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CCBAR Newsletter – August-September, 2011

Editors:  Natalia Gavrilova and Stacy Tessler Lindau

Registration for the CCBAR 2011 Conference in Chicago has been extended:

The Chicago Core on Biomeasures in Population-Based Health and Aging Research (CCBAR) at the NORC University of Chicago Center on Demography and Economics of Aging will host a fall conference entitled "Biosocial and Communication Technology-Based Approaches to Urban Health and Aging" on Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 from 7:30am to 5pm at the Gleacher Center in downtown Chicago. Rose Anne Kenny, MD, PI of the innovative Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing will present the keynote lecture.  Other confirmed speakers include Jens Ludwig, PhD, on findings from the Moving to Opportunity Study, Cheryl Clark, MD from Harvard on the Jackson Heart Health Study and Bill Funk, PhD from Northwestern on minimally invasive methods for quantifying environmental toxin exposure.  

If you are interested in participating in the CCBAR Conference please register at the following link:

CCBAR conference agenda is available here:

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

Ageing: Longevity hits a roadblock
Increased expression of sirtuin proteins has been shown to enhance lifespan in several organisms. New data indicate that some of the reported effects may have been due to confounding factors in experimental design. Here, experts discuss the significance of these data for research into ageing. See Le...
Absence of effects of Sir2 overexpression on lifespan in C. elegans and Droso...
Overexpression of sirtuins (NAD+-dependent protein deacetylases) has been reported to increase lifespan in budding yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster. Studies of the effects of genes on ageing are vulnerable to confounding effects of genetic backgrou...
The evolution of overconfidence
Confidence is an essential ingredient of success in a wide range of domains ranging from job performance and mental health to sports, business and combat. Some authors have suggested that not just confidence but overconfidence - believing you are better than you are in reality - is advantageous because ...
Oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) is related to psychological resources [Psycholo...
Psychological resources - optimism, mastery, and self-esteem - buffer the deleterious effects of stress and are predictors of neurophysiological and psychological health-related outcomes. These resources have been shown to be highly heritable, yet the genetic basis for this heritability remains unknown....
Depression and Risk of Stroke Morbidity and Mortality: A Meta-analysis and Sy...
Several studies have suggested that depression is associated with an increased risk of stroke; however, the results are inconsistent.
Objective: To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies assessing the association between depression and risk of developing stroke i...
Eye markers of cardiovascular disease
Most clinicians are aware that arcus corneae and xanthelasmata are related to hyperlipidaemia, but results have been conflicting on whether they provide extra information compared with traditional...
Evolutionary biology: Chimp brains don't shrink
The human brain shrinks with age in what seems to be an evolutionarily new phenomenon, report Chet Sherwood of the George Washington University in Washington DC and his colleagues. They found that no parallel reduction in brain size seems to occur in our closest relative,
Evolution: Not so selfish
A prescription for how human cooperation evolved will provoke much-needed debate about the origins of society, finds Peter Richerson.
Aging of the cerebral cortex differs between humans and chimpanzees [Anthropo...
Several biological changes characterize normal brain aging in humans. Although some of these age-associated neural alterations are also found in other species, overt volumetric decline of particular brain structures, such as the hippocampus and frontal lobe, has only been observed in humans. However...
Spontaneous prosocial choice by chimpanzees [Psychological and Cognitive Scie...
The study of human and primate altruism faces an evolutionary anomaly: There is ample evidence for altruistic preferences in our own species and growing evidence in monkeys, but one of our closest relatives, the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), is viewed as a reluctant altruist, acting only in response...
The timing of mitochondrial DNA mutations in aging
Somatic mutations in mitochondrial DNA build up in aging tissues and are thought to contribute to physiological aging. Surprisingly, it is not known if these mutations occur early or late in life. A new study looks at mechanisms of accelerated mitochondrial aging in HIV-infected individuals treated ...
Motivating voter turnout by invoking the self [Psychological and Cognitive Sc...
Three randomized experiments found that subtle linguistic cues have the power to increase voting and related behavior. The phrasing of survey items was varied to frame voting either as the enactment of a personal identity (e.g., 'being a voter') or as simply a behavior (e.g., 'voting'). As predicted...
Increased risk of glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes with statins
Statins are considered a 21st century panacea to the extent that some people propose they should be taken by everyone over 55 years of age.1 Convincing evidence shows that statins reduce all cause...
Elder Abuse and Self-neglect: "I Don't Care Anything About Going to the Docto...
Elder mistreatment encompasses a range of behaviors including emotional, financial, physical, and sexual abuse, neglect by other individuals, and self-neglect. This article discusses the range of elder mistreatment in community-living older adults, associated factors, and consequences. Although self...
The Stress of Crowds
City dwellers may handle pressure differently from those who live in less populated areas
Oxytocin and vasopressin in the human brain: social neuropeptides for transla...
The neuropeptides oxytocin (OXT) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) are evolutionarily highly conserved mediators in the regulation of complex social cognition and behaviour. Recent studies have investigated the effects of OXT and AVP on human social interaction, the genetic mechanisms of inter-individu...
Stress exposure in intrauterine life is associated with shorter telomere leng...
Leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is a predictor of age-related disease onset and mortality. The association in adults of psychosocial stress or stress biomarkers with LTL suggests telomere biology may represent a possible underlying mechanism linking stress and health outcomes. It is, however, unknow...
Long-lasting behavioral responses to stress involve a direct interaction of g...
Stressful events are known to have a long-term impact on future behavioral stress responses. Previous studies suggested that both glucocorticoid hormones and glutamate acting via glucocorticoid receptors (GRs) and N-methyl d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, respectively, are of critical importance for th...
Functional assessment in older people
Summary points. In older adults functional decline is a common presentation of many disease states. Causes and consequences are diverse, so functional assessment is not suited to a traditional medical...


