Healthy Aging

Through Internet Counselling

in the Elderly



Collaborative project co-funded by the European Unions' Seventh Framework Programme (FP7, 2007-2013) under grant agreement No 305374.

flag European Union   logo FP7 Cooperation

Statistics Netherlands, the Dutch national statistical office reported that internet-use among Dutch elderly people is on the rise. In 2006, internet was used by 42 percent of the 65 to 75-year olds and in 2012, this percentage had risen to 75. Last year, the over-75s were surveyed for the first time and 34 percent of this very old population occasionally uses internet. E-mailing, surfing the web for information and online banking are the most popular activities among older people. There is a gap between very old men and women, as twice as many over 75-year old men use internet compared to over 75-year old women.
Sourse: Ger Sleijpen, CBS Web magazine, 27 May 2013

In issue 3 of the Lancet Neurology a report by Tim Dehnel describes how The European Dementia Prevention Initiative (EDPI) that started in 2011 tries to overcome the encountered difficulties in dementia prevention trials. Within HATICE the first collaborative prevention trial after the launch of EDPI will take place. The lessons learned from current ongoing dementia prevention studies will be implemented.
go to: English version, Dutch version

Itä-Suomen yliopisto, 28.1.2013

Internet apuna dementian ja verisuonitautien ehkäisyssä

Neljän eurooppalaisen yliopiston EU-hanke selvittää, voidaanko iäkkäiden muistisairauksien ja sydän- ja verisuonisairauksien riskitekijöihin vaikuttaa hyödyntämällä informaatioteknologiaa. Hankkeessa kehitetään iäkkäille sopiva internet-foorumi, joka yhdessä hoitajan tuen kanssa edistää muistisairauksien ja verisuonitautien riskitekijöiden hallintaa.

EU rahoittaa viisivuotista Healthy Aging Through Internet Counseling in the Elderly- eli HATICE-hanketta 5,8 miljoonalla eurolla, josta Itä-Suomen yliopiston osuus on miljoona euroa.


Healthy Ageing with an online coach


It turns out older people can improve their lifestyle and adopt healthier behaviours with the support of an online coach. This way they can reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease and dementia. This is reported by an international group of researchers, led by Amsterdam University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, in The Lancet Digital Health today.

In the ‘Healthy Ageing Through Internet Counselling in the Elderly’ (HATICE) project, 2724 persons over 65 years with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and dementia participated. These participants were from The Netherlands, Finland and France. Half of the participants, the treatment group, was in contact with a coach via the Internet. On a specifically developed website, they could set goals to improve their health and monitor their own progress towards a healthier lifestyle. The focus for improvement was on blood pressure, physical inactivity, overweight, smoking and high cholesterol. The other half, the control group, received access to a website with general health information, without a coach.

After 18 months, 90% of the treatment group set one or more goals related to their lifestyle, with the support of their coach. The researchers investigated the effect on a composite measure for cardiovascular disease risk, including blood pressure, body mass index (BMI) and cholesterol. The research shows that the treatment group had a modest, but significant improvement compared to the control group. This effect was largest in those participants who were most active on the website: for each additional goal set, the score representing the risk of cardiovascular disease improved.

These results are promising, but the researchers stress that prevention requires a long-term effort. Lead investigator Dr. Edo Richard: ‘Although the magnitude of the effect is relatively small, with this type of approach it takes time and larger effects are more likely in people with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease or those with less access to health care, such as people in low- and middle-income countries, but also people with low social advantage in Europe’.

The research also shows, according to co-lead investigator Dr. Eric Moll van Charante, that modern technology in the form of self-management with an online coach can be a valuable addition to regular health care, also in older persons. ’The results invite testing this type of intervention on a larger scale to confirm whether the beneficial effects we see are sustainable over time and eventually lead to fewer heart attacks, strokes and dementia in the long term’.

go to: English version, Finnish version

Amsterdam, 29 januari 2013

Dementie en hartziekten voorkomen via de laptop

Sinds begin deze maand coördineert het AMC een Europees researchproject waarvoor de EU 5,8 miljoen euro subsidie heeft gegeven. Doel van het HATICE-project is de preventie van dementie en van hart- en vaatziekten bij ouderen. Met de subsidie wordt een nieuw laagdrempelig internetplatform voor ouderen ontwikkeld, gecombineerd met ondersteuning door verpleegkundigen.

Oudere mensen hebben vaak meerdere gezondheidsproblemen tegelijk ('multimorbiditeit'): van dementie tot suikerziekte en de naweeën van een beroerte. De belangrijkste risicofactoren voor die aandoeningen zijn bekend: weinig bewegen, overgewicht, roken, hoog cholesterol en een hoge bloeddruk. Gezond oud worden begint met het verminderen van deze risico's.