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CCBAR Newsletter – February, 2012

Editors:  Natalia Gavrilova and Stacy Tessler Lindau

   News from our colleagues

The Network on Measurement of Biological Risk in Populations would like to announce that the next meeting of the network members will take place from 9 AM  to 4 PM the day before PAA, May 2nd, at the San Francisco Hilton (the PAA meeting location). Two general topics for discussion are proposed: genetics (including issues of RNA collection and assay, measuring telomeres, and using GWAS) and developments in the use of dried blood spots. Before finalizing the agenda, input from network members on topics and presentations is welcome. Please send an email with your input and indicating whether you wish to attend the meeting to Eileen Crimmins ( by March 30th.

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

Sugar: a problem of developed countries
The contribution of sugar towards chronic disease is more relevant to developed countries than to the developing world (Nature 482, 27-29; 2012). In Asia, for example, up to 10% of the population is obese and/or diabetic (see, even
Sugar: other 'toxic' factors play a part
Regulating products based on a scientific risk analysis is a worthy goal, but I contend that Robert Lustig and colleagues oversimplify the 'toxic' truth about refined carbohydrates (Nature 482, 27-29; 2012). Rather than demonizing sugar, the authors would have
Evolution: Adapted to culture
Mark Pagel proposes that our ability to share and build on ideas is what made us human.
Sexually dimorphic behavior genes
Recruiting adaptive cellular stress responses for successful brain ageing
Successful ageing is determined in part by genetic background, but also by experiential factors associated with lifestyle and culture. Dietary, behavioural and pharmacological interventions have been identified as potential means to slow brain ageing and forestall neurodegenerative disease. Many of ...
Risk factors: First statement on sexual activity in patients with cardiovascu...
The AHA has released a Scientific Statement, endorsed by professional bodies from various clinical specialties, that contains recommendations regarding sexual activity in patients with cardiovascular disease. 'This is the first time that this topic has been comprehensively reviewed by a multidiscipl...
Nutrition: Calcium and vitamin D for extraskeletal health - jury is out
The extraskeletal benefits and harms of supplementation with calcium and vitamin D are unknown. The RECORD trial compared overall, vascular and cancer mortality and cancer incidence by supplement use and found no evidence of any harm or benefit. However, compliance was poor and serum 25-hydroxyvitam...
Pharmacotherapy: Statins and new-onset diabetes mellitus - a matter for debate
Statins are effective for cardiovascular disease prevention but have recently been associated with an increased risk of new-onset diabetes mellitus. However, until this association is confirmed, treatment discontinuation is not advisable. Lifestyle measures and treatment of risk factors that often c...
AgRP neurons: The foes of reproduction in leptin-deficient obese subjects [Co...
Evolutionarily, the ability to regulate energy balance and reproduction in parallel is critical, because reproductive success will only occur when sufficient energy supplies are available. In periods when energy stores are depleted, reproduction is switched off in an attempt to save energy to optimi...
Maternal support in early childhood predicts larger hippocampal volumes at sc...
Early maternal support has been shown to promote specific gene expression, neurogenesis, adaptive stress responses, and larger hippocampal volumes in developing animals. In humans, a relationship between psychosocial factors in early childhood and later amygdala volumes based on prospective data has...
Happiness is a U shaped curve, highest in the teens and 70s, shows survey
Northern Ireland is the happiest part of the United Kingdom, concludes the Office for National Statistics (ONS) after questioning 80?000 adults between April and September last year. People from...
Vitamin D Therapy and Cardiac Structure and Function in Patients With Chronic...
Vitamin D is associated with decreased cardiovascular-related morbidity and mortality, possibly by modifying cardiac structure and function, yet firm evidence for either remains lacking.
Objective  - To determine the effects of an active vitamin D compound, paricalcitol, on left ventricular mas...
Congressmen demand faster publication of trial data after BMJ revealed long d...
Three members of the US House of Representatives have written to the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration expressing concern that the results of clinical studies are not...
Influence of definition based versus pragmatic birth registration on internat...
Objectives - To examine variations in the registration of extremely low birthweight and early gestation births and to assess their effect on perinatal and infant mortality rankings of industrialised...
But some things improve with age
In their study of the timing of the onset of cognitive decline in the Whitehall II cohort, Singh-Manoux and colleagues emphasise decline and ignore the gains that occur with ageing.1 They do not mention that vocabulary increases in most of the analyses reported. Three of the four analyses that contr...
Intellectual functions may be slower but no worse with age
The research article by Singh-Manoux and colleagues has widely been reported as providing evidence for rapid decline in cognitive ability from age 45 years.1 However, all tasks were administered with very tight time limits (and often required writing responses), except for the vocabulary test, which...
Cognitive decline may be invariable with ageing
Singh-Manoux and colleagues state, although they did not provide the results in the supplementary material, that education had no influence on the rate of decline of executive function?about 3% per decade.1 Given that, as a risk factor, level of education has the greatest influence on all cause mort...
Authors' reply to Harwood, McCarthy, and Franke
The over-riding concern about our paper is that it propagates the tradition of emphasising decline and ignoring gains that occur with ageing.1 2 3 4 This was not our intention. We wanted to answer an important research question of whether cognitive decline occurs before the age of 60, and we had the...
Bans and labelling helped to reduce Americans' trans fat levels by 58%
Concentrations of trans fats in the blood of US citizens have plummeted in the past decade as local bans and a national labelling requirement have largely driven the unhealthy ingredient from food in restaurants and on supermarket shelves, shows a study.Researchers from the Centers for Disease Contr...

