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CCBAR Newsletter – April, 2011

Editors:  Natalia Gavrilova and Stacy Tessler Lindau

CCBAR Questions and Answers this Month:

Q: The Q & A section in the September 2010 Newsletter includes the exchange about using human hair to assess cortisol levels. Can you suggest a laboratory that has the capacity to conduct this assay?

A: The authors of the most recent study on the topic (Pereg et al., 2010) provide very detailed description of hair sample preparation for immunoassay using a salivary cortisol assay kit (Gow et al., 2010).  Please see the below references to papers describing the protocol for hair analysis. Also below, we provide a link to a paper from Salimetrics on the reliability of this method.

In Canada the test kits for determining cortisol in hair are provided by Accu-Metrics:

We are not aware of a specific US lab offering hair-based cortisol assays. However, some forensic laboratories offer a variety of hair-based analyses.


1. Gow, R., Thomson, S., Rieder, M., Van Uumb, S., Koren, G. An assessment of cortisol analysis in hair and its clinical applications. Forensic Science International 196 (2010) 32-37
2. Pereg, D., Gow R., Mosseri, M., Lishner, M., Rieder, M., Van Uum, S., & Koren, G. Hair cortisol and the risk for acute myocardial infarction in adult men. Stress, 2010; Early Online: 1-9
3. Salimetrics. Measurement of Cortisol in Hair: Some Recent Investigations. Available at:

News from the NEJM, Nature Journals, Science, BMJ, PNAS and JAMA

An amino acid profile to predict diabetes?
By the time diabetes is diagnosed, irreversible pathology is typically present, challenging therapeutic intervention. A reliable test for predicting diabetes risk could allow earlier implementation of intervention measures. Increased blood concentrations of amino acids are now suggested to predict r...
Neuroscience: No sleep, better mood
Sleep-deprived people are known to have stronger reactions to negative experiences, but some patients with depression seem to perk up with lack of sleep. To resolve this paradox, Matthew Walker at the University of California, Berkeley, and his team used functional magnetic resonance imaging to
Neuroscience: Sleep deprivation: a risky business
What do stock traders, doctors and soldiers have in common? Each often needs to make important decisions on little sleep. Michael Chee of the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore and his colleagues used brain imaging to study how sleep deprivation affects decision-making. They scanned
My, What Long Telomeres You Have
Researchers will soon be off ering a simple test that aims to tell patients how quickly they are aging
Next-generation association studies for complex traits
A new study successfully applies complementary whole-genome sequencing and imputation approaches to establish robust disease associations in an isolated population. This strategy is poised to help elucidate the role of variants at the low end of the allele frequency spectrum in the genetic architect...
Valuation of biomarkers
Over the past decade, there has been a widespread adoption of biomarkers into drug development programmes by the pharmaceutical industry. However, the number of biomarkers recognized by regulatory authorities as acceptable surrogate end points in pivotal trials has remained very small. Nevertheless,...
Immunology: Saturated fats up inflammation
A diet high in saturated fats raises the risk of type 2 diabetes - perhaps owing to the activity of an inflammatory protein complex called the inflammasome.Jenny Ting and her team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that a saturated
Recapitulation of premature ageing with iPSCs from Hutchinson-Gilford progeri...
Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) is a rare and fatal human premature ageing disease, characterized by premature arteriosclerosis and degeneration of vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs). HGPS is caused by a single point mutation in the lamin A (LMNA) gene, resulting in the generation of pr...
Amyloid-binding compounds maintain protein homeostasis during ageing and exte...
Genetic studies indicate that protein homeostasis is a major contributor to metazoan longevity. Collapse of protein homeostasis results in protein misfolding cascades and the accumulation of insoluble protein fibrils and aggregates, such as amyloids. A group of small molecules, traditionally used in...
Gut flora metabolism of phosphatidylcholine promotes cardiovascular disease
This paper shows that gut flora can influence cardiovascular disease, by metabolizing a dietary phospholipid. Using a metabolomics approach it is found that plasma levels of three metabolites of dietary phosphatidylcholine - choline, betaine and TMAO - are associated with increased risk of cardiovascula...
Targeting levels and functions of blood lipids in the prevention of CVD
Dyslipidemia is a major cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD), and high total cholesterol levels account for one-third of deaths associated with ischemic heart disease (WHO. Global health risks: mortality and burden of disease attributable to selected major risks. WHO Press, Geneva, 2009). Accumulat...
Risk factors: Little need to incorporate obesity measures in calculations of ...
A new study published in the Lancet has demonstrated that the commonly used obesity measures BMI, waist circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio provide no important additional predictive value to calculations of cardiovascular disease risk that already incorporate information about a patient's blood p...
Oxytocin and intergroup relations: Goodwill is not a fixed pie [Letters (Onli...
De Dreu et al. (1) presented a set of experiments exploring the effects of the neuropeptide oxytocin on implicit associations and moral reasoning about in-group and out-group members. Although their experiments were cleverly designed, their data did not clearly support their interpretation that oxyt...
Resolving variation in the reproductive tradeoff between sperm size and numbe...
Spermatozoa are amongst the most variable cells, and three factors are thought to account for this variation in design: fertilization mode, phylogeny, and postcopulatory sexual selection. In addition, it has long been assumed that a tradeoff exists between sperm size and number, and although postcop...
Fidelity of neural reactivation reveals competition between memories [Psychol...
Remembering an event from the past is often complicated by the fact that our memories are cluttered with similar events. Though competition is a fundamental part of remembering, there is little evidence of how mnemonic competition is neurally represented. Here, we assessed whether competition betwee...
Potential social interactions are important to social attention [Psychologica...
Social attention, or how spatial attention is allocated to biologically relevant stimuli, has typically been studied using simplistic paradigms that do not provide any opportunity for social interaction. To study social attention in a complex setting that affords social interaction, we measured part...
Adolescent BMI Trajectory and Risk of Diabetes versus Coronary Disease
Supplementing Creatinine-Based Estimates of Risk in Chronic Kidney Disease: I...
Detection of Chronic Kidney Disease With Creatinine, Cystatin C, and Urine Al...
A triple-marker approach for chronic kidney disease (CKD) evaluation has not been well studied.
The objective of this study is to evaluate whether combining creatinine, cystatin C, and urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (ACR) would improve identification of risks associated with CKD compared with creatinine alone...
Adaptive human behavior in epidemiological models [Economic Sciences]
The science and management of infectious disease are entering a new stage. Increasingly public policy to manage epidemics focuses on motivating people, through social distancing policies, to alter their behavior to reduce contacts and reduce public disease risk. Person-to-person contacts drive human...
Maternal investment, life histories, and the costs of brain growth in mammals...
Brain size variation in mammals correlates with life histories: larger-brained species have longer gestations, mature later, and have increased lifespans. These patterns have been explained in terms of developmental costs (larger brains take longer to grow) and cognitive benefits (large brains enhan...
Social rejection shares somatosensory representations with physical pain [Psy...
How similar are the experiences of social rejection and physical pain? Extant research suggests that a network of brain regions that support the affective but not the sensory components of physical pain underlie both experiences. Here we demonstrate that when rejection is powerfully elicited by havi...
Learning new color names produces rapid increase in gray matter in the intact...
The human brain has been shown to exhibit changes in the volume and density of gray matter as a result of training over periods of several weeks or longer. We show that these changes can be induced much faster by using a training method that is claimed to simulate the rapid learning of word meanings...

