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CCBAR Newsletter – April, 2012

Editors:  Natalia Gavrilova and Stacy Tessler Lindau  

CCBAR Questions and Answers this Month:

Q: We are putting together our in-person dried blood spots collection protocols and trying to document everything that we would ever need to know about our DBS work. Please advise what matters and what doesn't in the DBS collection protocol. 

   A:  CCBAR offers a template for technical reports on biological measures collected in the context of population-based research.  These were developed and used for the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project, Wave I.  These reports have been cited in the published findings from the NSHAP study and have had over 30,000 hits  since we posted them to the website.  We recommend inviting co-authors from the partnering laboratory to assist in writing and editing of the technical detail.  Know that some labs may have proprietary concerns that could limit the amount of detail they are willing to publish.  If details are omitted due to proprietary concerns, we recommend noting this fact in the technical report.  We welcome suggestions for improving the template and are happy to create links to technical reports from other research teams.  Please notify Natalia Gavrilova ( for more information.

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

In retrospect: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
David Kaiser marks the 50th anniversary of an exemplary account of the cycles of scientific progress.
Immunology: How fat spurs inflammation
Obesity increases the risk of metabolic conditions such as insulin resistance by triggering inflammation. Lan Wu and Luc Van Kaer at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and their colleagues have established that a subset of immune cells called invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells links
A novel ChREBP isoform in adipose tissue regulates systemic glucose metabolism
The prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes is increasing worldwide and threatens to shorten lifespan. Impaired insulin action in peripheral tissues is a major pathogenic factor. Insulin stimulates glucose uptake in adipose tissue through the GLUT4 (also known as SLC2A4) glucose transporter, and a...
Erasing Painful Memories
The caustic imprint of a traumatic memory may fade or vanish with new drug and behavioral therapies
Screening for cancer with molecular markers: progress comes with potential pr...
Recent research has raised hopes for impressively accurate screening for cancer with molecular biomarkers. These molecular markers will probably be more sensitive and specific than older screening modalities, as well as easier to use. In this Essay, I argue that these sensitive screening tests might
Statin Therapy for Healthy Men Identified as "Increased Risk" [Viewpoint]
Trends in Cardiovascular Health Metrics and Associations With All-Cause and C...
Recent recommendations from the American Heart Association aim to improve cardiovascular health by encouraging the general population to meet 7 cardiovascular health metrics: not smoking; being physically active; having normal blood pressure, blood glucose and total cholesterol levels, and w...
This is Your Brain in Meltdown
Neural circuits responsible for conscious self-control are highly vulnerable to even mild stress. When they shut down, primal impulses go unchecked and mental paralysis sets in
Climbing Mount Immortality
How awareness of our mortality may be a major driver of civilization
Sex, puberty and the adolescent delta EEG decline [Developmental Biology]
The steep adolescent decline in the slow wave electroencephalogram (EEG) of nonrapid eye movement (NREM) sleep is a dramatic maturational change in brain electrophysiology thought to be driven by cortical synaptic pruning. A perennial question is whether this change in brain electrop...
Maternal obesity and diabetes are linked to children's autism and similar dis...
Children born to mothers who had metabolic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity during pregnancy were more likely to have autism spectrum disorders, according to a population based,..

