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CCBAR Newsletter – February-March, 2010

Editors:  Natalia Gavrilova and Stacy Tessler Lindau


In February, CCBAR provided training for dried blood spot collection for an NIH-funded, population-based study seeking to validate dried blood spot measures against venipuncture values. For the first time, this training session was opened to community members affiliated with the South Side Chicago Health and Vitality Studies.  One community member, a youth sports coach interested in how health research can benefit the community, joined the session and learned the principles and techniques of dried blood spot collection.  He did not have medical training but was able to participate in both blood collection and “donation” during the training.  He reported after the training: “The Blood Spot Training was important information to know. Learning about the proper techniques of drawing good blood samples and communicating with patients to make the process easier was beneficial. I know how the process should be administered now. This experience provided valuable insight for my future reference. Thank you for the opportunity to participate" - Albert "Coach" Williams.

CCBAR is actively seeking opportunities to incorporate community members into its training, research and networking opportunities.  We would also like to learn about other studies or centers taking a similar approach.  Please write to the CCBAR editors with your comments: or

CCBAR is also seeking to identify population-based biosocial studies with experimental or quasi-experimental design.  Please contact us if your work qualifies.

For more information about the Chicago Core on Biomeasures in Population-Based Aging and Health Research:
For more information about the South Side Health and Vitality Studies:

In March 2010 British Medical Journal has published an article "Sex, health, and years of sexually active life gained due to good health: Evidence from two US population based cross sectional surveys of ageing" by Drs. Stacy Lindau and Natalia Gavrilova. The article provides data on links between various aspects of sexuality and self-rated health among older men and women in two large population-based surveys (MIDUS and NSHAP). The article can be found at: The article is accompanied by an editorial "Sexual activity in middle to later life" by Professor Patricia Goodson.  The authors are working on a Wikipedia entry to add Sexually Active Life Expectancy to the “life expectancy” page and the “sexual health” page of Wikipedia. Incidentally, the “life expectancy” page is flagged by Wikipedia as needing “clean up.” Experts, please contribute!

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

Systemic signals regulate ageing and rejuvenation of blood stem cell niches

Coronary artery disease: Niacin combined with statin treatment reduces caroti...
According to recent evidence from the ARBITER 6-HALTS trial, treatment with extended-release niacin, in combination with statin therapy, significantly increases HDL-cholesterol levels and causes a small, but significant, reduction in carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) in comparison with treatment...

Vascular disease: Benefits of raising HDL-cholesterol levels
Several population studies have demonstrated that increased HDL-cholesterol (C) levels are associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular (CV) events. However, trial data on the value of increasing HDL-C levels to reduce CV events have provided conflicting results. Steven Grover and colleagues thus ...

Bone: Hip fracture risk and cardiovascular disease
A diagnosis of cardiovascular disease is strongly associated with an increased risk of hip fracture, and this association seems to be mediated by genetic factors, say researchers from Sweden.A cohort of 15,968 Swedish twin pairs born between 1914 and 1944 and alive in 1972

Evolution in Health and Medicine Sackler Colloquium: Genetic variation in hum...
Telomere length in humans is emerging as a biomarker of aging because its shortening is associated with aging-related diseases and...

Evolution in Health and Medicine Sackler Colloquium: Evolution of the human l...
Humans have evolved much longer lifespans than the great apes, which rarely exceed 50 years. Since 1800, lifespans have doubled...

Colloquium Papers: Transfers and transitions: Parent-offspring conflict, geno...
Human offspring are weaned earlier than the offspring of other great apes but take longer to reach nutritional independence. An...

Colloquium Papers: Heritability of reproductive fitness traits in a human pop...
The genetic basis of fitness traits has been studied widely in animals, yet the contribution of genetic variation to these...

Colloquium Papers: Natural selection in a contemporary human population [Coll...
Our aims were to demonstrate that natural selection is operating on contemporary humans, predict future evolutionary change for specific traits...

Dementia: Biomarker profiles in HIV-associated cognitive disorders and Alzhei...
The pathophysiology of cognitive dysfunction in individuals with HIV, although seemingly exacerbated by age, is poorly understood. Limited evidence suggests that the mechanisms that underlie HIV-associated cognitive disorders resemble aspects of the molecular pathology of Alzheimer disease (AD). A n...

