Professor Diana Kuh introduces the HALCyon Research Programme.
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HALCyon brings together an interdisciplinary group of scientists working on nine UK cohort studies to understand three aspects of healthy ageing:
- Physical and cognitive capability (the capacity to undertake the physical and mental tasks of everyday living);
- Psychological and social wellbeing (how people feel and how they function in terms of relationships and social activities);
- Underlying biology of ageing. This includes cortisol (one of the body's stress hormones), telomere length (the cell's natural clock that tells the body how old it is) and genetic factors.
The Halcyon is a fabled bird identified with the kingfisher. The Halcyon calmed the wind and the waves during the winter solstice while it nested on the sea. ‘Halcyon days’ refer to a period of peace & prosperity.
The HALCyon collaborative research programme was originally funded by the New Dynamics of Ageing (NDA) programme, a joint initiative of five UK Research Councils. The remit of the NDA is to improve the quality of life of older people.
NDA funding for the initial HALCyon programme covered the period 2008 to 2013. In 2013, HALCyon researchers joined forces with researchers on the Integrative Analysis of Longitudinal Studies of Aging (IALSA) network and secured further funding from the US National Institutes of Health.
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