RESEARCHERS PRESENTED NEW CONTRIBUTIONS ON THE AGING PROCESS
THE V PIEI-ES CONFERENCE AND THE GERIATRIC ODONTOLOGY SYMPOSIUM REVEALED THE CONSOLIDATION OF A CUTTING-EDGE RESEARCH WORK IN CHILE AND LATIN AMERICA.
September 29, 2017
Scientists from our University and from other institutions in Chile and abroad shared information related to the aging process, in the V International Conference of the Research Excellence in Healthy Aging Program (PIEI-IS) and the V International Symposium of Geriatric odontology, held at the School of Medicine.
On this occasion, the importance of maintaining a healthy diet, together with physical activity to reach adulthood with a good quality of life was reaffirmed. However, it was revealed that aging in Chile today is worse than 30 years ago.
The director of the PIEI-IS, Ivan Palomo, stated that the V Conference reflects the consolidation of this program, with a national and international presence and a development path that involves new projects and publications, patents and the continuation of a work with older adults and professionals who cater to this segment.
Academic Vice President Gilda Carrasco expressed that the above-mentioned program represents "the concern of the University for a problem in today's society that is manifested in a demographic change, linked to an aging population" and, at the same time, relates to an epidemiological change, which involves the increase for other type of diseases such as cardiovascular disease and degenerative diseases.
"Our University is providing new knowledge to face this reality, a knowledge of excellence that characterizes all of its work and in accordance with the goal of becoming a complex university," she said.
According to Professor Palomo, one of the most frequent health problems of older adults is thrombosis. "We are studying the platelets of older people, and we have noted that, although they are a little less numerous than in young people, are most active. There is oxidative damage in the body of the elderly and, therefore, platelets are also more oxidized and, as they are more active, they join more, which favors the development of thrombosis," he explained.
With respect to the contribution some foods can make to avoid that process, Ivan Palomo handed a generic message. "It is absolutely proven, since about 70 years, that people who eat a Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil, fruit, vegetables and a glass of wine a day, have less thrombosis than those who consume more fat. We are now studying the mechanisms that explain why this happens," he said.
But, in addition, he emphasized that this demonstrated that "those who do more physical activity and do not smoke - because tobacco contains oxidizing agents, in addition to eat healthily, are going to live longer and have a better quality of life."
Levels of Fat
One of the speakers, the academic from the University of Chile Francisco Pérez Bravo, a collaborator of the PIEI-IS, said that " aging in elderlies 30 years ago was much healthier than now", basically because of the food pattern. "People are feeding in a worst form, with higher levels of fat, which increases inflammation, oxidative stress, and that damages the organs: the pancreas, liver, gastrointestinal tissue. Therefore, there is a hormonal level deregulation that clearly has an impact on a good health of the elderly," he stressed.
Professor Pérez said that the most frequent pathologies resulting from this situation are type 2 diabetes, a higher cardiovascular risk, and sarcopenia, associated to the inactivity of the muscle.
Following the conference was the Symposium in Geriatric odontology, an area that has positioned itself as a reference not only in the country but at the Latin American level. Rodrigo Giacaman, director of the research group, said that "there is a very large deterioration in the oral health in the countries of Latin America and a similar situation in Chile."
He explained that there are a number of problems arising from impaired oral health that are trying to address in this line of research. In that context, he said that the main problem of older adults is the root level decay that occurs when you lose gum, and are also often periodontal diseases.
Giacaman spoke of two ways to face this reality. In the case of the elderly, it is promoting the use of minimally invasive therapies, self-administered, with pastes that have different components that allow to stop the progression of the lesions.
The other way is prevention in childhood, "to conserve the biological material, that is, what is their own, until late age", which implies a different vision of dentistry, under a concept of course of life.
Professor Giacaman stressed the Magister in Geriatric odontology, imparted by our University, is the first in Latin America, and he is convinced that, given the high demand of the population and the need for complex treatments, at the level of public policy, Geriatric odontology should be validated as a specialty.
The dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Carlos Padilla, expressed that the PIEI-IS has brought together researchers from different disciplines that are related to healthy aging, as a response to the large increase in the population of older adults, which "allows us to show our university as having large research capabilities in an high-demand area."
He added that "for the first time in our country innovative research begins, which seeks to improve the quality of life of this important part of our population" and indicated that the University is at the forefront in the field of Geriatric odontology.
Among the guest speakers in both activities was Andrés Trostchansky, from the University of the Republic (Uruguay); Paula Moyniham, from the Newcastle University (UK); César Hermida, from Central University of Ecuador, and Roger Keller, from Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre (Brazil).
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