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CCBAR Newsletter – January, 2010

Editors:  Natalia Gavrilova and Stacy Tessler Lindau

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

Ageing: Diet and longevity in the balance
Dietary restriction promotes longevity but impairs fecundity in many organisms. When the amino acids in a diet are fine-tuned, however, lifespan can be increased without loss of fecundity - at least in fruitflies.

Amino-acid imbalance explains extension of lifespan by dietary restriction in...

Biomarkers still off the mark for detecting breast cancer

Atherosclerosis: keep your macrophages in shape
Lipid accumulation leads to atherosclerosis partly by eliciting lethal levels of cellular stress in macrophages. A signaling pathway that drives such lipid-induced toxicity is now identified. The findings reveal a chaperoning function that might provide the clue needed to rescue this pathogenic effe...

Hypertension finds a new rhythm
Blood pressure oscillates with the circadian rhythm, and a molecular mechanism has now been discovered (pages 67-74). The results point to a new genetic risk factor for hypertension and to a potential new target against this condition.

Systemic inflammation as a confounding factor in cancer biomarker discovery a...
Cancer and inflammation are inextricably linked and cancer patients have local and systemic changes in inflammatory parameters. However, this crucial aspect of tumour biology is often overlooked in biomarker studies and needs to be urgently addressed.

Senescence in tumours: evidence from mice and humans
The importance of cellular senescence, which is a stress response that stably blocks proliferation, is increasingly being recognized. Senescence is prevalent in pre-malignant tumours, and progression to malignancy requires evading senescence. Malignant tumours, however, may still undergo senescence ...

Nutrition: Preventing falls in the elderly - benefits of vitamin D supplementat...
Ensuring elderly individuals maintain sufficient levels of vitamin D might help prevent falls in this vulnerable subgroup of the general population, according to the results of a meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal. Vitamin D deficiency contributes to the increased rate of falls

Ejaculate components delay reproductive senescence while elevating female rep...
Increased female reproductive rates usually result in accelerated senescence. This correlation provides a link between the evolutionary conflict of the...

The association between BMI and mortality using offspring BMI as an indicator...
Objectives To obtain valid estimates of the association between body mass index (BMI) and mortality by using offspring BMI as an instrumental variable for own BMI. Design Cohort study based on...

Icelandic genetic database not at risk from bankruptcy
Although the Icelandic genomics company deCODE has filed for bankruptcy, this does not, as you put it in your News story (Nature462, 401; 2009), leave the "fate of its valuable genetic database unclear".As chief executive of deCODE, I can state

Sociocultural epistasis and cultural exaptation in footbinding, marriage form...
Social theorists have long recognized that changes in social order have cultural consequences but have not been able to provide...

Social isolation dysregulates endocrine and behavioral stress while increasin...
In a life span study, we examined how the social environment regulates naturally occurring tumor development and malignancy in genetically...

Ginkgo biloba for Preventing Cognitive Decline in Older Adults: A Randomized ...
The herbal product Ginkgo biloba is taken frequently with the intention of improving cognitive health in aging. However, evidence from adequately powered clinical trials is lacking regarding its effect on long-term cognitive functioning.

Alzheimer disease: Neutral lipid accumulation in PBMCs'a biomarker for AD?
Monitoring neutral lipid accumulation in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) may allow early identification of a subset of asymptomatic, normal-weight individuals at risk of developing Alzheimer disease (AD), according to new evidence from Pani et al. Alterations of cholesterol homeostasis ...

Prevalence and Trends in Obesity Among US Adults, 1999-2008 [Original Contrib...
Context  The prevalence of obesity increased in the United States between 1976-1980 and 1988-1994 and again between 1988-1994 and 1999-2000.
Objective  To examine trends in obesity from 1999 through 2008 and the current prevalence of obesity and overweight for 2007-2008.

Prevalence of High Body Mass Index in US Children and Adolescents, 2007-2008 ...
Context  The prevalence of high body mass index (BMI) among children and adolescents in the United States appeared to plateau between 1999 and 2006.
Objectives  To provide the most recent estimates of high BMI among children and adolescents and high weight for recumbent length among infant...

Association of Marine Omega-3 Fatty Acid Levels With Telomeric Aging in Patie...
Context  Increased dietary intake of marine omega-3 fatty acids is associated with prolonged survival in patients with coronary heart disease. However, the mechanisms underlying this protective effect are poorly understood.
Objective  To investigate the association of omega-3 fatty acid bl...

Association of a Functional Polymorphism in the Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Pr...
Context  Polymorphisms in the cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) gene have been associated with exceptional longevity and lower cardiovascular risk, but associations with memory decline and dementia risk are unclear.
Objective  To test the hypothesis that a single-nucleotide polymor...