The risk of a wrong conclusion: On testosterone and gender differences in ris...
Reply to Joel and Tarrasch: On the relationship between testosterone, gender,.

Conclusion by exclusion
Systems models and biomarker studies both pose the problem of wrangling high information content. Such publications can be made easier to review and to use if they propose explicit alternative hypotheses and show experimental exclusion of each competing explanation. In practice, we will need to be a...

Label-free biomarker detection from whole blood
A biosensor containing a microfluidic purification chip that supplies a downstream nanoribbon-detector can detect disease biomarkers in samples of whole blood.

Coronary artery disease: Cardiovascular risk is increasing among middle-aged ...
Since the late 1980s, the prevalence of coronary artery disease and myocardial infarction (MI) has declined in middle-aged men, but increased among middle-aged women. These worrisome findings have been reported by Amytis Towfighi and colleagues from California, USA.Historically, premenopausal women ...

Childhood Obesity, Other Cardiovascular Risk Factors, and Premature Death
This study examined body-mass index, glucose tolerance, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels in American Indian children without diabetes who were then followed to adulthood. Obesity, glucose intolerance, and hypertension in childhood were strongly associated with premature death from endogenous c...

TSH levels affect mobility in old age
Mild subclinical hypothyroidism may delay decline in functional mobility in elderly individuals, according to findings from Eleanor Simonsick and colleagues as part of the Health, Ageing and Body Composition study. "Our findings, taken together with other work conducted exclusively on older adults, ...

Alzheimer disease: Cancer link to Alzheimer disease, but not vascular dementia
A team led by Cathy Roe at Washington University School of Medicine has found an association between Alzheimer disease (AD) and cancer risk, with the presence of one condition reducing the chances of subsequent diagnosis of the other. Common neurodegenerative mechanisms underlying cancer and AD

Cerebrospinal fluid and plasma biomarkers in Alzheimer disease
Intense multidisciplinary research has provided detailed knowledge of the molecular pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease (AD). This knowledge has been translated into new therapeutic strategies with putative disease-modifying effects. Several of the most promising approaches, such as amyloid-? immunoth...

Stroke: Common pathogens increase stroke risk
Results from the Northern Manhattan Study show that infectious disease burden is significantly associated with an increased risk of stroke. ?There is evidence that chronic infections may be a contributing risk factor to vascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke, and we had a

Promoting social behavior with oxytocin in high-functioning autism spectrum d...
Social adaptation requires specific cognitive and emotional competences. Individuals with high-functioning autism or with Asperger syndrome cannot understand or engage...

Glycated Hemoglobin, Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Risk in Nondiabetic Adults
This community-based study of nondiabetic adults compared the prognostic value of glycated hemoglobin and fasting glucose for identifying persons at risk for clinical outcomes such as diabetes. As compared with fasting glucose, glycated hemoglobin was similarly associated with the risk of diabetes a...

Effects of Obesity and Smoking on U.S. Life Expectancy
To the Editor: Mortality from adult obesity and from persistent smoking have already been reliably assessed in studies of tens ...

Projected Effect of Dietary Salt Reductions on Future Cardiovascular Disease
The salt intake of the U.S. population is rising. Using the Coronary Heart Disease Policy Model, these investigators found that a reduction in salt intake of 3 g per day would result in substantial reductions in the incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke, and death. A more modest reduction of 1...

