Category Archives: News

Silver Santé Study Project Coordinator receives prestigious Marie-Paule Burrus Prize at awards ceremony in Paris

Dr Gaël Chételat, Project Coordinator for the Silver Santé Study and Director of research at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), was awarded the Marie-Paul Burrus Prize by the French Foundation for Medical Research (FRM) at the Collège de France, Paris on Monday 15th November 2021.

Dr Gaël Chételat and other laureates (Copyright Julie Bourges)

Over 200 people attended the ceremony, including Mrs. Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation and Mr. Denis Duverne, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the FRM. The evening was hosted by Sophie Aurenche, journalist and winner of the Claudine Escoffier Lambiotte Prize 2004 and Hervé Chneiweiss, President of the Research Committee of the FRM.

Every year, the Foundation for Medical Research (FRM) recognises the outstanding work of exceptional scientists and researchers by awarding a ‘Grand Prize’ along with several Scientific, Research and Communication awards. This year a total of 10 awards were given.

Dr Chételat was presented with the Marie-Paule Burrus Prize, which was created and awarded by Yves Burrus in honour of his wife, for her continued work on neurodegenerative diseases and specifically her research to promote normal brain ageing and prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

On receiving the award Dr Chételat said: “I am thrilled to have received this award. It is a real honour and recognition to everyone in my INSERM team at Cyceron and the Silver Santé Study, who have all been involved in this important field of research.”

Silver Santé Study sleep expert releases new book on sleep disorders

Silver Santé Study researcher and sleep expert, Dr Géraldine Rauchs, has coordinated a new book ‘Sommeil, Fatigue et Troubles Cognitifs’ alongside Claire Vallat-Azouvi and Philippe Azouvi, that delves deep into the effects of sleep and fatigue on cognitive deficits in various conditions.

The book addresses in details sleep disturbances and their impact on daily functioning and cognition in neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, stroke.

Dr Rauchs has been responsible for all investigations into the impact of sleep quality on the brain and cognition in the Silver Santé Study over the last five years and has been delighted to contribute her expertise and knowledge in this field to this new book. Published by De Boeck supérieur, the book is available to purchase as an eBook or hard copy.

https://www.decitre.fr/livres/sommeil-fatigue-troubles-du-sommeil-et-troubles-cognitifs-9782807335776.html#resume

PhD opportunity: Open position for a PhD in Psychology/Neurosciences in Caen, France

Laboratory: Inserm U1237, PhIND, Caen, France (dir : Pr Denis Vivien), Team Multimodal Neuroimaging and Lifestyle in Aging and Alzheimer’s disease (Dr. Gaël Chételat)

PhD Title: Assessing the influence of lifestyle factors on cognition and brain biomarkers of ageing and Alzheimer’s disease

This project will be part of the Medit-Ageing European project, led by Dr. Gaël Chételat (Caen, France). Medit-Aging includes 10 partners from 6 European Countries (France, Belgium, Switzerland, UK, Germany, Spain) and aims at investigating the influence of meditation and foreign language learning on mental health and well-being in the ageing population. In that context, we included ~140 cognitively unimpaired older adults who underwent multimodal neuroimaging (structural, functional MRI, diffusion imaging, FDG- and amyloid PET), detailed behavioral evaluations (cognition, lifestyle, psychoaffective factors) and blood sampling (blood markers and genetics). All exams were done at inclusion and after an 18-month period, during which part of the participants received an intervention (either based on meditation or second language learning); a long-term follow-up of these participants is currently ongoing.

The PhD position is already funded and should start between November and December 2021. This 3-year position follows standard French salaries at Inserm. The student will be a member of the Chételat lab, located in Caen, France. She/he will be in charge of data analyses (behavioral and neuroimaging) and dissemination of the results
(communications in conferences and manuscript publication). She/he will also be involved in the lab activities (which might include data acquisition, data entry, quality control etc.).


Candidate profile and requirements:

  • The candidates must have a MSc in psychology, neuropsychology, neurosciences, or related
  • field.
  • We are looking for highly motivated candidates with scientific curiosity and good teamwork
  • skills
  • Previous experience in the field of aging, Alzheimer’s Disease and/or neuroimaging would be
  • an advantage.
  • Proficiency in written and oral English is required. Speaking French would be an asset.

Application:

Please send a curriculum vitae, academic transcript, a letter on motivation and interests and at least 1 reference letter (2 whenever possible).

Please send your application before October 15th, 2021 to Julie Gonneaud: gonneaud@cyceron.fr


For further information about the Silver Santé Study visit the project website at http://www.silversantestudy.eu or watch the project’s 3-minute film at http://ow.ly/Lhle30lUZqp.

