Marjon Stijntjes | 12-10-2016 |A Study into Genes Encoding Longevity in Humans
Human ageing is characterized by a gradual decline in cognitive and physical performance strongly determining someone’s functional abilities and quality of life. In this thesis, insights into these age-related changes and most importantly their interactions are given, which might be suggestive for potential causal mechanisms and is required for the development of preventive and therapeutic paradigms. We focused on global and domain specific measures of cognitive and physical performance and assessed the interactions across different populations of calendar and biological age (range 45 to 90 years). For the assessment of physical performance, instrumented measures were introduced to assess their additional value. Across the entire age range, interactions between cognitive and physical performance were consistently found. The temporal relationship differed across age and domains, suggesting a specific rather than a general relationship. Because age-related changes were already observed from middle age, these results encourage the early and repeated assessment of cognitive and physical performance across different domains and development of age and domain specific interventions. Instrumented measures can be used for the identification of age-related changes and show promising results in providing additional insights into potential underlying determinants. This will enable the development of even more refined and patient specific interventions.