Biomarkers and Aging in the News Media

Being nice may be in your genes, according to study
Receptor genes known to make people more kind shown to influence "nice" behavior when coupled with person's worldview
Walking 'could treat depression'
Something as simple as going for a brisk stroll could play an important role in fighting depression, according to researchers in Scotland.
Study confirms not enough sleep raises diabetes, obesity risks
Previous studies of shift workers found similar findings, but this study put healthy individuals under similar conditions
ScienceShot: For Chimps, the Majority Rules
Apes mimic the behaviors of the masses
Dental X-rays Linked to Brain Tumors
Getting frequent dental X-rays appears to increase the risk for a commonly diagnosed brain tumor, a new study finds.
When do consumers react to social exclusion with charitable behavior?
People who feel ignored tend to engage in conspicuous consumption, whereas consumers who are rejected are more likely to volunteer or donate to a worthy cause, according to a new study.
Somerset village tops longevity
The great variation in life expectancy among pensioners has been highlighted in a new study by the actuarial firm Towers Watson.
Keep bones healthy while young
Young people should protect their bone health to prevent the risk of osteoporosis later. HLN's Susan Hendricks reports.
Vital Signs: Brain Scans Forecast Eating and Sexual Behavior in Women
Researchers have succeeded in predicting eating behavior and levels of sexual desire in people by scanning their brains.
Optimism Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease
Scientists have known about the reverse relationship between psychological health and heart health for some time, but the findings on happiness and its medical impact over the years have not been as consistent.
Long use of any hormones raises women's breast cancer risk
A new study tracked about 60,000 nurses and found that use of any kind of hormones for 10 years or more slightly raised the chances.
Injectable contraceptive doubles risk of breast cancer, study shows
Sold under brand name Depo-Provera, depo-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) contraceptive linked to increased breast cancer risk in young women
Teens ignore melanoma risk to tan for prom
The prom and tanning go hand-in-hand, but the practice has come under renewed scrutiny after a recent study published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings found the incidence of melanoma in young adults has soared, with a sixfold increase in the past 40 years.
Violence ages children's DNA, shortens their chromosomes
A new study suggests that violence can cause changes to children's DNA that are equivalent to seven to 10 years of premature aging.
Aspirin tied to lower lung cancer risk in women
In a new study of more than 1,200 Asian women, those who took aspirin at least a couple of times a week had a much lower risk of developing lung cancer -- whether or not they had ever smoked.
Any Exercise May Cut Alzheimer's Risk at Any Age
A new study shows that daily physical activity may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and mental decline even in people older than 80.
Does fatty food impact marital stress?
A diet high in saturated fat might make arguments with your spouse more stressful. That's what researchers are theorizing in their recently launched study of married couples. The study will evaluate the change in couples' blood cholesterol and stress hormone levels following discussions of stressful topics such as finances, relatives, or annoying habits.
Families that eat together may be the healthiest, new evidence confirms
"Come and get it!" A phrase historically proclaiming that the communal meal is ready, is heard all too infrequently among contemporary American households, especially as children get older. Indeed, over 40% of the typical American food budget is spent on eating out, with family meals often being relegated to holidays and special occasions. Aside from negative effects on the family budget, eating out has been shown to be generally associated with poor food choices and bad health. Of particular in...
Can video games promote healthier aging?
Video-game technology is proving to be a valuable tool for helping people of all ages improve lifestyle and health habits and manage disease. New research is showing that exergames have significant benefits for older adults by providing cognitive stimulation and a source of social interaction, exercise, and fun.
Gut organisms could be clue in controlling obesity risk
The international obesity epidemic is widespread, nondiscriminatory, and deadly. But do we really understand all of the factors underlying this alarming trend? Excessive calorie intake and plummeting levels of physical activity are largely to blame for our ever-expanding waistlines. But there are other factors. Intestinal microbiota, may play a far greater role in human health than previously imagined.
Genes that increase the risk of osteoporosis and fractures discovered
Researchers have identified the genetic variations that are believed to cause osteoporosis. The study shows among other interesting facts that women with a higher proportion of genetic variations associated with osteoporosis have a more than 50 percent increased fracture risk.
Thirty-five-hour work-week recommended for parents
Swedish mothers of small children work a lot more now than in the 1970s. This is an important reason why so many parents feel extremely pressured for time. One way to handle the stress is to take advantage of the right for Swedish parents to work half time, according to new research.
Biometrics: Those tell-tale signs that say who you are
Forget about fingerprints or iris recognition; the way you walk or move your hands, even your pulse, can be analyzed for unique characteristics. Researchers are now looking at ways this new technology could protect your security and make identity checking less obtrusive and more accurate.
Modest swings in high temperatures can increase mortality risk
Medication taken by the elderly may disrupt sweat production and cause their body temperatures to soar to unhealthy levels.
Berries May Contain Potent Weapon vs. Parkinson's
Can two or more servings of blueberries or strawberries a week help lower risk of Parkinson's disease?
Many Medical Tests, Procedures Not Always Needed
Sometimes these tests can be lifesavers. Other times they are unlikely to do anything except increase costs and anxiety and expose people to unnecessary risks. So how do you know the difference?
Can Being Tall Raise Your Risk of Ovarian Cancer?
Taller women may be more likely to develop ovarian cancer, a new study suggests.
Dogs May Take the Bite Out of Stress at Work
Bringing your dog to work may take the bite out of stress and improve overall job satisfaction for the whole office.
Aspirin reduces cancer risk: Is it time to include it in cancer prevention gu...
New data demonstrates aspirin's potential role in reducing the risk of cancer death bring us considerably closer to the time when cancer prevention can be included in clinical guidelines for the use of aspirin in preventative care.
Neurological support for Adam Smith's 'theories of morality'
The part of the brain we use when engaging in egalitarian behavior may also be linked to a larger sense of morality, researchers have found. Their conclusions, which offer scientific support for Adam Smith?s theories of morality, are based on experimental research.
Constant Stress Makes You Sick
Elevated levels of cortisol over time can lead to resistance and affect the body's immune response to infections like the common cold and influenza, heightening symptoms.
How stress influences disease: Study reveals inflammation as the culprit
Stress wreaks havoc on the mind and body. Until now, it has not been clear exactly how stress influences disease and health. Now researchers have found that chronic psychological stress is associated with the body losing its ability to regulate the inflammatory response. The research shows for the first time that the effects of psychological stress on the body's ability to regulate inflammation can promote the development and progression of disease.
Seeing double: 1 in 30 babies born in US is a twin
Women having children at older ages and the growing availability of fertility treatments has led to a marked increase in the birth of twins: In 2009, one in every 30 babies born in the United States was a twin compared with one in every 53 in 1980.
Longevity Up in U.S., but Education Creates Disparity, Study Says
The study used government data to rank each American county by health indicators like obesity and premature death, and considered factors like the presence of fast-food restaurants.
Memory loss with aging not necessarily permanent, animal study suggests
Scientists have shown in animal models that the loss of memory that comes with aging is not necessarily a permanent thing.
Exploring the antidepressant effects of testosterone
Testosterone, the primary male sex hormone, appears to have antidepressant properties, but the exact mechanisms underlying its effects have remained unclear. Scientists have now discovered that a specific pathway in the hippocampus, a brain region involved in memory formation and regulation of stress responses, plays a major role in mediating testosterone's effects.