Biomarkers and Aging in the News Media

Sleeping pills pose 'death risk'
Commonly prescribed sleeping pills appear to be linked with an increased risk of death among users, researchers have found.
Alzheimer's: Trouble sleeping could affect memory later on
People who have trouble sleeping may be at higher risk of developing memory problems, new research shows. Also, those who woke frequently in the night had a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
Nearly 1 in 20 US adults over 50 have fake knees
Nearly 1 in 20 Americans older than 50 have artificial knees, or more than 4 million people, according to the first national estimate showing how common these replacement joints have become in an aging population....
Seniors show greater life satisfaction than young people, study suggests
Healthy older adults reported less negative thinking compared to other age groups, leading to greater life satisfaction in seniors. The study examined the complex relationship between aging and factors leading to depression. Research suggests differences in the way age groups think can influence the onset of depression. Sufferers of negative thinking, or brooding, tend to fixate on their problems and feelings without taking action, which can intensify depressive moods and lead to the onset of de...
Finding love has no expiration date: People over 60 are fastest growing demog...
People may think that online dating is only for the young, but individuals over the age of 60 are the fastest growing demographic in online dating. However, they may be looking for different qualities in their relationships than their younger counterparts.
Are rich people more unethical?
Since the economic implosion of 2008, the news has been littered with accounts of questionable behavior in boardrooms and corner offices. But are white-collar criminals simply examples of a bigger trend?
Study: Colonoscopy cuts colon cancer death risk
Millions of people have endured a colonoscopy, believing the dreaded exam may help keep them from dying of colon cancer. For the first time, a major study offers clear evidence that it does....
Omega-3 Fatty Acid Levels Linked to Brain Performance
A study of older adults finds that those with higher omega-3 fatty acid levels had larger brain volume and performed better in tests of mental acuity.
Diet Soft Drinks Linked to Risk of Heart Disease
A study of 2,564 adults found a link, even when controlling for other variables. But researchers caution against alarm, saying the reason for the link is not clear.
Food Dyes Suspected Of Causing Behavioral Problems In Kids
Concerns about synthetic food dyes led many manufacturers in Europe to stop using then. But as CBS 2's Mary Kay Kleist reports, the dyes are used here in everything from cereal to crackers to toothpaste.
Fructose Consumption Increases Visceral Fat, Study Reports
Fructose consumption may increase cardiovascular risk factors because it increases visceral fat, the kind that accumulates around internal organs.
Overeating may double odds of memory loss in elderly
Those who consumed most calories had highest risk for memory loss, study found
In Theory: Aging of Eyes Is Blamed in Circadian Rhythm Disturbances
New research supports a largely unrecognized culprit in circadian rhythm disturbances: the gradual yellowing of the lens and the narrowing of the pupil that come with age.
Air pollution linked to cognitive decline in women
A large, prospective study indicates that chronic exposure to particulate air pollution may accelerate cognitive decline in older adults.
Teenage brains most vulnerable to concussions
Teens may be more vulnerable to the effects of concussions than either adults or younger children, a new study says.
Overly Strict, Controlling Parents Risk Raising Delinquent Kids
Many parents may think that taking a hard line with their kids will keep them on the straight and narrow, but a new study suggests this is not always the case.
Both maternal and paternal age linked to autism
Older maternal and paternal age are jointly associated with having a child with autism, according to a recent study.
Pregnancy-related complications predict CVD in middle age
Women who developed pregnancy-related hypertension (preeclampsia) or diabetes were at increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) later in life. Preeclampsia was associated with a wider range of CVD risk factors and may be a better predictor of CVD in middle age than other pregnancy-related complications. Pregnancy may provide an opportunity to identify women at increased risk of CVD when they're relatively young -- allowing them to make lifestyle changes and get medical intervention earlier ...
Stress changes how people make decisions
Trying to make a big decision while you're also preparing for a scary presentation? You might want to hold off on that. Feeling stressed changes how people weigh risk and reward. A new article published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, reviews how, under stress, people pay more attention to the upside of a possible outcome.
Deaths triple among football players, morning temperatures thought to play a ...
Heat-related deaths among football players across the country tripled to nearly three per year between 1994 and 2009 after averaging about one per year the previous 15 years, according to an analysis of weather conditions and high school and college sports data. The study found for the eastern US, where most deaths occurred, morning heat index values were consistently higher in the latter half of the 30-year study period.
Mentally ill 'face violence risk'
Mentally ill people are four times more likely to be a victim of violence, according to an international study.
Disabled Adults at Higher Risk for Violence
Adults with disabilities are more likely to be victims of violence than adults who are not disabled, according to a new study published online in The Lancet.
Immortal worms defy ageing
Researchers have demonstrated how a species of flatworm overcomes the ageing process to be potentially immortal.
Human Lifespans Lengthening, But How Long Is Too Long?
Scientists are making huge advances in the lab. But work like that isn't considered mainstream. And not everyone believes science should control our destiny or that living past 100 is a good idea.
Living to age 100 may not  be as easy as once believed
Decades-old assumptions about the odds of reaching very old age may be wrong, which could put 100 out of reach for many seniors, a new study finds.
Heart Disease Risk May Be Tied to Y Chromosome
Men's higher risk for heart disease may result in part from genetic variants on the one chromosome unique to men, researchers have found.

