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News Release

Promoting Healthy Ageing get s €1 million boost from European Commission

28 November 2012 Trinity College Dublin

The European Commission has awarded €1 million to fund a campaign promoting health ageing ‘Sharing Age’ coordinated by Dr Sabina Brennan of the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience. ‘Sharing Age’ is a multi-platform communications campaign dedicated to raising awareness of the innovative solutions that have emerged from European health-related scientific research in response to the challenge of cognitive ageing and dementia. The campaign will use film, social-media and smartphone apps in a number of languages to inform and engage the general public and encourage them to play a more active role in their health as they get older.

“Cognitive ageing is a global challenge that has real relevance for everyone. European citizens deserve to be aware of and benefit from the research that is being conducted on their behalf,” said Dr Brennan of NEIL (NeuroEnhancement for Independent Lives) and Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience (TCIN).

“ The average lifespan is increasing but failing cognitive abilities often impair the quality of those extra years. This decline is a profound threat to active and healthy ageing. The EU has been funding superb health research in this area, but the general public, who stand to benefit most, are frequently unaware of this. We want to share important and relevant scientific information about ageing in an interactive way that will encourage individuals to log on, click and share,” explained Dr Brennan.

Over the next two years, the consortium led by principal investigator, Dr Brennan, will deliver the comprehensive communications campaign. The consortium includes Red Dog, the award-winning Irish communications agency, 360Production, an award-winning factual-film maker maker, Big Motive a digital design and communications company which specialise in interactive design for social web and multiplatform production and AGE Platform Europe, a European network of 160 organisations of people aged over 50 years representing about 28 million people across the European Union.
“At NEIL we have a vision to delay dementia. This project speaks to this vision because it provides a vehicle through which we can engage with the public and attain our aim to engage at-risk populations and future generations in an educational-preventative context,” said Dr Brennan.

Population ageing is forecast to attain unprecedented levels in 31 European countries over the next 50 years. Age-related cognitive decline is associated with increased risk of dementia, increased neuropsychiatric symptoms and increased healthcare costs. The current cost of dementia services is estimated at €1.69 billion in Ireland and €160 billion in Europe, where there are 7 million people living with dementia. Dementia care in the UK currently costs more than heart disease, stroke and cancer care combined. Delaying dementia by 5 years would save 50% of dementia health care costs.
No stranger to broadcasting, Dr Brennan once played Tess Halpin in RTE’s Fair City and also has some experience as an independent producer: “From a personal perspective I am excited about the project because it allows me to do something meaningful while marrying my current career as a research psychologist with my former career in film and television,” she said.

The funding was awarded from the European Commission, under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
The project acronym, ASAPS, (A Sharing Approach to Promoting Science), refers to the process by which the project will attain its main goal, which is to deliver the communications campaign, Sharing Age, that will contribute to the realisation of active and healthy ageing.