The health econometrics unit has a multidisciplinary team that works together towards understanding the implications of individual and population aging on health to devise preventive early interventions and science-based policy recommendations in this domain.
Cognition & Aging
The expected increase in the prevalence of dementia in ageing populations is a major concern both from a public health and an economic point of view. Our team is leading the European implementation (SHARE-HCAP) of an ongoing international research collaboration (HCAP, the Harmonized Cognitive Assessment Protocol) to measure and understand which interactions of biomedical and socioeconomic conditions over the life course affect cognition in later life. Data collection is based on SHARE, the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe. We combine extensive cross-national information on socioeconomic status, health, early life conditions and family relations of Europe’s older adult population to better understand the mechanisms and trajectories of healthy cognitive aging using psychometrics and econometrics.
Objective health measures: Blood-based biomarkers
There are considerable differences between self-reported health and measured disease prevalence, potentially due to cross-national differences in the quality and definition of diagnoses, drug use and reporting styles. Our team has been leading the initiative in SHARE to collect dried blood spot (DBS) samples as an additional and objective measurement of health to complement the self-reported subjective and functional health indicators of SHARE respondents. Around 27,000 dried blood samples were collected in 12 countries and assayed in two laboratories, then validated by a large set of experiments. These efforts successfully produced reliable conversion equations for each marker to correct for the field/lab impacts and to translate the field-collected DBS values into venous-blood equivalent standard values for subsequent research into healthy aging.
- Cognitive ageing
- Mild cognitive impairment
- Prevalence of dementia
- Health econometrics
- Life-course approach to cognitive decline