Biomarkers and Aging in the News Media

Marine organisms with eternal life can solve the riddle of aging
Animals that reproduce asexually by somatic cloning have special mechanisms that delay aging provide exceptionally good health. Scientists in Sweden have shown how colony-forming ascidians (or sea squirts) can activate the enzyme telomerase, which protects DNA. This enzyme is more active also in humans who attain an advanced age.
Alzheimer's linked to more genes
More genes which increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease have been identified, scientists say.
The New Old Age: Alzheimer's, Redefined
On Tuesday, the National Institute on Aging is releasing new medical guidelines radically recasting what it means to have Alzheimer's disease.
Vital Signs: Disparities: Illness More Prevalent Among Older Gay Adults
Older lesbian, gay and bisexual adults in California are more likely to suffer from chronic physical and mental health problems than their heterosexual counterparts, an analysis finds.
Why multitasking gets harder as we get older
Scientists have discovered why it becomes harder and harder to multitask as we age. Just as our bodies become stiffer, our brains become less maneuverable as we get older, a new study shows.
Elderly Sleep Problems May Be Tied to Hormones
Elderly people's reputation as early birds may have a biological and potentially treatable cause.
Aging study: Failure to spot lies, sarcasm linked to dementia
Dementia affects regions of brain responsible for detecting insincerity, researchers say
How the bilingual brain copes with aging: As brain power decreases, older adu...
Older bilingual adults compensate for age-related declines in brainpower by developing new strategies to process language, according to a recent study.
Higher levels of social activity decrease the risk of cognitive decline
If you want to keep your brain healthy, it turns out that visiting friends, attending parties, and even going to church might be just as good for you as crossword puzzles. According to new research, frequent social activity may help to prevent or delay cognitive decline in old age.
Chimp, bonobo study sheds light on the social brain
Why our two closest living primate relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos, have widely different social traits, despite belonging to the same genus, has long been a puzzle. Now, a comparative analysis of their brains shows neuroanatomical differences that may be responsible for these behaviors, from the aggression more typical of chimpanzees to the social tolerance of bonobos.
Survey Finds High Stress Among American Workers
April is Stress Awareness Month, and Researchers working for Everest College set out to quantify our stress level.
Long shifts 'raise risk to heart'
Working over 11 hours a day rather than the usual 9-to-5 raises your risk of heart disease by more than half, say experts.

