Conductor leading an orchestra of older people.

Motivating stroke recovery through music making

After having a stroke, many people don’t feel like themselves because they’ve lost so much of what they used to be able to do. Lisa Rodio, from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, runs STOKESTRA®, a unique music-making group that combines music and rehabilitation in a way that makes stroke recovery fun, effective and confidence-boosting.

Why does an infection after stroke cause worse disability?

Recovering from a stroke is hard enough yet many patients go on to get an infection, sometimes months into their recovery. For some of these patients, this can lead to more disability. Dr Rebecca Trueman, at the University of Nottingham, led a pilot study to uncover new targets that could help to protect recovering stroke patients.

Sunset over the sea.

Hospital, hospice or home? How social deprivation affects end of life care

End of life care is a sensitive but hugely important subject. Many people say that they would like to die at home rather than in hospital. Yet living in a more deprived area means you’re significantly more likely to die in hospital, less likely to die in a hospice, and less likely to die at home. Joanna Davies is investigating why this happens, and how it might be changed to better fulfil people’s wishes.

Stimulating the vagus nerve to improve gait in Parkinson’s

Falls are a major cause of lost independence in people with Parkinson’s. Dr Alison Yarnall is trialling a new method to reduce fall risk and improve walking in people with Parkinson’s, which involves non-invasive stimulation of the vagus nerve.

Close-up photo of a wildflower meadow in bloom

The birds and the bees: Can enjoying nature promote health and wellbeing in older people?

There’s growing evidence that engaging with outdoor spaces promotes health and wellbeing across all ages. Yet as we get older, our changing abilities, motivations and means could prevent us from reaping the rewards of interacting with nature. Professor Birgitta Gatersleben and Dr Ciara O’Brien from the University of Surrey set out to co-design and test a nature-based conservation activity with residents at Whiteley Retirement Village, to see what works best for who, and to empower older people to enjoy the outdoors.

Getting older people back on their feet after unplanned hospital admissions

When older people have unplanned hospital admissions, they often experience muscle strength loss. This can have long-lasting effects when they return home, meaning they’re not able to do everyday tasks that they were previously able to do. Peter Hartley investigated loss of muscle strength in older people during hospital admissions, and whether doing exercise during their hospital stay could prevent it.

Targeting CD148 to ‘switch off’ age-related diseases

Dr James Whiteford and his team at Queen Mary University of London are investigating how to activate a molecular ‘off switch’ that could slow or even reverse age-related diseases such as macular degeneration and lung fibrosis.

7 shelves filled with books

Returning the pleasure of reading to people with dementia

Reading is one of life’s great pleasures, as well as being essential to many daily tasks. Sadly, difficulty reading is also one of the first symptoms of Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA), a rare form of dementia. Neuropsychologist Dr Aida Suárez-González has made it her mission to return this ability to people with PCA, in the process helping people with other neurological conditions too.

Large staircase in front of bay window

Looking in the right places to prevent stair falls in older adults

When and where someone looks, their level of confidence and visual cues in the environment around them all play a part in navigating stairs safely. Professor Mark Hollands and Dr Neil Thomas, from Liverpool John Moores University, used state-of-the-art sensor and motion capture technology to investigate how we might be able to make staircases safer for older people.

Jigsaw puzzle missing one piece before completion

Finding the missing piece of the puzzle in age-related muscle loss

Despite affecting most people over the age of 50, we don’t really know why age-related muscle loss happens. Dr Katarzyna Goljanek-Whysall, now Senior Lecturer at the National University of Ireland, Galway but who led the work when at the University of Liverpool, thinks that oxidised microRNAs could be an important clue to unlocking better treatments for declining muscle function as we get older.

Collection of blue and purple cells

Understanding the science behind Sjögren’s Syndrome

Sjögren’s syndrome is a disease where the immune system attacks healthy cells in the glands, leading to dry eyes and mouth but can affect other parts of the body such as joints, lungs, skin and nervous system. Although we can ease the symptoms, we don’t have any good treatments. Dr Elizabeth Jury, Dr Coziana Ciurtin and Lucia Martin-Gutierrez, with their team at UCL, looked at the blood of patients and found their immune systems behaved in two different ways. Identifying these two groups will help us treat this uncomfortable disease.