Biomarkers and Aging in the News Media

For women, risk of depression falls as coffee intake rises
A few cups of coffee a day may help keep the blues at bay. According to a large new study, women who drink caffeinated coffee are less likely to become depressed -- and the more they drink, the more their risk of depression goes down.
For older women, year following hip fracture can be especially deadly
Women age 65 and older who fracture a hip are much more likely to die from any cause during the following year than they would be if they had avoided injury, a new study suggests.
Cases: For Many Older Gays and Lesbians, Isolation Is a Problem
A geriatrician reflects on the challenges facing the aging generation of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people who are often more isolated than their heterosexual peers.
Longevity Research Raises Hopes, and Questions
With a flurry of papers on the effects of proteins known as sirtuins, British and American researchers disagree on how to establish solid science in a relatively new field.
Variety of Fruits, Veggies Best vs. Colon Cancer
Australian researchers have found a link between different types of fruits and vegetables and cancer risk in different parts of the colon.
Low Vitamin B12 May Speed Brain Shrinkage
Older people with low levels of vitamin B12 may be more prone to age-related memory declines and brain shrinkage.
Childless Men May Have Higher Heart Risk
Men who remain childless throughout their lives may be more likely to die from heart disease and stroke than men who become fathers, a new study suggests.
High blood pressure is linked to increased risk of developing or dying from c...
Raised blood pressure is linked to a higher risk of developing cancer or dying from the disease according to the findings of the largest study to date to investigate the association between the two conditions. There had been contradictory results from previous, smaller studies investigating the link between cancer and blood pressure. However, this new study, which included 289,454 men and 288,345 women, showed that higher than normal blood pressure was statistically significantly associated with...
Marker for Alzheimer's disease rises during day and falls with sleep
A marker for Alzheimer's disease rises and falls in the spinal fluid in a daily pattern that echoes the sleep cycle, researchers have found. The pattern is strongest in healthy young people and reinforces a link between increased Alzheimer's risk and inadequate sleep that had been discovered in animal models.
Diabetes doubles Alzheimer's risk
Diabetes appears to dramatically increase a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia later in life, according to a new study conducted in Japan.
Personal Health: Distinguishing Cognitive Impairment From Normal Aging
For millions with a neurological condition called mild cognitive impairment, lapses in word-finding and name recall are often common.
How Your Beliefs Affect Your Loved Ones' Weight
The surprising link between women's thoughts and behaviors and obesity in America.
Blacks develop high blood pressure one year faster than whites, study finds
Blacks at risk of having high blood pressure develop the condition one year before whites and have a 35 percent greater chance of progressing from pre-hypertension to high blood pressure, according to a new study. More aggressive treatment of pre-hypertension could narrow the gap in hypertension rates between blacks and whites.
Link between high cholesterol and Alzheimer's disease revealed in new study
People with high cholesterol may have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study. 
Morning smoking has cancer risk
People who smoke soon after getting up in the morning are more likely to develop cancer than those who light up later in the day, say US researchers.
Female smokers' heart disease risk 25 percent higher than men's: Study
Data from studies as far back as 1966 show women smokers 25 percent more likely than male smokers to develop heart disease
Longevity: Habits May Extend Life Only So Much
