our Age Well clinical trial are being invited to attend Cyceron for their fourth and final round of follow-up tests in January 2021.

The 42 participants, all aged 65+, have kindly agreed to take part in this additional round of tests to further strengthen validation of the trial by studying whether the effects of mental training techniques persist over time.

The group, all based in Caen, France, have been helping our expert researchers learn more about mental health & well-being in the ageing population. After taking part in a series of baseline tests, each volunteer was randomly assigned to one of three groups – an English language course, a meditation course, or a control group in which participants made no changes to their lifestyle.

Project Coordinator Dr Gaël Chételat, of Cyceron, says: “The safety and well-being or all our participants is our primary concern, which is why the follow-up visits were postponed until January.

“We will be constantly monitoring the situation and the visits will only go ahead if we are confident we can properly safeguard the health the volunteers who have kindly devoted so much of their time to helping us learn more about mental health in the ageing population.”

Blood tests, neuroimaging scans and questionnaires have been used by our expert researchers to assess the impact of the mental training techniques on the brain. The volunteers’ lifestyle habits – such as sleep, diet, physical exercise and emotions – have also been monitored.

Final follow-up tests for participants in waves 2 and 3 are expected to take place in September 2021 and February 2022, respectively.

An AGE WELL participant takes part in a neuroimaging test at Cyceron, France.

The Great Silver Santé Thesis Challenge

PhD students working on the Silver Santé Study will be putting their presentation skills to the test as part of a thesis contest to be held during the project’s annual consortium meeting.

The competition – called the Great Silver Santé Thesis Challenge – will take place during the online meeting in October and will see 11 PhD students from France, Germany, Belgium and the UK present their thesis to all the consortium partners.

Each student will present their thesis live during the meeting over a maximum of three minutes and will be judged on the presentation content, how well they convey their research and results, the impact it creates and their presentation skills.

In addition, all meeting participants – which will include representatives from all 11 partner organisations in 6 countries – will get to vote for an ‘audience choice’ winner.

The winners will be announced via social media and here on our news page after the consortium meeting on 12-13 October.

Some of the postgraduate students who will be taking part in the Great Silver Santé Thesis Challenge.

Silver Santé Study data sharing now available

Silver Santé Study is sharing data from its two clinical trials – AGE WELL and SCD WELL – with other research projects working in the field of mental health.

The study’s consortium partners have agreed a policy of data sharing with the aim of sharing knowledge with other researchers to further efforts to improve the mental health of our population and to prevent mental health conditions such as dementia.

Anyone wishing to access the data must first submit a data sharing request to the project’s Executive Committee. For full details of how to request the data, please visit our data sharing page

An SCD Well participant completes a questionnaire about taking part in the study.

Project featured in series of France 3 ‘ageing well’ documentaries

Participants and researchers from our AGE WELL clinical trial in Caen, France, have appeared in a series of films aired on France 3 in Normandy.

The series, which focused on ‘ageing well’, included five programmes – each five minutes long – which featured interviews with AGE WELL participants, details of the tests they are undergoing, and interviews with project researchers including Dr Gaël Chételat, Dr Géraldine Poisnel, and Dr Géraldine Rauchs at Cyceron in Caen.

To view the French language films, visit the France 3 page about the programme here.

Volunteers taking part in an English class as part of the Age Well trial

Effects of Covid 19 lockdown on mental health & well-being to be assessed

The Silver Santé Study’s Age Well clinical trial volunteers are helping our expert researchers learn more about the impact of the Covid 19 lockdown on their mental health and well-being.

The volunteers – all aged 65+ and living in Caen, France – completed a questionnaire at the beginning of the lockdown and another one at the end to help our researchers study the effects of being housebound and isolated from friends, family, and colleagues and its impact on mental health.

Dr Gaël Chételat, Project Coordinator, said: “As the Silver Santé Study is already focused on safeguarding good mental health and well-being in later life, our researchers are ideally placed to explore the effects of the lockdown.”

“Although it presents huge challenges for us all, the lockdown does, however, provide us with an opportunity to learn more about the effects of being isolated from friends, family and colleagues and its impact on our mental health and well-being in later life.

“It will also be very interesting to see whether there is any difference between the group that practiced meditation, the group that learned a new language and the group that made no lifestyle change.

“We hope to have results of this study as soon as possible so that the findings can inform policy and support relating to the current and future lockdowns.”

For advice and links to help older adults safeguard their mental health and well-being during the lockdown see our advice page at

The effects of Covid 19 lockdown isolation are being assessed by Silver Santé researchers.

Delays due to Covid 19 restrictions

Data analysis and planned follow-up testing of volunteers taking part in our Age Well clinical trial have been postponed due to the health and safety restrictions put in place to combat the Covid 19 pandemic.

The restrictions have prevented our researchers from gaining access to data for analysis which will, inevitably, create a delay in the release of the project’s results. Additional follow-up tests, at 21 months after the interventions, have also been delayed and it is hoped that the Wave 1 round will take place in October, restrictions permitting.

Project Coordinator, Dr Gaël Chételat, said: “Naturally, we would rather not experience delays, but the health and well-being of our volunteers and of our researchers is our top priority so the testing will only resume once it is safe to do so.

“We are enormously grateful to our volunteers for devoting their time, energy and commitment to helping us discover more about how we can safeguard mental health in later life.”

To follow the progress of the project, sign up to receive our quarterly e-newsletter here

The follow-up tests, which include neuroimaging scans, will be delayed due to Covid 19 restrictions.

