Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Professor Lynne Cox of the Department of Biochemistry will co-lead a new national research network focused on transforming the health of older people and boosting the economy.

Pipette and test tubes

The BLAST (Building Links in Ageing Science and Translation) network brings together researchers from across the country to increase our understanding of how the ageing process causes illness and impairment in later life. It will inform the nationwide research agenda for the development of new tools and interventions to help people stay healthy as they grow old and treat conditions for which little can be done today.

Potential new developments include treatments aimed at removing or modifying senescent cells, which are known to drive ageing pathology. Identifying markers of ageing biology that can detect changes before the onset of illness, and that can be used to monitor the effectiveness of early treatments, is also a priority. The network will also look at regenerative approaches to improving health.

Breakthroughs such as these would greatly increase older people’s quality of life in the UK and have a significant impact on national productivity and wealth. Research in the USA, for example, found that adding just one year to healthy life expectancy would add trillions of dollars to the US economy. Similar savings are possible for the UK, with the new research placing the UK at the forefront of a burgeoning new biotech industry.

Read the full story on the University of Oxford website

Similar stories

New evidence for how our brains handle surprise

A new study from the Bruno Group is challenging our perceptions of how the different regions of the cerebral cortex function. A group of ‘quiet’ cells in the somatosensory cortex that rarely respond to touch have been found to react mainly to surprising circumstances. The results suggest their function is not necessarily driven by touch, but may indicate an important and previously unidentified role across all the major cortices.

Language learning difficulties in children linked to brain differences

A new study using MRI has revealed structural brain changes in children with developmental language disorder (DLD), a common but under-recognised difficulty in language learning. Children with DLD aged 10-15 showed reduced levels of myelin in areas of the brain associated with speaking and listening to others, and areas involved in learning new skills. This finding is a significant advance in our understanding of DLD and these brain differences may explain the poorer language outcomes in this group.

The Gene Therapists Headline at Glastonbury 2022

Rosie Munday writes about her experience taking science to the masses at the Glastonbury Festival.

New research reveals relationship between particular brain circuits and different aspects of mental wellbeing

Researchers at the University of Oxford have uncovered previously unknown details about how changes in the brain contribute to changes in wellbeing.

Night-time blood pressure assessment is found to be important in diagnosing hypertension

Around 15% of people aged 40-75 may have a form of undiagnosed high blood pressure (hypertension) that occurs only at night-time. Because they do not know about this, and therefore are not being treated for it, they are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease such as stroke, heart failure, and even death, suggests new research from the University of Oxford published in the British Journal of General Practice.