Research Team to Examine Effect of Late Life Learning on Cognition and Aging

January 18, 2023

The National Health Institute (NIH) has awarded Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and The American University of Beirut (AUB) Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine a five-year grant for the Late Life Learning (LLL), Cognition and Aging (3LC) study. Led by an interdisciplinary team at both institutions, 3LC is an innovative research project that aims to uncover the potential role of promoting healthier aging and delaying cognitive decline among older adults in Lebanon. 

“The study, which will initially run over the next five years, aims to build research and infrastructure capacities to delineate opportunities for dementia prevention in Lebanon and the region,” stated Dr. Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri, Multiple Principal Investigator at Columbia Mailman School and assistant professor in Columbia’s Department of Epidemiology and the Columbia Butler Aging Center. “The study offers a unique platform to address exciting, innovative, and timely research questions. The ultimate aim is to improve our understanding of the determinants of active and healthy aging, and inform future investments and the design of LLL programs, providing insights for other populations in similarly low-resource settings worldwide.”

“Lebanon has the largest proportion of older adults in the Arab region, and Lebanese older adults are exposed to a host of life course psychosocial adversities, including the recent economic meltdown, which makes it a particularly important and relevant setting to undertake such a study,” according to Martine Elbejjani, Multiple-PI from the Faculty of Medicine at AUB.

“At the same time, older people of today are generally healthier and living longer than their parents and many aspire to remain active in their old age”, says Abla Mehio Sibai, co-founding director of the University for Seniors (UfS) program at AUB and Multiple-PI on the 3LC study. Opportunities that provide enriching intellectual and social experiences are rare in the region. “This project will capitalize on the unique and well-established LLL program, the AUB UfS, to conduct a formal program evaluation and evaluate the influence of informal education in older age on cognitive, physical, and social health”.

Additional Columbia Investigators involved with the project include Drs. Jennifer Manly from Neurology, Sebastian Calonico from Health Policy and Management, and Linda Valeri from Biostatistics.