10. Lifestyles and Ageing: Targeting Key Mechanisms to Shift the Balance from Unhealthy to Healthy Ageing

Claudio GRASSI a, Francesco LANDI b, Giovanni DELOGU c

a Institute of Human Physiology

b Department of Geriatrics, Neurosciences and Orthopaedics

c Institute of Microbiology,

Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Medical School, Rome, Italy

Abstract. The increase in life expectancy has dramatically enhanced the prevalence of age-related chronic diseases resulting in growing costs for both society and individuals. Identification of strategies contributing to healthy ageing is thus one of the major challenges of the coming years. Lifestyle has a primary role among non-genetic factors affecting health and lifespan. In particular, nutrition, mental and physical activity impact the molecular and functional mechanisms whose alterations cause the major age-related diseases. A better understanding of mechanisms underlying the beneficial action of correct lifestyles is useful to develop interventions aimed at preventing and/or delaying the onset of chronic degenerative diseases, to identify high-risk populations who could be targeted in intervention trials as well as to identify novel biomarkers of healthy ageing. A multidisciplinary team of basic scientists and clinicians operating at the Catholic University Medical School in Rome is actively working on this topic to determine the ability of healthy lifestyles to promote active ageing and counteract the major age-related diseases affecting brain health, musculoskeletal function and gut microenvironment. This chapter summarizes our strategic approaches, the major results we obtained so far and the main experimental and translational perspectives.

Keywords. Sarcopenia, Cognitive Decline, Dysbiosis, Insulin Resistance, Inflammageing