Further info on the Chételat Lab can be found at http://www.chetelat-lab.fr.

Mindfulness may improve cognition in older adults, new review reveals

A new review of evidence published by Silver Santé Study researchers has revealed that mindfulness may provide modest benefits to cognition, particularly among older adults.

The systematic review and meta-analysis, published in Neuropsychology Review, found that, while mindfulness is normally aimed at improving mental health and well-being, it may also provide additional cognitive benefits to brain health.

The researchers reviewed previously published studies of mindfulness, and identified 45 studies that fit their criteria, incorporating a total of 2,238 study participants. Each study tested the effects of a mindfulness-based intervention delivered by a facilitator in a group setting.  Most of the studies involved a certified instructor teaching participants techniques such as sitting meditation, mindful movement and body scan, generally on a weekly basis across six to 12 weeks, while also asking participants to continue the practices on their own time.

The researchers found that overall, mindfulness provided a small but significant benefit to cognition.

Tim Whitfield, of the University College, London, who led the review, said: “The positive effects of mindfulness-based programmes (MBPs) on mental health are already relatively well-established. Here, our findings suggest that a small benefit is also conferred to cognition, at least among older adults.”

Subgroup analysis revealed that the effect was slightly stronger for people over 60, while there was not a significant effect for people under 60.

“This finding is exciting, because we all slow down mentally as we age, while others experience serious brain diseases resulting in dementia. The finding that MBPs might help mental abilities in older adults was thus particularly encouraging,” Tim concludes.

Full details of the study can be viewed here.

European Commission grants project extension following delays due to COVID 19 pandemic

The completion of data analysis and follow-up testing with trial participants will proceed thanks to the European Commission granting a further extension to the Silver Santé project.

The project, which was due to end on December 31st 2020, applied for a second nine-month extension following delays caused by the Covid pandemic.

Project coordinator, Dr Gaël Chételat, said: “We are delighted to hear that our application for a further extension has been granted.  This additional time will enable us to complete the analysis of our data and follow-up tests of volunteers to further strengthen validation of the trial by studying whether the effects of mental training techniques persist over time”.

The Silver Santé study is the longest of its kind, investigating the mental health and well-being of Europe’s ageing population.  It is also investigating whether mental training techniques such as learning a foreign language or making lifestyle changes such as taking up mindfulness or health self-management courses, can help safeguard mental health in later life.

To keep up to date with the progress and outcomes of the project, sign up to receive our quarterly e-newsletter here https://silversantestudy.eu/join-our-mailing-list/

Project experts and students present at world’s largest Alzheimer’s conference

Silver Santé Study experts from several institutions and countries presented their work at this year’s prestigious Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) in July.

The conference, which for the first time ever took place as a hybrid event with sessions being held virtually and in- person in Denver, 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 and Phd students, including those from the University of Caen, Inserm, and UCL in the UK participated in various sessions and presented posters of the study’s most recent findings during the five-day conference.

Project Coordinator, Dr Gaël Chételat, who was among those attending the conference, said: “As the world’s leading Alzheimer’s conference, the AAIC provided us with an invaluable opportunity to share and discuss our most recent findings including studies into the impact of COVID-19 on cognitive reserve and resilience, with the international scientific community.

“It was also extremely interesting to hear from other scientists involved in this important field of research.”

One of several posters presented by Silver Santé Study researchers at this year’s AAIC Conference

Silver Santé project coordinator to host workshops at national event on memory

Memory Week

Monday 20th – Friday 24th September

Silver Santé project coordinator, Dr Gaël Chételat and her team invite you to attend two ‘Come and taste the memory’ workshops being held on 21st September and 23rd September at 3pm at the Maison de la Recherche en Sciences Humaines (MRSH), University of Caen, as part of the fourth national ‘Memory Week’ event.

The workshops will focus on the functioning and dysfunctions of different memory systems and will include opportunities to discuss this important topic with other fellow scientists and researchers in person.  Anne-Lise Pitel (PhIND INSERM), Karine Lebreton (NIMS, University of Caen) and Dr Chételat will lead the sessions.

