This joint laboratory of the Hospital Universitario de Getafe and the CTB-UPM was created in 2015 to take advantage of the synergies derived from the collaboration of clinical experts in ageing from the Hospital Universitario de Getafe, together with their worldwide community of collaborators, and technologists from the CTB-UPM into a multi-disciplinary research team. These synergies allow the validation of research activities in patients treated at their usual health care setting; thus, fostering translational research.


The consequences of ageing are a major challenge for modern societies. The WHO “World Report on Ageing and Health” (October 2015) states that assistance and care for the elderly must aim to maintaining functional autonomy rather than treating or curing a disease. The Ageing Lab focuses on one of the main health-related problems in the older people: disability; and its main risk factor: frailty. Disability has a strong impact on both people’s quality of life (individual impact) and healthcare and social systems sustainability (socio-economic impact).

Research lines

These objectives above are integrated in the following research lines that are stated in a separated way just for descriptive purposes. They are actually approached in an integrated way to better address the complexity of maintaining elderly’s quality of life and functional autonomy. This will result in a step forward for the current geriatric medicine service model into a real-life integrated caring service model based on continuous, coordinated, universal and personalized services supported by ICT.

Study of brain connectivity to understand the fundamentals of cognitive decline

Human cognitive abilities and brain-to-brain interfaces

The brain is likely the most convoluted and enigmatic object for comprehensive studies attracting the burning interest of the broad scientific community. The understanding of brain functionality requires a multidisciplinary approach involving different areas of science, engineering and technology. Traditional brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) imply the interaction between brains and machines with the aim to repair or increase human performance in solving different tasks or to help paralyzed people to interact with an environment. Unlike a BCI, a brain-to-brain interface (BBI) allows a direct information exchange between brains. The BBI development is one of the most progressing research directions at the intersection of physics, mathematics, informatics, psychology and neuroscience. The main trend in the BBI research is aimed at providing people with a new way for communication directly from one brain to another, to monitor and control mental states and increase working performance by using cognitive recourses of multiple brains.

Monitoring & stimulaltion for cognitive decline prevention​

This research line focuses, on the one hand, on unobtrusive monitoring of cognitive decline; and on the other hand on game-based stimulation for preventing the progression of cognitive diseases.

Cognitive decline evaluation and stimulation

This research line explores gamified test for cognitive evaluation and stimulation. One of the objectives is to find which strategies contribute to increase patient adherence to stimulation activities. Computerized games offer many advantages, such as simultaneously conducting both evaluation and stimulation activities and automatic data capture.

Cognitive decline monitoring

This research line explores a new organizational model based on enhancing the role of the case manager. Case managers lead the care process in an integrated fashion acting like a hub between patients and relevant caregivers and stakeholders. This new organizational model is supported by the use of digital environments where information between different stakeholders is shared for data visualization, decision support, and therapy adjustment.

Internet of things (IoT) for intrinsic capacity

Monitoring and assessment & frailty prevention​

This line of research focuses, on the one hand, on unobtrusive monitoring and follow-up of the intrinsic capacity of the elderly; and on the other hand, on exercising-based out-of-hospital interventions for preventing the onset of frailty, recurring falls, and disability on the elderly.

UX and usability in older population​

This one is a transverse research line offering support to every project in the laboratory. It involves the use of the User-Centered Design paradigm to provide all the technological outcomes in the laboratory with the usability, user experience, and accessibility features required by our target population: older people and their whole ecosystem of integrated care.

Principal investigator: Elena Villalba