Biomarkers and Aging in the News Media

Early exposure to germs may lower heart attack risk
Genes reveal 'biological ageing'
Scientists say they have pinpointed gene variants that might show how fast people's bodies are ageing.
Fish oils 'beat mental illness'
Taking a daily fish oil capsule can stave off mental illness in those at highest risk, trial findings suggest.
Longer life 'lived in bad health'
Attempts to encourage healthier lifestyles risk just adding extra years of poor health to life, experts say.
Grandparents 'boost obesity risk'
Young children regularly looked after by their grandparents have an increased risk of being overweight, a UK study suggests.
Child Obesity Risks Death at Early Age, Study Finds
A study found an increased risk of early death among youngsters with pre-diabetes and high blood pressure, but obesity was the factor most associated with death before 55.
Neighborhood socioeconomic status and diabetes
Researchers have found a direct link between neighborhood socioeconomic status and risk for type 2 diabetes in African American women. The study is the first prospective study to examine the relationship between neighborhood socioeconomic status and incidence of type 2 diabetes in a large, geographically diverse cohort of African-American women.
Gout Raises Women's Heart Attack Risk
Women with gout may face an even greater risk of heart attack as a result of their condition than men.
Study: Older moms' kids have higher autism risk
A 10-year study examining 4.9 million births in the 1990s has found more evidence that there's a link between autism and the mother's age at conception.
Oxytocin Hormone May Treat Autism
Oxytocin -- the so-called hormone of love -- may help promote social skills and social behavior in people with high-functioning autism, a study shows.
Autism's earliest symptoms not evident in children under 6 months
A study of the development of autism in infants, comparing the behavior of the siblings of children diagnosed with autism to that of babies developing normally, has found that the nascent symptoms of the condition.
Stress hormone may be key to alcoholism
Researchers are linking a stress hormone to alcoholism in animals, and they report that blocking it could become a strategy to ...
Adults may need less sleep as they age
How much sleep we need is largely a mystery, and sleep seems tougher to come by as we age. Many studies ? often funded by the pharmaceutical industry ? have suggested that we're all sleep-deprived zombies, risking our health for lack of shut-eye.
Study: Soda Linked to Pancreatic Cancer
People Who Drink as Few as Two Soft Drinks a Week Face Nearly Twice the Risk of Developing Deadly Cancer, Study Finds
Heart Risk From Prostate Cancer Hormone Therapy
Androgen-blocking hormone therapy for prostate cancer may raise the risk of heart disease, warns an expert panel representing heart, cancer, and urology organizations.
Overweight Older People Live Longer
People who carry a few extra pounds after age 70 tend to live longer than people who don?t, new research finds.
Magnesium May Improve Memory
A new study suggests that increasing your consumption of magnesium, an essential mineral found in dark leafy vegetables and certain fruits, beans, and nuts, may help combat memory lapses associated with aging.
Brain arousal heightens sexual activity in male mice
The most powerful sexual organ, it's said, is the brain. Now here's the evidence. New research shows that an overly excitable brain hastens sexual activity in male mice and increases their nervous energy, a finding that not only points to the existence of a central brain mechanism that gives rise to all behaviors but also begins to untangle the driving force behind all motivational and emotional states.
Dogs may provide an excellent model for understanding human complex diseases
Researchers in Sweden and Finland have found several genes that lead to increased risk for a systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)-like autoimmune disorder in dogs. This is the first time scientists have found genes behind such a complex disease. The study indicates that the homogeneity of strong genetic risk factors within dog breeds make dogs an excellent model in which to identify pathways involved in human complex diseases. The results of the study also open the door for further studies of spec...
Overweight in 20s Could Lead to Serious Problems in 40s
People who are obese and have type 2 diabetes in their 20s will be at higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke in their 40s if they do not change their lifestyle.
Different colors describe happiness, depression
Are you in a gray mood today? How about a blue funk? Maybe you're seeing red, because you're green with jealousy. The colors we use to describe emotions may be more useful than you think, according to new research.
Poor hand-grip strength associated with poor survival
Poor or declining hand-grip strength in the oldest old is associated with poor survival and may be used as a tool to assess mortality, found a new article. The fastest growing segment of the elderly population is the group older than 85 years, classified as the oldest old.
Mediterranean diet may lower risk of brain damage that causes thinking problems
A Mediterranean diet may help people avoid the small areas of brain damage that can lead to problems with thinking and memory, according to a new study.
Men 'need better-fitting condoms'
Badly fitted condoms don't just reduce the pleasure of sex - they increase the risks of infection and pregnancy, researchers say.
Early balding 'cuts cancer risk'
Men who start going bald at a young age are up to 45% less likely to get prostate cancer in later life, a study has found.
No quick fix for diabetes risk
Exercise and diet are key to prevent diabetes in high-risk people, say experts who found two medicines offer no benefit.
Study: 60% of U.S. Adults are Drinkers
Health Behavior Survey Also Finds 6 in 10 Are Overweight or Obese, 20 Percent are Smokers
Stressed Men Fancy Someone Different
Men under stress are more attracted to females who don't look like them
Vitamin D Supplements Lower Heart Disease Risk
Extra sunshine and vitamin D supplements may help ward off heart disease in people with low vitamin D levels.
New Genetic Autism Test Beats Older Tests
A new genetic test for autism, known as chromosomal microarray analysis (CMA), finds more genetic abnormalities than two older tests, a study shows.
Occasional High Blood Pressure Risky, Too?
Occasional high blood pressure readings are often ignored as nothing to worry about, but a new study suggests this episodic high blood pressure is a strong predictor of strokes.
Parents' Strokes Raise Risks for Offspring
Odds of having a stroke are higher for people whose fathers or mothers suffered one by the age of 65, a new study suggests.
Erectile dysfunction strong predictor of death, cardiovascular outcomes
Men with cardiovascular disease and erectile dysfunction (ED) are at higher risk for death from all causes and also are more likely to suffer cardiovascular death, heart attack, stroke and heart failure hospitalization, according to a new study. Treatments effective in reducing cardiovascular disease had no effect on ED. Erectile dysfunction should be considered a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, researchers said.

