The goal of DuSRA-VOILA is not primarily to increase longevity, and help every Dutch citizen to reach the age of 120. Our aim is to help people live longer lives with health and vitality. At the moment, the Dutch 50+ have two to three diseases of old age on average. This greatly impacts their quality of life and functioning in society. With our research, we want to help people reach the age of seventy or eighty in good health. To this end, we will research which factors contribute to healthy ageing and learn how to recognize frailty in an earlier stage. We want to better understand why some people remain physically and mentally fit into old age, while others face various impairments already in their fifties.
The unique proposition of DuSRA-VOILA is that, instead of working on a single disease condition, we want to tackle a number of conditions associated with ageing simultaneously. In particular non-communicable diseases, such as type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia and sarcopenia to name a few, result from metabolic dysregulation over the life course. Older adults suffering from any, or a combination, of these conditions now receive largely the same advice, treatments and medicines, while their responses to these may vary significantly. We want to be able to better predict these differences in advance. Our previous research has shown that chronological age is not a useful indicator: someone’s biological age is more relevant, and can for instance be measured by biomarkers in the blood and the condition of the intestinal microbiota, musculature, metabolic and immune markers. This will allow assessment as to which older adults have the highest risk of accelerated ageing as well as associated signs of frailty and predict the potential effects of medical as well as life style interventions.
Our research aims to identify early signs of functional decline in older adults, attenuate decline and repair damage sustained. Our ambition is to win healthy years for the Dutch population, not only by determining that one person has an increased risk of suffering from dementia, cancer or cardiovascular disease, but also by supplying this person with personal advice on how to mitigate these risks. In the future, we hope to provide people with individual lifestyle advice for optimal metabolic, gut and immune health. In this way, we can simultaneously tackle multiple disease processes.