Methodological challenges of genome-wide association analysis in Africa
Medical research in Africa has yet to benefit from the advent of genome-wide association (GWA) analysis, partly because the genotyping tools and statistical methods that have been developed for European and Asian populations struggle to deal with the high levels of genome diversity and population

How culture shaped the human genome: bringing genetics and the human sciences...
Researchers from diverse backgrounds are converging on the view that human evolution has been shaped by gene-culture interactions. Theoretical biologists have used population genetic models to demonstrate that cultural processes can have a profound effect on human evolution, and anthropologists are ...

Biomarkers and Aging in the News Media

Alzheimer's may 'ward off cancer'
Alzheimer's disease is associated with a reduced risk of cancer and vice versa, a US study suggests.
Coffee may have health benefits and may not pose health risks for many people
Of all the relationships in my life, by far the most on-again, off-again has been with coffee: From that initial, tentative dalliance in college to a serious commitment during my first real reporting job to breaking up altogether when I got pregnant, only to fail miserably at quitting my daily la...
Heart Risk of Obesity Greater Than Thought
The link between obesity and death from heart disease may be even worse than previously thought, but health problems associated with being underweight may have been exaggerated, a new study shows.
How calorie-restricted diets fight obesity and extend life span
Scientists searching for the secrets of how calorie-restricted diets increase longevity are reporting discovery of proteins in the fat cells of human volunteers that change as pounds drop off. The proteins could become markers for monitoring or boosting the effectiveness of calorie-restricted diets -- the only scientifically proven way of extending life span in animals.
Citrus surprise: Vitamin C boosts the reprogramming of adult cells into stem ...
Famous for its antioxidant properties and role in tissue repair, vitamin C is touted as beneficial for illnesses ranging from the common cold to cancer and perhaps even for slowing the aging process. Now, a new study uncovers an unexpected new role for this natural compound: facilitating the generation of embryonic-like stem cells from adult cells.
Genetic causes identified for disturbances in lipid metabolism; implications ...
Scientists have identified new gene variants associated with disturbances in the lipid metabolism. Some of these common human gene variants are already known to be risk factors for diabetes mellitus.
Couch potatoes may have shorter lives
Lounging in front of the tube not only eats up hours in your day, it may also shorten your life, according to a new study.
New Airport Scanners: Radiation Risk Tiny
Radiation from new imaging scanners isn't dangerous, says the American College of Radiology. It's as much radiation as you get flying in an airplane for two minutes.
New Brain Scan May Predict Alzheimer's
A new imaging technique that measures the random motion of water within the brain may prove useful for detecting early signs of Alzheimer's disease.
Quitting Smoking Carries Diabetes Risk
Cigarette smoking is linked to an increased risk of diabetes, but quitting the habit, ironically, may increase diabetes risk in the short term, a new study says.
Excess protein in urine is indicator of heart disease risk in whites, but not...
The cardiovascular risk that is associated with proteinuria, or high levels of protein in the urine, a common test used by doctors as an indicator of increased risk for progressive kidney disease, heart attack and stroke, has race-dependent effects, according to a new study.
Women's Scent Triggers Hormone Surge in Men
The scent of an ovulating woman is enough to trigger a surge of testosterone in men and may affect mating behavior.
Sex Good for Men's Hearts, Study Shows
Guys Having It at Least Twice a Week Cut Risk of Serious Cardiac Woes Almost in Half, Research Indicates
Stress of Caregiving Linked to Stroke Risk
Caregivers who find their responsibilities highly stressful may be at increased risk for stroke, according to a new study.
BPA May Be Linked to Heart Disease Risk
Nearly everybody in the U.S. has the plastics chemical BPA in their bodies. Those with the highest BPA levels have the highest risk of heart disease, new data confirms.
'Longevity' Gene May Cut Dementia Risk
The so-called "longevity gene" may help stave off age-related cognitive decline, a study shows.
Opinion: Uncovering secrets to a longer life
In the same way organisms select for characteristics that favor the survival and well-being of its species over successive generations, so too do cultures. With organisms, we call this process evolution and it represents a sort of accumulated wisdom. There is no word for this process in cultures, but there is one for the result. And that word is tradition.
Low Vitamin D Has a Role in Heart Risk
Low levels of vitamin D may help explain why African-Americans are more likely than whites to die of heart attacks and strokes, a study shows.
Mice and humans with same anxiety-related gene abnormality behave similarly
Studying animals in behavioral experiments has been a cornerstone of psychological research, but whether the observations are relevant for human behavior has been unclear. Researchers have now identified an alteration to the DNA of a gene that imparts similar anxiety-related behavior in both humans and mice, demonstrating that laboratory animals can be accurately used to study these human behaviors.
Gene linked to schizophrenia may reduce cancer risk
A specific form of a gene that puts people on the road to schizophrenia may protect against some forms of cancer.
Blueberry Juice May Boost Memory
A new study shows drinking a daily dose of wild blueberry juice improved the memory of older adults with age-related memory problems.
Vitamin D May Lower Colon Cancer Risk
People with abundant levels of vitamin D -- the so-called sunshine vitamin -- may have a much lower risk of colon cancer, a study shows.
Chemical May Be Linked to Thyroid Disease
A chemical compound used to make non-stick cookware, food wrappers, and water-resistant coatings for carpets and fabrics has been linked to an increased risk for thyroid disease in an early study.