A study suggests that people with the genes for longevity live past age 95 with habits no different from most others, but that the average person would probably have to follow a healthy lifestyle to live comfortably past 80.
Risks: Women's Cancer Risk Increases With Height, Study Finds
The authors suggest that levels of growth hormone might be involved in the genesis of cancer, or that taller people are at greater risk for mutations simply because their bodies comprise more cells.
More gender equality leads to more sex, global study shows
The study is part of a big-picture look at sexual behavior worldwide using "sexual economics," in which supply and demand are key.
Catching Obesity From Friends May Not Be So Easy
Researchers who published studies suggesting that conditions and behaviors like obesity, happiness, smoking and loneliness could be contagious are under serious critical fire.
Sibling History of Blood Clots May Raise Your Risk
People with more than one sibling who have had potentially life-threatening blood clots have a 50-fold increase in risk for the condition, a new study shows.
Daily exercise 'increases life'
Just 15 minutes of exercise a day is enough to boost life expectancy by three years and cut death risk by 14%, researchers in Taiwan say.
Tests predict heart attack risk
Most heart attacks strike with no warning, but doctors now have a clearer picture than before of who is most likely to have one.
Common Sleep Problem Raises Dementia Risk
Sleep apnea, a common condition in the elderly and overweight, was linked to memory problems and dementia in older women.
Excessive sitting linked to premature death in women
In a study, women who sat for more than six hours a day had a 37 percent increased risk of premature death, compared to 18 percent for men.
Healthy obese people may live as long as thin folks
Not everyone who is obese needs to lose weight ? it's possible to carry extra pounds and still be healthy, a new study says. Although obesity brings an increased risk of many health complications, the new study shows that people who are obese but do not have such complications might live as long as normal weight individuals.
Call for 'fat-year' measurement
Experts say the health risks of obesity have been underestimated because we are not measuring the condition adequately by ignoring how long people remain overweight.
Causes of high incidence of breast cancer in African-American women identified
Investigators have reported findings that may shed light on why African American women have a disproportionately higher risk of developing more aggressive and difficult-to-treat breast cancers, specifically estrogen and progesterone receptor negative (ER-/PR-) cancers. Childbearing may increase the risk of hormone receptor-negative breast cancer in African-American women.
Antibody discovered that may help detect ovarian cancer in earliest stages
Using a new approach to developing biomarkers for the very early detection of ovarian cancer, researchers have identified a molecule in the bloodstream of infertile women that could one day be used to screen for those at high risk for the disease -- or even those with early-stage ovarian cancer.
Moderate drinking may protect against Alzheimer's and cognitive impairment, s...
Moderate social drinking may significantly reduce the risk of dementia and cognitive impairment, suggests a new analysis of 143 studies.
Possibility of temporarily reversing aging in the immune system
Researchers have discovered a new mechanism controlling aging in white blood cells. The research opens up the possibility of temporarily reversing the effects of aging on immunity and could, in the future, allow for the short-term boosting of the immune systems of older people.
Marriage helps survival after heart surgery
Study finds post-op survival rises for those in committed relationships
Older adults are better at decision-making than young adults
We make decisions all our lives -- so you'd think we'd get better and better at it. Yet research has shown that younger adults are better decision-makers than older ones. Some psychologists, puzzled by these findings, suspected the experiments were biased toward younger brains.

