Life expectancy is increasing but the period spent in good health is not keeping pace. Furthermore, the inequalities in healthy life expectancy are greater when the level of socioeconomic deprivation is taken into account. People living in the most deprived areas can expect to live their last 18 years in ill health. A key biological factor underpinning the inequality in healthy ageing seen in socioeconomic disadvantaged populations are changes in cellular metabolism. Indeed, many chronic age-related conditions are associated with metabolic dysregulation.
Cellular metabolic dysfunction of the ageing cell is dictated by both intrinsic (genetic and pathway-driven) and extrinsic (environmental and epigenetic) mechanisms from an early age. As intrinsic and extrinsic factors never work in isolation, machine learning and artificial intelligence will be used to integrate both factors. Hence the purpose of this interdisciplinary network is to elucidate these mechanisms and the interaction between such factors. Only by understanding the changes in cellular metabolism throughout the life course can we identify ways of addressing this inequality.
Dr Sian Henson, Reader in Immunology at Queen Mary and Director of CELLO: “The aim of the network is to address the biological cause for healthy ageing inequality by forming an alliance with other areas in England that also have similar levels of socioeconomic deprivation, yet differing in ethnicity, including Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle and Leicester. By bringing in an interdisciplinary group of members we will be able to investigate the relationship between cellular metabolism and inequality.”
Dr Li Chan, Reader in Molecular Endocrinology and Metabolism at Queen Mary and Co-Director of CELLO: “Biological disadvantage can start early in life, even before birth which dictates future health and ageing. We can only understand this complex relationship by working together as an interdisciplinary alliance. In this way we hope to unravel some of the root causes and ways we can tackle these in the future.”