IHU HealthAge

April 09, 2024 Research

Hospital-University Institute Health Age officially launched

HealthAge is the only IHU in France exclusively dedicated to aging. It was founded by Inserm, Toulouse University Hospital, and the University of Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier. TSE economists will take part to this ambitious project, building notably on past work in the context of the ICOPE project.

The roots of HealthAge IHU trace back to 2007, when Toulouse became home to France's first Gerontopole, led by Prof. Bruno Vellas, head of the Department of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at Toulouse University Hospital. Recognized as a WHO Collaborating Centre in 2017, the Toulouse Gerontopole spearheaded the implementation of the ICOPE program. This initiative aimed to monitor essential functions in older individuals and identify frailty and loss of autonomy.

In 2023, the HealthAge consortium, was labelled as a Hospital-University Institute (IHU). As the sole IHU exclusively dedicated to aging in France, its aim is to establish a research hub on aging with multidisciplinary teams.

Today, gerontologist doctors observe that despite many degenerative diseases, one can age healthily. There are many factors to create optimal conditions for healthy aging: prevention, nutrition, physical activities, and better care (timely support, in the right form with the right treatments and appropriate structures, etc.).

Drawing from this observation, the IHU HealthAge project is built upon three primary pillars:

  • Shifting from late diagnosis of age-related diseases to prevention, aimed at preserving functions and preventing dependency.
  • Transitioning from increased life expectancy, which averages at 85.8 years for women and 80.3 years for men in France, to the concept of healthy aging, focused on maintaining one's abilities and autonomy.
  • Moving from chronological age to biological age: Through research, the goal is to enhance the biological measurement of aging, gain a deeper understanding of age-related function loss and pathologies, and promote healthy aging by developing therapeutics to mitigate aging-related conditions.

Research in economics to complement the ambitious program of the HealthAge IHU

Jean-Marie Lozachmeur, along with fellow TSE researcher Helmuth Cremer, has been engaged in the local ICOPE (Integrated Care for Older People) program since 2022. In this context, he has conducted research on the involvement of postal workers in targeting individuals at risk of elderly dependency as part of a comprehensive prevention initiative.

Catarina Goulão and Jean-Marie Lozachmeur are currently in the initial stages of their research project, developed in collaboration with the research teams of the HealthAge IHU. "Using theoretical analysis and empirical experimentation, we aim to assess the relevance of criteria for segmenting populations and evaluate the financing of prevention, along with its societal and healthcare system impacts in France," said Catarina Goulão. "The outcomes of this research project could help inform public policymakers faced with the enormous challenge of aging. Our project complements the work conducted by our colleagues from other disciplines within the framework of the IHU" explained Jean-Marie Lozachmeur.

Joël Echevarria, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Governance at TSE, was present for the launch event of the IHU HealthAge on April 2 in Toulouse. "The ambition of the HealthAge IHU project is comparable to that which prevailed when TSE was created: to put scientific excellence at the service of the greatest number of people, to bring researchers and citizens closer together, and to contribute to a better world," he said. "TSE has long been interested in the economic challenges of healthcare, such as the impact of aging, healthcare innovation models, and the pharmaceutical industry. Therefore, it was logical that a scientific and institutional dialogue should be established between our entities."


Source and for more information: read the press release (in French)


News published in TSE Reflect April 2024 | Photo: Unsplash