NIH Press Releases

NIH again recognized by AARP as a top employer for workers over 50
For the second straight time, AARP has ranked the National Institutes of Health as third in its Best Employers for Workers Over 50 list.
International genome consortium discovers new genes that control blood pressure
In one of the largest genomics studies ever, an international research consortium that includes the National Institutes of Health has identified 29 genetic variations across 28 regions of the human genome that influence blood pressure. This unprecedented effort brought together more than 230 researchers across six continents and scanned the genomes of over 200,000 people. The results will appear in the Sept. 11 edition of Nature.
NIH releases best practices for combining qualitative and quantitative research
The National Institutes of Health today released recommendations or best practices for scientists conducting mixed methods health research. Mixed methods research combines the strengths of quantitative research and qualitative research. Despite the increased interest in mixed methods research in health fields and at NIH, prior to this report, there was limited guidance to help scientists developing applications for NIH funding that featured mixed methods designs, nor was there guidance for the reviewers at NIH who assess the quality of these applications.
HHS Tightens Financial Conflict of Interest Rules for Researchers
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today issued an updated Final Rule on conflict of interest, providing a framework for identifying, managing, and ultimately avoiding investigators' financial conflicts of interest Staff from the National Institutes of Health worked with others in HHS to revise the 1995 regulations to update and enhance the objectivity and integrity of the research process.
NHGRI funds development of revolutionary DNA sequencing technologies
Researchers today received more than $14 million in grants to develop DNA sequencing technologies that will rapidly sequence a person's genome for $1000 or less. The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health, awarded the grants to enable the everyday use of DNA sequencing technologies by biomedical researchers and health care providers.
Compound improves health, increases lifespan of obese mice
Researchers have reported that obese male mice treated with a synthetic compound called SRT1720 were healthier and lived longer compared to non-treated obese mice. The experimental compound was found to improve the function of the liver, pancreas and heart in mice.
NIH-commissioned study identifies gaps in NIH funding success rates for black...
Black applicants from 2000-2006 were 10 percentage points less likely than white applicants to be awarded research project grants from the National Institutes of Health after controlling for factors that influence the likelihood of a grant award, according to an NIH-commissioned study in the journal Science. In an accompanying commentary, NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., and Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak, D.D.S, Ph.D., call the findings unacceptable and commit to immediate action by the NIH.
eMERGE network moves closer to tailored treatments based on patients' genomic...
Researchers in the Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) network will receive $25 million over the next four years to demonstrate that patients' genomic information linked to disease characteristics and symptoms in their electronic medical records can be used to improve their care. The grants are from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which supports research by the network's seven institutions and coordinating center.
Cigarette smoking implicated in half of bladder cancers in women
Current cigarette smokers have a higher risk of bladder cancer than previously reported, and the risk in women is now comparable to that in men, according to a study by scientists from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health. The report was published on Aug. 16, 2011, in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
National Children's Study upgrading data gathering, analysis
The National Children's Study is changing its approach to informatics -- the science of classifying, cataloging, storing, analyzing, and retrieving information, study officials announced today.

