e-Health can support healthy ageing and help preventing cardiovascular disease and dementia in elderly people

An innovative e-Health solution, based on an interactive Internet platform, has been developed to support senior citizens in improving their lifestyle to prevent cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline and dementia. Researchers from the HATICE trial presented the solution in a pre-press article published in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 62(2).

The HATICE trial is currently ongoing in Finland, France, and the Netherlands, involving more than 2,500 people aged 65 years or older, at high risk of cardiovascular disease. Half of the participants have access to an Internet platform where they can follow their cardiovascular risk factors, and find information on how to reduce them by improving their lifestyle. Through the platform, they can also interact with a specialised nurse for extra guidance and support. The other half of the participants use a simplified platform, with only basic information and no interactive features.  

The main goal of the HATICE trial is to understand whether participants can benefit from the use of the platform and the interaction with the nurse by reducing their risk of developing cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, and dementia. To this aim, HATICE focuses on increasing the awareness of participants on what constitutes a healthy lifestyle, while taking into account the specific needs of senior citizens.

In this study, the researchers compared and integrated the guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease available in the three participating countries. The results were used to develop a lifestyle counselling programme within the HATICE platform. The guidelines were generally uniform, especially in relation to what defines a healthy lifestyle. This allowed the development of a platform consistently applicable in the three local settings. However, advice specifically addressed to senior citizens was limited.

“The possibility of devising common preventive programmes throughout Europe and delivering them through the Internet means that we may be able to reach a larger portion of the population in a simpler and cost-effective way. This would improve our chances of better preventing cardiovascular disease and dementia”, says Dr Mariagnese Barbera from the University of Eastern Finland, the lead author of the study.

Professor Miia Kivipelto, senior investigator of the HATICE trial, adds:
“This study addresses the need to improve our knowledge of how to best support healthy ageing and prevention of cardiovascular disease and dementia in the senior population. The results of the HATICE trial will provide important information on how to better control cardiovascular risk factors in this age group, and plan large-scale preventive programmes.”

HATICE is a project co-funded by the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7, 2007-2013) under grant agreement No 305374.The study was carried out in collaboration between the University of Eastern Finland; the Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam; INSERM, University of Toulouse; and the Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge.

For further information, please, contact:  

Dr Mariagnese Barbera, mariagnese.barbera (a) uef.fi, tel. +358 40 6722065

Research article: 

Designing an internet-based multidomain intervention for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cognitive impairment in older adults: the HATICE trial. Barbera M, Mangialasche F, Jongstra S, Guillemont J, Ngandu T, Beishuizen C, Coley N, Brayne C, Andrieu S, Richard E, Soininen H, Kivipelto M. Published in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. doi 10.3233/JAD-170858

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The University of Eastern Finland, UEF, is one of the largest universities in Finland. The activities of the UEF underscore multidisciplinarity, and the university is especially strong in research related to forests and the environment, health and well-being, and new technologies and materials. The UEF offers teaching in more than 100 major subjects. In addition to the high standard of teaching, the university offers its students a modern study environment, which is under constant development. The university comprises four faculties: the Philosophical Faculty, the Faculty of Science and Forestry, the Faculty of Health Sciences, and the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies. The university’s campuses are located in the heart of beautiful eastern Finland in Joensuu, Kuopio and Savonlinna. The UEF is home to approximately 15 000 students and nearly 2 800 members of staff.

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