ERA4Health: Opening of call for modulation of brain ageing

© CC-BY-NC-ND | Frank Spichiger

The SNSF is participating in the European Partnership ERA4Health call. The topic is modulation of brain ageing through nutrition and healthy lifestyle. Swiss-based researchers can apply.

Increased lifespan, in combination with environmental and lifestyle modifications, are important factors in the increased prevalence of cognitive disorders of different severity. The latter range from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to dementia (such as Alzheimer’s disease). To date, there is no proven disease-modifying treatment for cognitive impairment during ageing. The main focus therefore lies on prevention and early detection. Epidemiological studies suggest that obesity, inadequate nutrition, protein energy malnutrition (PEM), poor sleep and physical inactivity increase the risk of cognitive impairment. However, there is still limited evidence of how better nutrition and increased physical activity could slow down brain ageing and lower the risk of cognitive impairment.

The aim of the call is therefore to support transnational research projects that focus on the improvement of cognitive brain ageing through nutrition and other lifestyle factors. Research projects should gain further insights into the modulation of brain ageing by lifestyle factors. Researchers can also make test interventions based on the existing evidence in the literature or upscale existing pilot interventions that will help to lower the risk of cognitive impairment manifestations related to pathological brain ageing.

At least one of the following lifestyle factors should be investigated:

  • nutrition (particularly improvements in dietary patterns)
  • physical activity
  • sleep patterns (quantity, quality and timing)
  • social interaction and stress

Researchers should apply a perspective of prevention and public health. In addition, they should take into consideration large population groups such as age cohorts or relevant subgroups.

Supported by the SNSF

An international panel will scientifically evaluate the pre-proposals and full proposals. Each partner in a consortium is supported by a funding agency from their country or region. Swiss-based investigators applying for financial support from the SNSF to participate in a call must be eligible for the SNSF project funding scheme. Alongside the application to ERA4Health, they need to submit an administrative application to the SNSF by the same submission deadline. Investigators are strongly encouraged to contact the SNSF if they are submitting their first application. Further specifications for participation in the calls are outlined in the List of national/regional regulations published on the call website.

The submission deadline for pre-proposals is 15 January 2024