Books on Science: Eighty Years Along, a Longevity Study Still Has Ground to C...
Researchers find conscientiousness might be the key to a long life.
Aspirin may lower pancreatic cancer risk: study
American Association of Cancer Research finds people who took one aspirin a month lowered risk by 26 percent
Breast milk may hint at cancer risk, study shows
A woman's breast milk may provide clues to her risk for developing breast cancer, a new study suggests.
Study: Ovary Removal Doesn't Raise Heart Risk
A new analysis of data from a major women's health study finds little evidence that ovary removal during hysterectomy increases heart disease risk.
Mother's diet alters baby's DNA
A mother's diet can alter the DNA of her child and increase the risk of obesity, according to researchers in Southampton.
Cry-baby 'link to behaviour'
Babies who cry excessively and have problems feeding and sleeping are at greater risk of developing serious behavioural problems later in life, say scientists.
Well: Less Sex for the Young
A new report on sexual behavior in America has a surprising finding: teenagers and young adults are having less sex.
What makes a face appealing to the opposite sex?
While it may be true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, a new computer model helps reveal what's behind peoples' ideas of facial att ...
Genomic signature in post-menopausal women may explain why pregnancy reduces ...
Women who have children, particularly early in life, have a lower lifetime risk of breast cancer compared with women who do not. Now, researchers have identified a gene expression pattern in breast tissue that differs between post-menopausal women who had children and post-menopausal women who did not. The results will help scientists understand why pregnancy reduces breast cancer risk.
New Doubts on Value of Prostate Cancer Screening
A study from Sweden raises new questions about the value of screening average-risk men for prostate cancer.
Screening Prostates at Any Age
Older men are getting screened for prostate cancer at a higher rate, though many experts discourage screening for men whose life expectancy is 10 years or less.
Omega 3: What is good for the heart may not be good for the prostate, study s...
The largest study to examine the association of dietary fats and prostate cancer risk has found what's good for the heart may not be good for the prostate. A U.S. nationwide study involving more than 3,400 men found those with the highest blood percentages of DHA, an inflammation-lowering omega-3 fatty acid commonly found in fatty fish, have more than twice the risk of developing aggressive, high-grade prostate cancer compared to men with the lowest DHA levels.
Scientists explore new link between genetics, alcoholism and the brain
Researchers have uncovered a new link between genetic variations associated with alcoholism, impulsive behavior and a region of the brain involved in craving and anxiety.
Type 2 diabetes surges in people younger than 20
U.S. cases in those under 20 have grown from almost zero to tens of thousands in just over a decade.
Kids' wrist size tied to heart health
A study in this week's Circulation found that overweight children with larger wrist bone measurements had higher insulin resistance, a risk factor ...
Vitamin D cuts heart risk in African-Americans
New study shows supplements of "sunshine vitamin" lower heart risk by improving blood vessel function
High levels of vitamin D appear to lower risk of age-related macular degenera...
High levels of vitamin D in the bloodstream appear to be associated with a decreased risk of developing early age-related macular degeneration among women younger than 75 years, according to a new study.
Dietary, lifestyle changes can significantly reduce triglycerides
Diet and lifestyle changes that include substituting healthy fats for unhealthy saturated and trans fats, engaging in regular physical activity and losing excess weight can reduce triglycerides -- a blood fat -- by 20 percent to 50 percent. New clinical recommendations include reducing the optimal triglyceride level from
Common virus plus low sunlight exposure may increase risk of multiple sclerosis
New research suggests that people who are exposed to low levels of sunlight coupled with a history of having a common virus known as mononucleosis may be at greater odds of developing multiple sclerosis than those without the virus.