To see the full programme of events and register visit: https://bit.ly/3EbMemc  

Open position for a PhD in Psychology/Neurosciences in Caen, France

Laboratory: Inserm U1237, PhIND, Caen, France (dir : Pr Denis Vivien), Team Multimodal
Neuroimaging and Lifestyle in Aging and Alzheimer’s disease (Dr. Gaël Chételat)

See revised offer posted on 5th October 2021

PhD Title: Assessing the influence of lifestyle factors on cognition and brain biomarkers of ageing and Alzheimer’s disease


This project will be part of the Medit-Ageing European project, led by Dr. Gaël Chételat (Caen, France). Medit-Aging includes 10 partners from 6 European Countries (France, Belgium, Switzerland, UK, Germany, Spain) and aims at investigating the influence of meditation and foreign language learning on mental health and well-being in the ageing population. In that context, we included ~140 cognitively unimpaired older adults who underwent multimodal neuroimaging (structural, functional MRI, diffusion imaging, FDG- and amyloid PET), detailed behavioral evaluations (cognition, lifestyle, psychoaffective factors) and blood sampling (blood markers and genetics). All exams were done at inclusion and after an 18-month period, during which part of the participants received an intervention (either based on meditation or second language learning); a long-term follow-up of these participants is currently ongoing.

The PhD student will mainly work on the Medit-Ageing data, but might also work on other available datasets. The main objective of the PhD project will be to better understand the influence of lifestyle factors on cognition, well-being and neuroimaging. More specifically, the project will investigate the relationships between cognitive, physical, social activity and diet and measures of cognition and brain integrity (including MRI and PET). Part of this project will also focus on the effect of the interventions, with the objective of better characterizing the influence of second language learning on older adults’ brain and function.

The PhD position is already funded and should start between September 1st 2021 and December 1st 2021. This 3-year position follows standard French salaries at Inserm. The student will be a member of the Chételat lab, located in Caen, France. She/he will be in charge of data analyses (behavioral and neuroimaging) and dissemination of the results
(communications in conferences and manuscript publication). She/he will also be involved in the lab activities (which might include data acquisition, data entry, quality control etc.).


Candidate profile and requirements:

  • The candidates must have a MSc in psychology, neuropsychology, neurosciences, or related
  • field.
  • We are looking for highly motivated candidates with scientific curiosity and good teamwork
  • skills
  • Previous experience in the field of aging, Alzheimer’s Disease and/or neuroimaging would be
  • an advantage.
  • Proficiency in written and oral English is required. Speaking French would be an asset.

Application:

Please send a curriculum vitae, a letter on motivation and interests and at least 1 reference
letter (2 whenever possible).

Please send your application before August 15th to Julie Gonneaud: gonneaud@cyceron.fr
For further information about the Silver Santé Study visit the project website at http://www.silversantestudy.eu or watch the project’s 3-minute film at http://ow.ly/Lhle30lUZqp.

Further info on the Chételat Lab can be found at http://www.chetelat-lab.fr.

Opening of PhD position in Lyon, France, in cognitive neurosciences.

Opening of a PhD position in Lyon, France at the Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, DYCOG Team,INSERM U1028 – CNRS UMR5292, under the direction of Dr. Antoine Lutz in the doctoral school Neurosciences and Cognition (ED 476 – NSCO) of Lyon University.

Title: Investigating the neuroimaging correlates of meditation expertise during a socio-affective paradigm.

The position is to be filled as soon as October 1st 2021. The fellowship will involve working on an EC-funded Silver Santé Study –research project investigating the impacts of mental training techniques, such as meditation and language-learning, on mental health and well-being in Europe’s ageing population. The 5-year project is led by Dr Gaël Chételat of INSERM in Caen, France. This H2020 European project includes 10 partners in 6 European Countries. The present project will collaborate in particular with the Laboratory for Behavioral Neurology and Imaging of Cognition at the University of Geneva (Prof. Patrik Vuilleumier and Dr. Olga Klimecki, experts in Affective Neuroscience).  For further information about the Silver Santé Study visit the project website at www.silversantestudy.eu or watch the project’s 3-minute film at  http://ow.ly/Lhle30lUZqp. The protocols of the study are described in the manuscripts listed below. In this project, Dr. Lutz is the leader work-package Meditation supervising in particular the meditation interventions and the study of meditation experts.

Summary

The primary goal of this doctoral work is to analyze and publish one datasets of fMRI data on the cross-sectional relationship between meditation training and emotion regulation in brain and behavior collected in a group of expert senior meditators (>10,000 hours of meditation in life, > 65 year old) compared to aged-matched healthy older adults.  The aim of this project is to identify the neural signatures of meditation states in senior expert meditators using a fMRI paradigm called the socio-affective video task (SoVT). This paradigm allows to investigate this link between emotion, meditation and aging both on a behavioral and neural level. The main emotional mechanism measured by this task relates to the capacity to regulate responses to aversive situations from daily life, as it exposes participants to video clips of individuals suffering. Resting-state periods distributed throughout the task additionally allow to evaluate emotional recovery from these stressful events, both in terms of brain activity and experienced emotions. A sample of senior expert meditators (n = 27-30 experts) will be examined for this cross-sectional study. Participants will perform the SoVT under two meditation states (mindfulness and compassion, respectively), which will allow to map distinct neural signatures of meditation expertise. Specifically, functional connectivity analyses will allow to determine for the first time the brain networks recruited during emotion regulation as a function of meditation state. Data for this paradigm has already been collected in a sample of 140 healthy seniors novices to meditation and 25 expert meditators. The data have been analyzed for the novices. Following this project, the candidate will have opportunity to work on various research questions/ dataset related either to the Meditageing project or to another large brain imaging dataset on meditation (ERC consolidator Brain& Mindfulness) using MRI, fMRI, or  EEG.

