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Press release No. 150/2017, 2017-05-12 | zur deutschen Fassung | print version | Search

Keep your balance - even in old age

EU funds international project at the interface of neuroscience and geriatrics

Balance problems when standing and walking are ubiquitous in the older population, and can lead to a significant burden for the individual and society. To date, pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments have produced limited results highlighting an area of significant need for older adults. This need is the focus of the Innovative Training Network (ITN) "Keep Control", through funding provided by the European Commission of more than €3 million over the next four years, as a Marie Sk?odowska-Curie grant under the "Horizon 2020" research and innovation programme. Approximately half a million euros from this goes to Kiel University.

"Keep Control" is coordinated by Professor Walter Maetzler from the Faculty of Medicine at Kiel University, and deputy director of the Department of Neurology at the University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein (UKSH). The consortium consists of a total of 12 European locations encompassing neurological, geriatric, biomechanic and statistical research, as well as experts from industry. The objectives are a better understanding of balance and gait deficits in older adults, as well as the search for innovative treatment options.

“Balance disorders and gait problems can lead to life-threatening situations, not only for people with neurodegenerative diseases," says Maetzler. “These problems also often occur in otherwise active and vivacious older people. They lose their independence and mobility, which then also impacts their well-being and quality of life."

The scientists involved are applying new technical methods, to enhance diagnosis in the early stages of gait and balance deficits. They are also carrying out therapy studies with fall-prone older people. A special feature of the project is the collection of data with software that enables both a joint evaluation of the data at all locations, as well as allowing study participants to interpret and contribute their own data . "In addition to research, the second focus of the project is clearly the promotion of early stage researchers, which we are spending a large portion of our funding on," explained Maetzler. As such, 12 positions for doctoral candidates are currently being advertised.

More information about the project:

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In the Innovative Training Network (ITN) "Keep Control” scientists research gait and balance deficits.
Copyright: Neurogeriatrics Research Group, Kiel University

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Prof. Dr Walter Maetzler
The Department of Neurology
Tel.: +49 (0)431 500 -23981

Background information:
"Horizon 2020" is the current framework programme of the European Union for the promotion of research and innovation. With its multidisciplinary, mission-orientated approach, it encompasses the entire innovation cycle, and thus promotes cooperation and the exchange of ideas. The goal: enabling scientific discoveries, and further improving cooperation between science and business. With funding of approximately €70 billion, "Horizon 2020” is the world's largest integrated research and innovation programme. "Horizon 2020" covers both fundamental research as well as application-orientated research fields.
Marie Sk?odowska-Curie actions are a line of funding within "Horizon 2020", to encourage transnational and intersectoral mobility and career development of internationally-mobile scientists, and to increase the attractiveness of scientific careers.

Project title: Keep Control (Industrial Academic Initial Training Network towards specific diagnosis and treatment of age-related gait and balance deficits)
Start of funding: 1 March 2017
Duration of funding: 48 months
Budget: € 3.06 million
Coordination: Kiel University

Overview of the Keep Control project partners
University of Leuven

Kiel University
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München / LMU Munich
Hasomed Hard-und Software für Medizin GmbH, Magdeburg
Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen
FITT gGmbH, Saarbrücken
BioRegio STERN Management GmbH, Stuttgart
Grasshopper Films GbR, Tübingen

Centre Hospitalier Regional et Universitaire de Lille

The Netherlands
Stichting VU, Amsterdam
Motek Medical B.V., Amsterdam
Academisch Ziekenhuis Groningen (University Medical Center Groningen)

University of Porto

Gait Up SA, Lausanne

United Kingdom
University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Patients Know Best Ltd, London

The project is financed by the European Union’s research and innovation programme in terms of the Marie Sk?odowska-Curie grant agreement (under the funding code 721577).

Kiel University
Press, Communication and Marketing, Dr. Boris Pawlowski
Address: D-24098 Kiel, phone: +49 (0431) 880-2104, fax: +49 (0431) 880-1355
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Text / Redaktion: Dr. Ann-Kathrin Wenke