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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.

To video Edelweiss’s winning presentation click on the image below.

Silver Santé Study partners share progress in online annual meeting

Partners from the 11 institutions in six countries that make up the Silver Santé Study consortium gathered online to share progress in their research as part of the project’s annual meeting.

The Zoom meeting, which took place in October, involved more than 40 people from the UK, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany and France – all updating each other on the latest advances in their research and support work towards the goal of learning about how to safeguard mental health and well-being in the ageing population. The meeting also included an ‘elevator-pitch’ workshop devised and hosted by the project’s communications partner, Minerva UK.

Dr Géraldine Poisnel, of the coordinating team at Inserm, France, who organised the meeting, said: “This was our first online consortium meeting, due to the Covid restrictions, but it was wonderful to get all the partners and their teams together to discuss progress, make decisions as a group and make plans for the final stages of this important project.”

The project, which is due to end on December 31st 2020, has applied to the EC for a six-month extension due to the delays caused by the Covid pandemic and is awaiting news of the decision.

The Silver Santé Study consortium partners taking part in their annual meeting online in October 2020.

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 newuroimagin test at Cyceron, France.

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

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.

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.

Data Sharing

The European MEDIT-AGEING/SILVER SANTE STUDY project, which involves 6 European countries and is funded by the European Commission (program H2020-PHC22), is based on the increasingly documented concept of a negative effect of stress on mental and physical health, particularly in the elderly. It includes two randomized clinical trials – AGE-WELL and SCD-WELL.

Following EC recommendations, all groups participating in the H2020 MEDIT-AGEING/ SILVER SANTE STUDY project have agreed a policy to share AGE-WELL and SCD-WELL trial data.

The Material can be mobilized, under the conditions and modalities defined in the Medit-Ageing Charter by any research team belonging to an Academic, for carrying out a scientific research project relating to the scientific theme of mental health and well-being in older people. The Material may also be mobilized by non-academic third parties, under conditions, in particular financial, which will be established by separate agreement between Inserm and by the said third party.

The submission schedule is available to download here:

Medit-Ageing Data Sharing flowchart

To apply for access to our data, please download and complete this form:

Data Sharing Request Form

Your request for data access must be precisely described and justified. Once completed, the form should be emailed directly to the appropriate party (designated by checking the appropriate box on the form). Please address the form to the Executive Committee of the MEDIT-AGEING/ SILVER SANTE STUDY project, who will consider the request on a case-by-case basis and respond within 60 days.

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 https://silversantestudy.eu/2020/04/28/tips-for-maintaining-good-mental-health-and-well-being-during-the-lockdown/

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 https://silversantestudy.eu/join-our-mailing-list/

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 https://www.alz.org/aaic/overview.asp

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

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