Project experts prepare to present at world’s largest Alzheimer’s conference

Silver Santé Study experts from several institutions and countries are preparing to present their work at this year’s prestigious Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC).

The conference, which will take place this year online, is the largest and most influential international meeting dedicated to advancing dementia science. Each year, AAIC convenes the world’s leading basic science and clinical researchers, next-generation investigators, clinicians and the care research community to share research discoveries that will lead to methods of prevention and treatment and improvements in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

Silver Santé Study researchers, including those from the University of Caen, Inserm, and Hospices Civils De Lyon  in France, UCL in the UK, DZNE in Germany,  the University of Geneva in Switzerland and the University of  Liége in Belgium will be participating..

Project Coordinator, Dr Gaël Chételat, who will be among those attending the conference, says: “As the world’s leading Alzheimer’s conference, the AAIC provides an invaluable opportunity for us to share our findings with the international scientific community.

“We look forward to doing so and to hearing from other scientists about their most recent findings in this important field of research.”

The AAIC conference will take place online between the 27th and 31st July. For further info and to register visit

Dr Natalie Marchant, of UCL, presenting the key findings of the Silver Santé Study’s SCD Well trial at the AAIC Conference in 2019.

Tips for maintaining good mental health and well-being during the lockdown

The Silver Santé Study is a 5-year EU-funded project investigating mental health and well-being in Europe’s ageing population. So our experts have come up with a few tips and links that may help older adults maintain good mental health and well-being during this challenging time.

While we all stay at home to protect ourselves and others, it’s more important than ever that we find ways to stay in regular contact with friends and family. Online platforms such as WhatsApp, Skype or Houseparty can be great for video calling but if that’s new to you, Age UK has produced this handy guide to help get you started: . If you don’t have access to a computer, make sure you phone friends, family and neighbours regularly to chat and keep in touch.

Social contact is essential for maintaining good mental health, particularly if you live alone. But there are other things you can do to support good mental health. Take the time to get outside in the fresh air and enjoy your garden, if you have one, and make the most of the arrival of spring to tidy up and get planting. You can even start growing your own fruit and veg in the smallest of gardens. Meditation, yoga/stretching, or just sitting and listening to nature can also help you take time out for yourself. You could also take advantage of this time to learn a new foreign language with a free app like Duolingo (

Even though outings are limited, it’s important to build some regular exercise into your new routine. Try doing exercises at home each day by following Joe Wicks’ free online workouts for seniors (  or if your mobility is limited, try this chair-based workout from Age UK   .

It’s always beneficial to do the things you enjoy like reading a good book, playing a musical instrument, playing card games, board games, chess, or doing arts and crafts. You could also take the time to browse your photo albums or start making a new one with the stack of photos you never had time to organise. If you live alone, there are apps for scrabble, card games, crosswords, or Sudoku, to keep your brain active, to name but a few.

Keep your brain active by doing puzzles, crosswords and games.

Below are some further links from the Silver Santé Study team with ideas to help you stay in good physical and mental health during this challenging time:

Classic FM’s list of best live streamed music performances

National Theatre productions available free online

Free mindfulness audio resources from the Mindful website

Free online gardening advice from expert Christine Walkden on the Age UK website

Download the free MindMate app which offers free brain games and personalised daily workouts that help sharpen cognitive skills for seniors and baby boomers.

To sum up, try to keep yourself busy both mentally and physically in order to stay healthy and happy and remember that these restrictions won’t last forever, so keep smiling and stay positive!

Try an online yoga or mindfulness session.

New study identifies brain changes which explain why sleep apnea increases risk for developing Alzheimer’s

Researchers working on the EU-funded Silver Santé Study have identified brain changes which explain for the first time why sleep apnea increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

The research, led by Dr Géraldine Rauchs , of Inserm, in Caen, France, was published in JAMA Neurology ( )

Dr Rauchs and her team studied the effects of sleep apnea on 127 older adults who were taking part in the Age Well clinical trial of the Silver Santé Study. The volunteers, with a mean age of 69, completed neuropsychological assessments (tests to assess how the brain is working), polysomnography (to assess sleep quality and potential sleep disorders) tests and neuroimaging scans.

Those participants with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB or types of sleep apnea) showed greater amyloid burden (protein deposits in the brain), GM volume (number of brain cells) and metabolism (how these cells use glucose for their activity) in brain areas particularly vulnerable to Alzheimer’s – increasing their risk of developing the disease in coming years. No association was found with cognition, self-reported cognitive and sleep difficulties or excessive daytime sleepiness symptoms.

Dr Rauchs, the paper’s author, says: “The results are very significant as although there was increased evidence suggesting sleep-disordered breathing (SBD) increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, the brain mechanisms underlying the link were unclear.

“This study shows for the first time that SBD, or sleep apnea, increases amyloid burden, GM volume and metabolism in brain areas particularly vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease, increasing the risk of these individuals developing the disease in the future. This doesn’t mean, of course, that these participants will necessarily develop Alzheimer’s – just that their risk of developing the disease in future is increased.

“Fortunately, there are effective treatments available for SDB but the results of this study re-emphasize the importance of preserving good sleep quality throughout life in order to safeguard good mental health in later life.”

The results of the Silver Santé Study’s two clinical trials are due to be released later this year.

A volunteer has special headgear fitted by a researcher to monitor their sleep at Inserm in Caen, France.

« Older Entries Recent Entries »