NIH Press Releases

Brain-activated muscle stimulation restores monkeys' hand movement after para...
An artificial connection between the brain and muscles can restore complex hand movements in monkeys following paralysis, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Test links strains of common parasite to severe illness in U.S. newborns
Scientists have identified which strains of the Toxoplasma gondii parasite, the cause of toxoplasmosis, are most strongly associated with premature births and severe birth defects in the United States. The researchers used a new blood test developed by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, to pinpoint T. gondii strains that children acquire from their acutely infected mothers while in the womb.
NIH names Dr. Gary H. Gibbons director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood...
National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins M.D., Ph.D., announced today the selection of Gary H. Gibbons, M.D., as the new director of the NIH's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Dr. Gibbons is the founder and current director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute, chairperson of the Department of Physiology, and professor of physiology and medicine at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. He expects to start his new position in the summer of 2012.
Dr. Edward P. Riley to deliver 4th annual Jack Mendelson Honorary Lecture at NIH
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, announces that Edward P. Riley, Ph.D. will deliver the 4th annual Jack Mendelson Honorary Lecture. Riley is a world-renowned expert on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). His presentation is called "FASD: It's What's Behind the Face that Matters ? Effects of Prenatal Alcohol on Brain and Behavior."
Possible clues found to why HIV vaccine showed modest protection
Insights into how the first vaccine ever reported to modestly prevent HIV infection in people might have worked were published online today in the New England Journal of Medicine. Scientists have found that among adults who received the experimental HIV vaccine during the landmark RV144 clinical trial, those who produced relatively high levels of a specific antibody after vaccination were less likely to get infected with the virus than those who did not. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, co-funded the research.
Spontaneous gene glitches linked to autism risk with older dads
Researchers have turned up a new clue to the workings of a possible environmental factor in: fathers were four times more likely than mothers to transmit tiny, spontaneous mutations to their children with the disorders. Moreover, the number of such transmitted genetic glitches increased with paternal age. The discovery may help to explain earlier evidence linking autism risk to older fathers.
NIH awards $20M over five years to train next generation of global health res...
To help foster the next generation of global health scientists, Fogarty International Center and its partners at the National Institutes of Health are building a network of U.S. academic institutions to provide early-career physicians, veterinarians, dentists and scientists with a significant mentored research experience in a developing country.
Bilinguals switch tasks faster than monolinguals, NIH funded study shows
Children who grow up learning to speak two languages are better at switching between tasks than are children who learn to speak only one language, according to a study funded in part by the National Institutes of Health. However, the study also found that bilinguals are slower to acquire vocabulary than are monolinguals, because bilinguals must divide their time between two languages while monolinguals focus on only one.
NIH study finds women spend longer in labor now than 50 years ago
Women take longer to give birth today than did women 50 years ago, according to an analysis of nearly 140,000 deliveries conducted by researchers at the National Institutes of Health. The researchers could not identify all of the factors that accounted for the increase, but concluded that the change is likely due to changes in delivery room practice.
Weight loss and increased fitness slow decline of mobility in adults
Weight loss and increased physical fitness nearly halved the risk of losing mobility in overweight or obese adults with type 2 diabetes, according to four-year results from the Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) trial funded by the National Institutes of Health. The results are published in the March 29, 2012, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
NIA adds genetic data to Health and Retirement Study
The Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a 20-year nationwide survey of the health, economic and social status of older Americans, has added genetic information from consenting participants to its massive database. Supported by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, and conducted by scientists at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, the HRS is the premier database for studying retirement and the baby boom generation.