 Candidates should have a Master in psychology, or cognitive and/or affective neurosciences.  The candidate should have, ideally, previous experiences in analyzing functional neuroimaging using SPM and to be familiar with research on meditation or empathy.  Theoretical and practical experiences with the following software will be relevant:  Matlab, statistical software (R), standard neuroimaging software (e.g. SPM, freesurfer). Proficiency in written and oral English is required.

The doctoral fellowship could start September 1st 2021 or October 1st 2021. This 3-year position follows standard French salaries at INSERM. To apply for this position, please send a curriculum vitae with references, cover letter describing research interest and experience to Antoine Lutz (antoine.lutz@inserm.fr). Please write in the title (“Application to the MEDITAGEING doctoral fellowship”).

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Lutz, A., Klimecki, O.M., Collette, F., Poisnel, G., Arenaza-Urquijo, E., Marchant, N.L., De La Sayette, V., Rauchs, G., Salmon, E., Vuilleumier, P., Frison, E., Vivien, D., Chételat, G., Medit-Ageing Research Group, 2018. The Age-Well observational study on expert meditators in the Medit-Ageing European project. Alzheimers Dement (N Y) 4, 756–764. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trci.2018.11.002

Poisnel, G., Arenaza-Urquijo, E., Collette, F., Klimecki, O.M., Marchant, N.L., Wirth, M., de La Sayette, V., Rauchs, G., Salmon, E., Vuilleumier, P., Frison, E., Maillard, A., Vivien, D., Lutz, A., Chételat, G., Medit-Ageing Research Group, 2018. The Age-Well randomized controlled trial of the Medit-Ageing European project: Effect of meditation or foreign language training on brain and mental health in older adults. Alzheimers Dement (N Y) 4, 714–723. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trci.2018.10.011

Silver Santé researchers, students and guest speakers reveal details of their on-going studies

Over 90 attendees from across Europe, the United States and Australia joined the online public meeting on 16th June 2021, where ongoing research by the Silver Santé Study investigating the impact of interventions on mental health and well-being in the ageing population, was presented.

The online meeting, Mental Health & Well-being in the Ageing Population: Research, Risks and Recommendations covered presentations and discussions on a range of topics on mental health and well-being in older adults.  A key topic was the Brain health of older participants of the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, and whether psycho-affective factors such as sleep, physical activity and self-reflection can mitigate the risks of developing dementia.  The perception of meditation and mindfulness as therapies or activities over the last five years was also explored.

Expert guest speakers David Bartres Faz, Professor of Medical Psychology at the University of Barcelona and Dr James Kirby, Senior Lecturer & Clinical Psychologist at the University of Queensland joined the meeting.  Professor Bartres Faz presented results from the Barcelona Brain Health Initiative study that is investigating mental health effects and moderators during the Covid-19 pandemic. Dr James Kirby spoke about his personal experiences as a clinical psychologist, raising awareness of the increase in research on meditation and growing acceptance of the emotional aspects concerned such as compassion.

During the final session of the day, expert meditator Martine Batchelor and English teachers – Corinne Schimmer of Carré International and Caitlin Ware of INSERM – shared their experiences of delivering the interventions with trial participants, highlighting the emotional benefits of meditation and the feasibility of learning a language at any age.  This session was enriched by feedback on their experiences of being involved from participants directly involved in the study.

Project Co-ordinator Dr Gael Chételat of INSERM, said:

“The global population is ageing and as we live longer, ensuring good mental as well as physical health in later years is becoming ever more important.  The two clinical trials conducted by our expert researchers in six European countries have assessed the impact of mental training techniques and lifestyle changes on the mental health and well-being of older adults.  The Silver Santé Study is the longest ever study of both meditation and foreign language learning and is the first research to examine the emotional aspects of ageing and mental health.

This public meeting was a unique opportunity for us to share and cascade our findings, methodologies and data to a range of interested audiences across Europe and stimulate discussion in this area.”

Some of the researchers, students and experts who were involved in the Silver Santé Study

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