NIH Press Releases

NIA Funds Centers to Study Demography of Aging
The National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, today announced that it has committed more than $36.7 million over the next five years to support and expand its Centers on the Demography and Economics of Aging. The Centers form a network of universities and organizations leading innovative studies on the characteristics of the aging population. The awards, which include some support from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, renewed support for 11 Centers and established three new ones.

NIA Funds Roybal Centers for Translational Research in Aging
The National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, today announced that it has renewed funding for nine Edward R. Roybal Centers for Research on Applied Gerontology and designated four new centers. The goal of the centers is to move promising social and behavioral research findings out of the laboratory and into programs and practices that will improve the lives of older people and help society adapt to an aging population. The centers focus on a range of projects, including maintaining mobility and physical function, enhancing driving performance, understanding financial and medical decision making, and sharpening cognitive function.

NIH to Hold Press Telebriefing on February 24 following Consensus Development...
Infants of every racial and ethnic group worldwide produce lactase, an enzyme required to successfully digest the lactose present in human milk or infant formulas. However, by the time many of the world's children reach the age of three to four years, expression of intestinal lactase ceases, often causing gas production, bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Health care providers are concerned that individuals avoiding fortified dairy products may not be meeting recommended intakes of calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients, which may have effects on bone health throughout the lifecycle.

Researchers Discover First Genes for Stuttering
Stuttering may be the result of a glitch in the day-to-day process by which cellular components in key regions of the brain are broken down and recycled, says a study in the Feb. 10 Online First issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study, led by researchers at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), part of the National Institutes of Health, has identified three genes as a source of stuttering in volunteers in Pakistan, the United States, and England.

Panel Calls for Reducing Colorectal Cancer Deaths by Striking Down Barriers t...
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Despite evidence and guidelines supporting the value of screening for this disease, rates of screening for colorectal cancer are consistently lower than those for other types of cancer, particularly breast and cervical. Although the screening rates in the target population of adults over age 50, have increased from 20-30 percent in 1997 to nearly 55 percent in 2008 - the rates are still too low. An NIH state-of-the-science panel was convened this week to identify ways to further increase the use and quality of colorectal cancer screening in the United States.

NIH Scientists Identify Maternal and Fetal Genes That Increase Preterm Birth ...
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have identified DNA variants in mothers and fetuses that appear to increase the risk for preterm labor and delivery. The DNA variants were in genes involved in the regulation of inflammation and of the extracellular matrix, the mesh-like material that holds cells within tissues.

SIDS Linked to Low Levels of Serotonin
The brains of infants who die of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) produce low levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that conveys messages between cells and plays a vital role in regulating breathing, heart rate, and sleep, reported researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Even With Heart Disease Awareness on the Rise, Prevention Remains Critically ...
In recognition of American Heart Month, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and its heart disease awareness campaign -- The Heart Truth -- is reminding all American women that heart disease prevention remains critically important, despite that fact that awareness is at an all time high. More women than ever know that heart disease is their leading killer, yet millions of women are at risk, at increasingly younger ages.

