Can the epigenetic clock predict musculoskeletal disease?

Almost two-thirds of people aged 65 and over live with musculoskeletal disease, but current methods of predicting who is most at risk have limited use. Through his DMT-funded PhD, academic clinician Dr Nicholas Fuggle made an exciting discovery that could help to predict musculoskeletal ageing ahead of time.

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.

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.

Walking shoe standing on the ground

New steps to recovery for painful walking in older people

Supervised walking exercise is used to treat leg pain in older people caused by restricted blood flow. But it’s expensive for the NHS to provide and often difficult for patients to complete. Professor Lindsay Bearne and her team trained physiotherapists to provide patients with the knowledge, motivation and skills they needed to engage with walking exercise in their own time outside of a medical facility.

Close-up photo of walnuts on a dark background

Can ‘brain training’ pass the test? Exploring whether people with dementia can brain train at home

Brain training is a fun and simple intervention to keep minds active in older age. However, there are many unknowns. What benefits does it have on the brain? And can people living with dementia realistically brain train using technology they’re not necessarily familiar with? Dr Lucy Beishon wanted to find out whether people living with dementia can do brain training at home using a computer, and to see if it has potential to bring benefits.

Five sets of stone 'towers' balanced on log

Do fall-prevention exercise programmes benefit older people in the long term?

Specially-designed exercise programmes have been shown to help prevent older people from falling. However, we do not know how well these exercises benefit people in the longer-term. In her PhD studentship, Dr Susanne Finnegan followed up with people after a trial of a fall-prevention exercise programme to find out if they were still exercising, and what motivated them to keep going.

Two lines of footprints in sand

Understanding how people use walking frames in their daily lives

Many older people use walking aids to get around, but there are questions over their effectiveness. Using technology to measure the stability of walking frame users in different environments, Dr Sibylle Thies was able to understand more about the use of these aids in daily life, and develop new advice for safer usage.