SICS, in collaboration with NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, has set up a Biology of Human Ageing Programme (Healthspan) to study human ageing in Singapore. The overall objective of the programme is to identify meaningful ways of improving health span in Singapore, through conducting observational studies and intervention studies involving lifestyle, nutritional and pharmaceutical interventions.
Restoring biological functions and preventing/reducing loss of autonomy and susceptibility to diseases are part of tackling the silver tsunami. Therefore, the programme will focus on age-associated deficits in physical frailty (e.g. sarcopenia, osteoporosis), cognitive frailty (e.g. cognitive decline, dementia), psychological frailty (e.g. depression), physiological frailty (e.g. immune, endocrine, cardiometabolic function), and even social/societal frailty (e.g. isolation). To identify meaningful ways to improve health span in Singapore, rigorous studies of lifestyle, nutritional and pharmaceutical interventions will run parallel to cohort studies.
Through the recruitment, phenotyping and biosampling of elderly cohorts, the SG90 Longevity Cohort Study launched in 2015 was an early effort under Healthspan to look at biological signatures of healthy ageing. At a later stage, there are plans to recruit the offspring of SG90 and age-match controls to study inherited factors, discover novel factors and validate biological patterns.