NIH Press Releases

Variation in brain development seen in infants with autism
Patterns of brain development in the first two years of life are distinct in children who are later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), according to researchers in a network funded by the National Institutes of Health. The study results show differences in brain structure at 6 months of age, the earliest such structural changes have been recorded in ASDs.
NIDA creates easy-to-read website on drug abuse
A new, easy-to-read website on drug abuse designed for adults with a low reading literacy level (eighth grade or below) was launched today by the National Institute on Drug Abuse(NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health.
Drug halts organ damage in inflammatory genetic disorder
A new study shows that Kineret (anakinra), a medication approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, is effective in stopping the progression of organ damage in people with neonatal-onset multisystem inflammatory disease (NOMID). This rare and debilitating genetic disorder causes persistent inflammation and ongoing tissue damage. The research was performed by scientists at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), part of the National Institutes of Health.
NIH study links high levels of cadmium, lead in blood to pregnancy delay
Higher blood levels of cadmium in females, and higher blood levels of lead in males, delayed pregnancy in couples trying to become pregnant, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other academic research institutions.
Restricting calories early on does not help acute lung injury patients on ven...
Acute lung injury patients on ventilators who require a feeding tube have a similar number of ventilator-free hospital days and similar mortality rates if they receive a low-calorie feeding program initially followed by a full-calorie program compared to a full-calorie program right away. These results are part of a new clinical study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health.
New website: NIH Clinical Research Trials and You
The National Institutes of Health has created a new website, NIH Clinical Research Trials and You to help people learn more about clinical trials, why they matter, and how to participate.
Gene regulator in brain's executive hub tracked across lifespan -- NIH study
For the first time, scientists have tracked the activity, across the lifespan, of an environmentally responsive regulatory mechanism that turns genes on and off in the brain's executive hub. Among key findings of the study by National Institutes of Health scientists: genes implicated in schizophrenia and autism turn out to be members of a select club of genes in which regulatory activity peaks during an environmentally-sensitive critical period in development.
NIH study uncovers probable mechanism underlying resveratrol activity
National Institutes of Health researchers and their colleagues have identified how resveratrol, a naturally occurring chemical found in red wine and other plant products, may confer its health benefits.