NIH Press Releases

NIH to Hold Press Telebriefing on February 4 following State-of-the-Science C...
Although colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, screening for this disease is currently underutilized among eligible individuals. An NIH State-of-the-Science Conference on Enhancing Use and Quality of Colorectal Cancer Screening will be held February 2-4, 2010.

National Library of Medicine Launches Mobile MedlinePlus to Meet the Health I...
Wondering what the side effects are for your new prescription? Go to Mobile MedlinePlus while you're waiting for the pharmacist to fill your order! Or, instantly look up the symptoms of H1N1 flu if you're at the supermarket and your child's school calls you to tell you he doesn't feel well. The National Library of Medicine's Mobile Medline Plus builds on the NLM's MedlinePlus Internet service, which provides authoritative consumer health information to over 10 million visitors per month.

COPD, Even When Mild, Limits Heart Function
A common lung condition, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) diminishes the heart's ability to pump effectively even when the disease has no or mild symptoms, according to research published in the Jan. 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study is the first time researchers have shown strong links between heart function and mild COPD. The research was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health.

Newly Identified Genes Influence Insulin and Glucose Regulation
An international research consortium has found 13 new genetic variants that influence blood glucose regulation, insulin resistance, and the function of insulin-secreting beta cells in populations of European descent. Five of the newly discovered variants increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes.

Hypothermia: Staying Safe in Cold Weather
Frigid weather can pose special risks to older adults. The National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, has some advice for helping older people avoid hypothermia -- when the body gets too cold -- during cold weather.

Diet May Protect Against Gene Changes in Smokers
Leafy green vegetables, folate, and some multivitamins could serve as protective factors against lung cancer in current and former smokers, according to a study that is a first step in understanding a complex association. The study was supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health. The study appeared online Jan. 12, 2010, in Cancer Research.

Molecule Repairs Alcohol Metabolism Enzyme
An experimental compound repaired a defective alcohol metabolism enzyme that affects an estimated 1 billion people worldwide, according to research supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). The findings, published Jan. 10, 2010 in the advance online edition of Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, suggest the possibility of a treatment to reduce the health problems associated with the enzyme defect.

Small Changes in Protein Chemistry Play Large Role in Huntington's Disease
In Huntington's disease, a mutated protein in the body becomes toxic to brain cells. Recent studies have demonstrated that a small region adjacent to the mutated segment plays a major role in the toxicity. Two new studies supported by the National Institutes of Health show that very slight changes to this region can eliminate signs of Huntington's disease in mice.

Survival of Children with HIV in the United States Has Improved Dramatically ...
The death rates of children with HIV have decreased ninefold since doctors started prescribing cocktails of antiretroviral drugs in the mid-1990s, concludes a large-scale study of the long-term outcomes of children and adolescents with HIV in the United States. In spite of this improvement, however, young people with HIV continue to die at 30 times the rate of youth of similar age who do not have HIV, found researchers from the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.

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

Recovery Act Limited Competition: NIH Basic Behavioral and Social Science Opportunity Network (OppNet) Short-term Mentored Career Development Awards
in the Basic Behavioral and Social Sciences for Mid-career and Senior Investigators (K18)

Expires: 2010/02/19
ARRAOS: Recovery Act Limited Competition: Behavioral Economics for Nudging the Implementation of Comparative Effectiveness Research: Clinical Trials (RC4)
Expires: 2010/04/08

Recovery Act Limited Competition: Methodology Development in Comparative Effectiveness Research (RC4)
Expires: 2010/02/27
ARRAOS: Recovery Act Limited Competition: Behavioral Economics for Nudging the Implementation of Comparative Effectiveness Research: Pilot Research (RC4)
Expires: 2010/03/20
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


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

Genomics Workshop - Demography of Aging Centers Biomarker Network Meeting at PAA, Hyatt Regency Dallas, TX
Attendance is limited to 50 people.  Those interested in attending should email Eileen Crimmins ( by March 1st, 2010.

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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