NIH Press Releases

NIH launches Web resource on complementary and alternative medicine
A new online resource, designed to give health care providers easy access to evidence-based information on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), was unveiled today by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) of the National Institutes of Health.
NIH-supported survey to study functional change in older adults
Thousands of Medicare beneficiaries will receive an invitation in May to be part of a special study looking at the impact of age-related changes on functional ability. The National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) will be seeking some 9,000 people aged 65 and older to participate in this long-term study, funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health. NHATS is led by Judith Kasper, Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore.
Alzheimer's diagnostic guidelines updated for first time in decades
For the first time in 27 years, clinical diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer's disease dementia have been revised, and research guidelines for earlier stages of the disease have been characterized to reflect a deeper understanding of the disorder. The National Institute on Aging/Alzheimer's Association Diagnostic Guidelines for Alzheimer's Disease outline some new approaches for clinicians and provides scientists with more advanced guidelines for moving forward with research on diagnosis and treatments. They mark a major change in how experts think about and study Alzheimer's disease. Development of the new guidelines was led by the National Institutes of Health and the Alzheimer's Association.
NIDA raises the curtain on addiction
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) announced today the launch of its Addiction Performance Project, an innovative continued medical education program designed to help primary care providers break down the stigma associated with addiction.
Complementary and alternative medicine dialogue lacking between patients, pro...
Despite their high use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), Americans over the age of 50 often do not discuss CAM use with their health care providers, a survey indicates. The results, from AARP and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health were released today.
Distribution of cancers in the HIV/AIDS population is shifting
As treatments for HIV/AIDS improve and patients are living longer, the distribution of cancers in this population has undergone a dramatic shift in the United States. While cases of the types of cancer that have been associated with AIDS progression have decreased, cases of other types of cancer are on the rise. These results, reported by scientists from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were published online April 11, 2011, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Long-term care is newest topic on NIHSeniorHealth site
Older adults and their loved ones can find easy-to-understand answers to these and other questions by visiting "Long-Term Care," the newest topic on NIHSeniorHealth, the health and wellness website for older adults from the National Institutes of Health.
Studies find possible new genetic risk factors for Alzheimer's disease
Scientists have confirmed one gene variant and have identified several others that may be risk factors for late-onset Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of the disorder. In the largest genome-wide association study, or GWAS, ever conducted in Alzheimer's research, investigators studied DNA samples from more than 56,000 study participants and analyzed shared data sets to detect gene variations that may have subtle effects on the risk for developing Alzheimer's. The National Institutes of Health funded the study appearing April 3, 2011 in the online issue of Nature Genetics.
Nurturing newborn neurons sharpens minds in mice
Adult mice engineered to have more newborn neurons in their brain memory hub excelled at accurately discriminating between similar experiences -- an ability that declines with normal aging and in some anxiety disorders. Boosting such neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus also produced antidepressant-like effects when combined with exercise, in the study funded by the National Institutes of Health.
NIH investigators find link between DNA damage and immune response
Researchers offer the first evidence that DNA damage can lead to the regulation of inflammatory responses, the body's reaction to injury. The proteins involved in the regulation help protect the body from infection.The study, performed by scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), which is part of the National Institutes of Health, is one of the first studies to come out of the recently established NIEHS Clinical Research Unit (CRU).
Report to nation finds continued declines in many cancer rates
Rates of death in the United States from all cancers for men and women continued to decline between 2003 and 2007, the most recent reporting period available, according to the latest Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer. The report also finds that the overall rate of new cancer diagnoses for men and women combined decreased an average of slightly less than 1 percent per year for the same period.
New strategic plan for NIH obesity research seeks to curb epidemic
To combat the obesity epidemic, the National Institutes of Health is encouraging diverse scientific investigations through a new Strategic Plan for NIH Obesity Research.