NIH Announcements

NIMHD Social, Behavioral, Health Services, and Policy Research on Minority He...
Funding Opportunity RFA-MD-12-003 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to solicit innovative social, behavioral, health services, and policy research that can directly and demonstrably contribute to the elimination of health disparities. Projects may involve primary data collection or secondary analysis of existing datasets. Projects that examine understudied health conditions; examine the effectiveness of interventions, services, or policies for multiple health disparity populations; and/or directly measure the impact of project activities on levels of health disparities are particularly encouraged.
NIMHD Basic and Applied Biomedical Research on Minority Health and Health Dis...
Funding Opportunity RFA-MD-12-004 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is issued by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) to solicit innovative grant applications on: 1. Biological and genetic research to explore disease mechanisms or pathways that influence health outcomes in minority and health disparity populations. 2. Clinical and translational research linking basic science discovery with effective treatment or clinical practice. The overall goal of this initiative is to enhance our understanding of fundamental biological mechanisms involved in disease conditions and develop therapies or interventions that can directly or demonstrably contribute to the elimination of health disparities. Biological, genetic, clinical and translational research projects investigating the etiology, physiology, genetic risk factors, molecular pathways, gene-environmental interactions, pharmacogenomic and personalized medicine in health disparity populations are particularly encouraged.
Administrative Supplements to Existing NIH Grants and Cooperative Agreements(...
Funding Opportunity PA-12-100 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) hereby notify Principal Investigators holding specific types of NIH research grants, listed in the full Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) that funds may be available for administrative supplements to meet increased costs that are within the scope of the approved award, but that were unforeseen when the new or renewal application or grant progress report for non-competing continuation support was submitted.Applications for administrative supplements are considered prior approval requests (as described in Section of the NIH Grants Policy Statement) and will be routed directly to the Grants Management Officer of the parent award. Although requests for administrative supplements may be submitted through this FOA, there is no guarantee that funds are available from the awarding IC or for any specific grant. All applicants are encouraged to discuss potential requests with the awarding IC. Additionally, prior to submission, applicants must review the awarding IC's web site to ensure they meet the IC's requirements.A list of those web sites is available at
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
Small Grants Program for Cancer Epidemiology (R03)
Funding Opportunity PAR-12-039 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. This funding opportunity announcement (FOA), issued by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), encourages the submission of Small Research Grant (R03) applications for research on cancer etiology and epidemiology. The overarching goal of this FOA is to provide support for pilot projects, testing of new techniques, secondary analyses of existing data, development and validation of measurement methods, linkage of genetic polymorphisms with other variables related to cancer risk, and development of innovative projects for more comprehensive research in cancer etiology and epidemiology.
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.

Registration for the 2012 International Conference on Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling, and Prediction  is now open!
SBP12 will be held at the University of Maryland in College Park, MD April 2 - April 5, 2012.
Early bird registration ends March 16

NIH Videocasts:

Targeting Aging to Delay Multiple Chronic Diseases: A New Frontier
Geroscience Interest Group
Air date:  Thursday, March 08, 2012, 11:30:00 AM

Demystifying Medicine- Aging Gracefully
The course includes presentation of patients, pathology, diagnosis and therapy in the context of major disease problems and current research. Primarily directed toward Ph.D. students, fellows, and staff, it is also of interest to medical students and clinicians. The course is designed to help bridge the gap between advances in biology and their application to major human diseases. Each session includes clinical and basic science components which are presented by NIH staff and outside invit...
Air date:  Tuesday, March 06, 2012, 4:00:00 PM


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.

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

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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