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Age Well language volunteers go on field trip to Jersey

Volunteers taking part in the first wave of our Age Well clinical trial got the chance to try out their new language skills when they went on a group field trip to Jersey.

The 12 volunteers, all aged 65+ and from Normandy in France, got the ferry from St Malo to Jersey where they spent the day sightseeing, experiencing British culture and testing out the English they have all learned on a language course as part of one of the Silver Santé Study trial. The trip was organised with the help of the University of Caen where the students’ language lessons are held.

After using their English to buy bus tickets, the group visited Mont Orgueil Castle in Saint Martin and had lunch at a local pub, with many ordering fish and chips!

Left:  Volunteers from one of the Study’s language groups (who must remain anonymous at this stage of the project) visiting Mont Orgueil Castle in Jersey.

Over the last 18 months, the group has 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. Wave 1 has now ended but Waves 2 and 3 are ongoing.

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. Their lifestyle habits – such as sleep, diet, physical exercise and emotions – have also been monitored. The Silver Santé Study is the longest ever scientific study of language-learning and meditation intervention.

Dr Gaël Chételat, Project Coordinator, said: “We are enormously grateful to all the volunteers in Wave 1 who have kindly given up their time to help us discover more about how we can improve mental health & well-being in later life.

“Some of our volunteers have reported that taking part in our trials has been a life-changing experience for them so we’re very much looking forward to seeing what can be learned from the scientific data we have collected and we hope to have the results in 2020.”

SCD Well clinical trial team prepares to analyse data

Experts working on one of the Study’s two clinical trials – SCD Well – are preparing to analyse the data with a view to releasing the results in 2019.

The trial, led by Dr Natalie Marchant of University College London (UCL), is investigating the impact of mental training techniques on the mental health and well-being of patients with subjective cognitive decline (SCD) recruited from memory clinics in France, Germany, Spain and the UK.

Across the four centres, 147 patients were randomly assigned to short term intervention groups, such as health education or mindfulness programme.  Behavioural measures have been monitored to see how much of a difference can be made to participants’ well-being due to the intervention.

The methodologists and statisticians are now preparing to analyse the data in order to answer our primary research question: does participation in mindfulness training and/or a health education course reduce symptoms of anxiety?  The scientific team is in the final stages of checking the remaining data to ensure consistency across all sites.

Above: An SCD Well volunteer has a blood test as part of the clinical trial.


 

SCD Well results due in 2019

One of the Study’s two clinical trials – SCD Well – has now been successfully completed and the results are expected to be released next year.

The trial, led by Dr Natalie Marchant of University College London (UCL), is investigating the impact of mental training techniques on the health and well-being of patients with subjective cognitive decline (SCD) recruited from memory clinics in France, Germany, Spain and the UK.

Researchers will now analyse the results in order to assess the effects of short-term interventions, such as taking part in a health education or mindfulness programme, on 147 patients. Behavioural measures have been monitored to see how much of a difference can be made to participants’ well-being due to the intervention.

Dr Natalie Marchant (2nd from left) with her SCD Well colleagues at UCL.