Antibodies Against Abnormal Glycoproteins Identified as Possible Biomarkers f...
Scientists have found that cancer patients produce antibodies that target abnormal glycoproteins (proteins with sugar molecules attached) made by their tumors. The result of this work suggests that antitumor antibodies in the blood may provide a fruitful source of sensitive biomarkers for cancer detection. The study, supported in part by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, appears in the Feb. 15, 2010 issue of the journal Cancer Research.

Impulsive-Antisocial Personality Traits Linked to a Hypersensitive Brain Rewa...
Normal individuals who scored high on a measure of impulsive/antisocial traits display a hypersensitive brain reward system, according to a brain imaging study by researchers at Vanderbilt University. The findings provide the first evidence of differences in the brain's reward system that may underlie vulnerability to what's typically referred to as psychopathy.

Landmark ACCORD Trial Finds Intensive Blood Pressure and Combination Lipid Th...
Lowering blood pressure to normal levels -- below currently recommended levels -- did not significantly reduce the combined risk of fatal or nonfatal cardiovascular disease events in adults with type 2 diabetes who were at especially high risk for cardiovascular disease events, according to new results from the landmark Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) clinical trial. Similarly, treating multiple blood lipids with combination drug therapy of a fibrate and a statin did not reduce the combined risk of cardiovascular disease events more than treatment with statin alone. The study of more than 10,000 participants is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

NIH Announcements

Restructured Application Forms and Instructions for Submissions for FY2011 Fu...
Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts
Change in Application Submission Package and Clarification of Research Strate...
Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts

Scientific Meetings for Creating Interdisciplinary Research Teams (R13)
ARRAOS: Recovery Act Limited Competition: Behavioral Economics for Nudging the Implementation of Comparative Effectiveness Research: Clinical Trials (RC4)

Expires: 2010/04/08

Development, Application, and Evaluation of Prediction Models for Cancer Risk...
Program Announcement from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts
Development, Application, and Evaluation of Prediction Models for Cancer Risk...
Program Announcement from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts
Obesity Policy Research: Evaluation and Measures (R01)
Program Announcement from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts
Obesity Policy Research: Evaluation and Measures (R21)
Program Announcement from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts
Obesity Policy Research: Evaluation and Measures (R03)
Program Announcement from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts

Next Generation Genetic Association Studies (U01)
Request for Applications from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts


NIH videocasts:

Memory and the Aging Brain
The NIH Director's Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series includes weekly scientific talks by some of the top researchers in the biomedical sciences worldwide.
Air date: 3/17/2010 3:00:00 PM Eastern Time
New Models for Large Prospective Studies
Large prospective, population-based cohorts are the optimal design for defining disease burden and studying the many genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors that underlie human disease. Leveraging or expanding existing efforts to establish a large-scale population cohort may serve to create a much needed national research resource with which to examine genetic and environmental contributions to disease and advance personalized medicine. The symposium, organized by the NIH Office of the ...
NIH State-of-the-Science Conference: Preventing Alzheimer's Disease and Cognitive Decline
   Day 1 - Air date: Monday, April 26, 2010, 8:30:00 AM
   Day 2 - Air date: Tuesday, April 27, 2010, 8:30:00 AM
   Day 3 - Air date: Wednesday, April 28, 2010, 9:00:00 AM


2010 Population Association of America Annual meeting will be held April 15-17 at the Hyatt Regency Dallas, TX

April 14, 2010 - Genomics Workshop - Demography of Aging Centers Biomarker Network Meeting, Hyatt Regency Dallas, TX
Attendance is limited to 50 people (Contact Eileen Crimmins

2010 American Geriatrics Society Annual Scientific Meeting, May 12 - 15, 2010 Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel Orlando, FL

The 22nd REVES meeting on health expectancy will be held in La Habana, Cuba, from May 19th to May 21st 2010

Gerontological Society of America's 63rd Annual Scientific Meeting, November 19-23, 2010, Hilton, New Orleans Riverside, New Orleans, LA.
Abstracts Deadline: March 15, 2010

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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