NIH Announcements

NIMHD Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) Initiative in Reducing an...
Funding Opportunity RFA-MD-12-006 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) invites applications for this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to plan the development of effective interventions using community based participatory research (CBPR) approaches. Support will be provided to develop and strengthen partnerships between researchers and health disparity communities to plan and pilot interventions for a disease or condition to reduce health disparities.
Multidisciplinary Studies of HIV/AIDS and Aging (R21)
Funding Opportunity PAR-12-174 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. This FOA invites applications proposing to study HIV infection, HIV-associated conditions, HIV treatment, and/or biobehavioral or social factors associated with HIV/AIDS in the context of aging and/or in older adults. Research approaches of interest include clinical translational, observational, and intervention studies in domestic and international settings.
Multidisciplinary Studies of HIV/AIDS and Aging (R01)
Funding Opportunity PAR-12-175 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. This FOA invites applications proposing to study HIV infection, HIV-associated conditions, HIV treatment, and/or biobehavioral or social factors associated with HIV/AIDS in the context of aging and/or in older adults. Research approaches of interest include clinical translational, observational, and intervention studies in domestic and international settings.
Multidisciplinary Studies of HIV/AIDS and Aging (R03)
Funding Opportunity PAR-12-176 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. This FOA invites applications proposing to study HIV infection, HIV-associated conditions, HIV treatment, and/or biobehavioral or social factors associated with HIV/AIDS in the context of aging and/or in older adults. Research approaches of interest include clinical translational, observational, and intervention studies in domestic and international settings.
Secondary Analyses in Obesity, Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (R21)
Funding Number: PA-12-125
Expiration Date: May 8, 2015
Biodemography of Aging (R21), Funding Number: PAR-12-079
Expiration Date: March 4, 2014
Biodemography of Aging (R03), Funding Number: PAR-12-080
Expiration Date: March 4, 2014
Biodemography of Aging (R01), Funding Number: PAR-12-078
Expiration Date: March 4, 2014
Limited Competition: Archiving and Dissemination of Research Data on Aging (P30)
Funding Opportunity RFA-AG-12-013 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. The purpose of this FOA is to continue the P30 Center Grant to 1) maintain the existing collections of the National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging and develop it further as a user-friendly data archive to support behavioral and social science research on aging; 2) advise and assist researchers in documentation and archiving of data and metadata; 3) advise and assist researchers on methods of sharing data for secondary analysis while providing adequate protections for confidentiality; and 4) facilitate secondary analysis by providing user support, access to data, and training and consultation.



2012 WLS Pilot Grant Program
The Center for Demography of Health and Aging (CDHA) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will award two to three pilot grants to investigators using the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS) data for scholarly research.  Grant application must be received by May 25, 2012. Please contact Carol Roan by e-mail or by telephone (608) 265-6196 for more information.
2012 NIH Summer Institute on Social and Behavioral Intervention Research, July 9-13, 2012
Columbia University, School of Social Work, New York
Application Deadline: 11:59 PM Eastern, Friday, April 27, 2012


Population Association of America Annual meeting, San Francisco, CA.
The 2012 Annual Meeting will be held May 3-5 at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square Hotel.
Registration deadline: April 15, 2012

American Geriatrics Society 2012 Annual Scientific Meeting, May 2-5, 2012, Seattle, WA
Abstracts Deadline: December 5, 2011

Conference "Biospecimens and Biorepositories" - Jun 07-08, 2012 - San Diego, CA, USA
Helen Moore, Ph.D., Administrative Director at the Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research, NCI, NIH, to give a Keynote talk.
Deadline for 10% discount ends on May 7th

Summer Research Institute on Behavioral Intervention, June 14-16, 2012
Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD

RAND Summer Institute, July 9-10, Santa Monica, California.
RAND is pleased to announce the 19th annual RAND Summer Institute (RSI). RSI consists of two annual conferences that address critical issues facing our aging population. The Mini-Medical School for Social Scientists will be held on July 9–10, and the Demography, Economics, Psychology, and Epidemiology of Aging conference on July 11–12, 2012. Both conferences will convene at the RAND Corporation headquarters in Santa Monica, California.
The application deadline is March 9, 2012

2012 Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, August 17-20, Denver, CO
Abstracts Deadline: January 11, 2012

Gerontological Society of America's 65th Annual Scientific Meeting, November 14-18, 2012, San Diego, CA.
Abstracts Deadline: March 15, 2012


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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