Study evaluating telomeres finds aging- and health-related biomarkers in low-income country to be similar to those found in high-income countries

HAALSI letters with images from project

Scientists affiliated with Health and Aging in Africa: A Longitudinal Study in South Africa (HAALSI) have found that telomere length is associated with health and aging biomarkers (e.g., age, mortality, blood pressure) in much the same way that they are associated with these biomarkers in more frequently studied high-income countries.

Decade-long research project that explores aging in South Africa receives NIH/NIA funding for new waves & national expansion, with special focus on cognitive health

HAALSI letters with images from project

Researchers from The Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies (HCPDS), the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the University of the Witwatersrand, and the University of Cape Town have been awarded 27 million dollars from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) to further the collaborative program project Health and Aging in Africa: A Longitudinal Study in South Africa (HAALSI). This is the largest grant to be administered through…

Diagnosing dementia in rural South Africa using online consensus; cash transfers at earlier age in South Africa to support cognitive health later on; paving the way with promise for genomic studies on cognition in Africa

HAALSI men and women

Three studies by HAALSI researchers based on a rapidly aging population in rural South Africa are contributing to the much-needed scientific literature on global cognitive aging. A study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring found that a multidisciplinary, web-based consensus conference approach for diagnosing cognitive impairment and dementia in rural South Africa was feasible, and identified the key factors responsible for diagnostic variability among raters. In…

HAALSI study finds improvement in hypertension control in aging South African population

HAALSI men and women

Researchers affiliated with the Health and Aging in Africa: A Longitudinal Study of an INDEPTH Community in South Africa (HAALSI) project have published a study on an aging population in rural South Africa in which more than half suffer from hypertension. Findings reveal that there have been improvements in addressing the condition in every phase of the treatment “cascade” (i.e., awareness, treatment and control).

HAALSI study evaluates less expensive and easier to implement method to assess salt consumption at the population level in rural South Africa

HAALSI men and women

South Africa has introduced regulations to reduce sodium in processed foods. Researchers affiliated with the HAALSI study have found that spot urine samples, a less expensive (and less complicated) method of assessing salt consumption, are a viable alternative to the standard 24-h urine collection method for evaluating the population median 24hrUNa excretion. The findings, published in the Journal of Hypertension, “could play an important role for governments and public health…

Antiretroviral therapy (and resulting increased viral suppression) linked to longer AND healthier lives for older adults in South Africa

HAALSI men and women

Researchers affiliated with the HAALSI study, including former Harvard Bell Fellows Collin Payne, PhD, and Lindsay Kobayashi, PhD, and faculty member Jennifer Manne-Goehler, PhD, are among the authors of a study published in The Lancet HIV that links increased viral suppression at the population level with not only increased life expectancy, but also with less disability, pointing to the value of ART to foster healthy aging. Learn more in this…

A closer look at the impact of social networks on well-being among an aging South African population

Two South African women wearing colorful clothes

A recent study based on data from the project “Health and Aging in Africa: a Longitudinal Study of an INDEPTH Community in South Africa” (HAALSI) suggests that social capital theory (the concept that the higher socioeconomic status of your contacts can have positive health impacts as they are a type of interpersonal resource) applies not only in higher-income settings, but in a more resource-limited, rural setting in South Africa as…

Study of aging population in South Africa finds that HIV viral suppression through ART is leveling the field of healthy longevity

HAALSI men and women

Findings by HAALSI researchers published in The Lancet Healthy Longevity, a special issue of conference abstracts, point to similar levels of increased lifespan and “healthspan” among those HIV-positive individuals who achieved viral suppression through ART as observed among HIV-negative individuals.

What affects the mental health of a population that is now growing older in sub-Saharan Africa?

HAALSI men and women

Harvard Pop Center Director of Research & Research Scientist Elyse Jennings, recent Harvard Bell Fellow Leslie Adams, and senior data scientist at the University of Cape Town Chido Chinogurei¬†have co-authored a study published in Social Science & Medicine – Mental Health (SSM-MH) that found that experiencing a marital dissolution was associated with more depressive symptoms than remaining married for both men and women, and men (but not women) reported greater…

Men (not women) found to receive more social support after losing spouse and when suffering from physical health issue in rural South Africa

Older man in South Africa sitting in a field

A study authored by Harvard Pop Center Research Scientist Elyse Jennings, PhD, and her colleagues Margaret Ralston and Enid Schatz, reveals the levels of social support experienced by older adults in rural South Africa after losing a spouse, and/or experiencing a physical limitation or chronic health issue.