NIH Announcements

NIMHD Health Disparities Research (R01)
Funding Opportunity RFA-MD-12-001 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to solicit innovative research that can directly and demonstrably contribute to the elimination of health disparities. Research aims may include, but are not limited to, biological mechanisms; behavioral strategies; lifestyle factors; environmental, structural, and economic factors; cultural and family influences; delivery system interventions; medical procedures and regimens (including alternative therapy), and medical assistive devices and health information technologies. Projects may involve primary data collection or secondary analysis of existing datasets.
Anchoring Metabolomic Changes to Phenotype (P20)
Funding Opportunity RFA-HL-12-009 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. This FOA issued by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institutes of Health, encourages applications from institutions or organizations that propose metabolomic phenotyping of existing cohorts to gain mechanistic understanding of the molecular determinants contributing to cardiovascular and lung disease phenotypes to help in predicting disease susceptibility, diagnosis, risk stratification, assessing response to therapy and assessing prognosis. The FOA proposes a multidisciplinary and integrated program with two interacting components, a metabolomic component and a mechanistic component, each informing the other in an iterative manner.
NIMHD Resource-Related Minority Health and Health Disparities Research (U24)
Funding Opportunity RFA-MD-11-005 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) encourages applications from organizations to provide support for conducting minority health and health disparities resource-related research activities that support the objectives and research strategy outlined in the NIMHD FY 2009-2013 Health Disparities Strategic Plan. The priority areas for this initiative are: Bioethics Research, Global Health Research, Data Infrastructure and Dissemination, and Healthcare for Rural Populations Research.
RFA-AG-12-001  Limited Competition: The Health and Retirement Study (U01) 2011/04/07 2011/06/11
RFA-MH-12-070  Pathophysiology of HIV-Associated Neurodegeneration in Aging Populations on Long-Term Anti-Retroviral Therapy (R01) 2011/04/06 2011/09/10
RFA-MH-12-071  Pathophysiology of HIV-Associated Neurodegeneration in Aging Populations on Long-Term Anti-Retroviral Therapy (R21) 2011/04/06 2011/09/10
NICHD Will Participate in PA-11-104, Reducing Health Disparities Among Minori...
Notice NOT-HD-11-008 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts
NLM Institutional Training Grants for Research Training in Biomedical Informa...
Funding Opportunity RFA-LM-11-001 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. The National Library of Medicine invites training grant applications for support of predoctoral and postdoctoral training for research careers in biomedical informatics. Applications may be for the creation of entirely new program or for the renewal of existing NLM training program grants. Such training will help meet a growing need for investigators trained in biomedical computing and related fields as they directly relate to application domains, including health care delivery, basic biomedical research, clinical and translational research, public health and similar areas.
Economics  of  Retirement (R21), PA-11-140
Letter of Intent Due Date May 16, 2011
Expiration Date May 8, 2014
Economics  of  Retirement (R01), PA-11-138
Letter of Intent Due Date May 5, 2011
Expiration Date May 8, 2014
Modification of the Biographical Sketch in NIH Grant Application Forms (PHS 3...
Notice NOT-OD-11-045 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts
Translational Research to Help Older Adults Maintain their Health and Independence in the Community (R01)
Family and Interpersonal Relationships in an Aging Context (R01)
Expiration Date May 8, 2014

Reducing Health Disparities Among Minority and Underserved Children (R01)
Funding Opportunity PA-11-104 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) issued by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institute on Alcohol, Alcoholism, and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA), and National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), National Institutes of Health (NIH), solicits Research Project Grant (R01) applications from institutions/organizations that propose to conduct research to reduce health disparities among minority and underserved children.
Reducing Health Disparities Among Minority and Underserved Children (R21)
Funding Opportunity PA-11-105 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts.

NIA Resources for Aging Studies in the Non-Human Primate Model
Notice NOT-AG-11-003 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts
Cancer Prevention Research Small Grant Program (R03)
Funding Opportunity PAR-11-079 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is designed to enhance both basic and applied cancer prevention research. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) invites applications that propose small and time-limited projects pertinent to the development of cancer chemoprevention agents, biomarkers for early cancer detection, cancer-related nutrition science, and/or clinical prevention studies that focus on specific target organs. Proposed projects may involve basic animal and/or translational research and/or human subjects-oriented research. However, treatment related quality of life population based studies, as well as projects focused on cancer etiology, metastasis, animal model development, or treatment will not be appropriate for this FOA. New, as well as established, investigators in relevant fields and disciplines (e.g., chemoprevention, nutritional science, genetics, infectious agents, and early detection, including biomarker development and validation) are encouraged to apply for these small grants to test the feasibility of innovative ideas or carry out pilot studies. Ultimately, these small grants are expected to facilitate the development of full research projects grants.


NIH Videocasts:

• CC Grand Rounds: Measuring Stress and Its Impact on Family Caregivers
CC Grand Rounds Lecture Series
For more information, visit
Air date: 5/4/2011 12:00:00 PM Eastern Time


2011 American Geriatrics Society Annual Meeting, May 11-14, 2011. Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, National Harbor, MD.
The deadline to submit abstracts was December 3, 2010.

23rd meeting of REVES will be held in Paris France, from May 25 to 27, 2011
Abstract deadline: February 15, 2011.

Cells to Society (C2S) Summer Biomarker Institute at Northwestern University, Evanston, June 6-8, 2011.
Application Deadline: April 1, 2011

The Summer Institute in LGBT Health at the Center for Population Research in LGBT Health at the Fenway Institute, Boston, July 18-August 12, 2011.
Applications are due April 18, 2011

Gerontological Society of America's 64th Annual Scientific Meeting, November 18-22, 2011, Boston Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA.
Abstracts Deadline: March 15, 2011

This Newsletter  is supported by a grant from the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health (Grant No. 5 P30 AG012857)

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