NIH Announcements

Research Infrastructure for Demographic and Behavioral Population Science (R24)
Funding Opportunity RFA-HD-12-186 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. The purpose of this FOA is to promote science within the mission of the NICHD Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch by providing research infrastructure to population science research centers. Types of research infrastructure provided include administrative and technical research support, developmental infrastructure, and public infrastructure. This FOA supports three types of applications: (1) General Research Infrastructure, for centers with three to six signature population science research themes; (2) Specialized Research Infrastructure, for centers with one or two signature research themes; and (3) Public Infrastructure Only applications, for centers that request funding only for public infrastructure.
Mechanisms Explaining Differences in Depressive and Anxiety Disorders Across ...
Funding Opportunity RFA-MH-12-090 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to stimulate innovative research that will expand our current scientific understanding of the social, behavioral, and/or neurobiological mechanisms explaining racial/ethnic differences in the prevalence of depressive and anxiety disorders (major depressive disorder, dysthymia, generalized anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, social phobia, and panic disorder with and without agoraphobia) and their associated distribution of symptoms (e.g., the number and type of symptoms by racial/ethnic group) in the United States.
Social Neuroscience and Neuroeconomics of Aging (R21)
Funding Opportunity PAR-11-336 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) issues this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) with special review to stimulate interdisciplinary aging-relevant research in the social, affective and economic neurosciences. The NIA invites applications examining social, emotional and economic behaviors of relevance to aging, using approaches that examine mechanisms and processes at both (a) the social, behavioral or psychological (emotional, cognitive, motivational) level, and (b) the neurobiological or genetic level. Applications are encouraged that have an overriding emphasis on economic, social or emotional processes and associated genetic or neurobiological processes. Applications should demonstrate either relevance for aging or for age differences or age-related changes in these processes. Aging-relevant applications can address issues of importance to the well-being and health of either mid-life or older adults, and can include data spanning the entire life course.
Social Neuroscience and Neuroeconomics of Aging (R01)
Funding Opportunity PAR-11-337 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) issues this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) with special review to stimulate interdisciplinary aging-relevant research in the social, affective and economic neurosciences. The NIA invites applications examining social, emotional and economic behaviors of relevance to aging, using approaches that examine mechanisms and processes at both (a) the social, behavioral or psychological (emotional, cognitive, motivational) level, and (b) the neurobiological or genetic level. Proposals are encouraged that have an overriding emphasis on economic, social or emotional processes and associated genetic or neurobiological processes. Applications should demonstrate either relevance for aging or for age differences or age-related changes in these processes. Aging-relevant applications can address issues of importance to the well-being and health of either mid-life or older adults, and can include data spanning the entire life course.
Limited Competition: Global Health Program for Fellows and Scholars (Global ...
Funding Opportunity RFA-TW-11-001 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. FIC plans to provide opportunities for up to four support centers to develop and support global health research education/research experience programs that meet the following objectives: Provide focused mentoring for participants (post-doctorates and doctoral students) from the U.S. and low- and middle- income countries (LMICs) in global health research in established research sites in LMICs. Provide educational opportunities in diverse areas of research for participants at those research sites. Enhance the global health research career trajectory potential of the participants. Strengthen global health programs at U.S. academic institutions and help to sustain global health research at institutions in LMICs. Strengthen global health research networks among the alumni and mentors across institutions in the U.S. and LMICs.
Standardization of C-Peptide and HbA1C (UC4)
Funding Opportunity RFA-DK-11-020 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. This FOA invites applications for a Central Primary Reference Laboratory (CPRL) that will be responsible for improvement and standardization of HbA1c measurements and C-peptide measurements, important for care of diabetes. The significance of HbA1c standardization program has recently been stressed by an international expert committee calling for improved measurement of HbA1c for the diagnosis of diabetes and the importance of C-peptide measurement is heightened based on increasing evidence that preservation of endogenous insulin production in Type 1 diabetes can provide significant long-term clinical benefits in subjects with recent onset Type 1 Diabetes.
Specialized Centers of Research (SCOR) on Sex Differences (P50)
Funding Opportunity RFA-OD-11-003 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. The ORWH and participating organizations and institutes seek to expand the Specialized Centers of Interdisciplinary Research (SCOR) on Sex Differences. These centers will provide opportunities for interdisciplinary approaches to advancing studies in sex differences research. Each SCOR should develop a research agenda bridging basic and clinical research underlying a health issue that affects women.
Exceptional, Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration (EUREKA)...
Funding Opportunity RFA-NS-12-005 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. This FOA solicits Research Project Grant (R01) applications from institutions/organizations proposing exceptionally innovative research on novel hypotheses or difficult problems, solutions to which would have an extremely high impact on biomedical or biobehavioral research in the epilepsies. This FOA is for support of new projects, not continuation of projects that have already been initiated. It does not support pilot projects, i.e., projects of limited scope that are designed primarily to generate data that will enable the PD/PI to seek other funding opportunities. Interventional clinical trials are also not appropriate for this FOA.


The Hopkins Population Center, on the occasion of its fortieth anniversary, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins invite you to watch a live webcast "The Seventh Billion Human: What Does This Birth Mean?"
Friday, October 14, 2:00 - 4:00 PM Eastern US Time
The webcast will be available at:

The 7th Chicago Core on Biomeasures in Population-Based Health and Aging Research Conference will be held in Chicago Gleacher Center, October 25, 2011
Please contact Pleasant Radford (  for questions related to the conference. 

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

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.


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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