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CCBAR Newsletter – March, 2011

Editors:  Natalia Gavrilova and Stacy Tessler Lindau

CCBAR Questions and Answers this Month:

Q: Is there any published  material that distinguishes between biomarkers and biological risk factors?

A: The term “biomarker,” and related terms “biomeasure” or “bioindicator” are typically used more broadly than the term “biological risk factor.”  For example, cortisol is used as biomarker of psychosocial stress, but has a key role in normal physiology and may be a biomeasure of physiological function.  Anthrax is an exogenous biological risk factor for infection, disease, and death, but would not typically be referred to as a bioindicator or biomarker.  Hypercholesterolemia is an endogenous biological risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In the case of cholesterol, an elevated level can also be considered a biomarker or bioindicator of cardiovascular risk. 

NAS published several volumes on biomeasures, which can be accessed online. References to these editions are available at CCBAR website (under featured books):

Additional information on biomarker definitions is available under "NIH Resources" on this webpage.

There is a special publication on biomarker definition (Biomarkers Definitions Working Group. Biomarkers and surrogate endpoints: Preferred definitions and conceptual framework. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics (2001) 69, 89-95):

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

Aging in the Natural World: Comparative Data Reveal Similar Mortalit...
Aging patterns in humans fall within the parameters of other primates in natural populations.
Aping Aging
Human beings are considered distinct from other primates for a host of traits, including how we age. A long-term study of several primate groups in their natural habitat by Bronikowski
Animal behaviour: Chickens feel for each other
Rats and mice show changes in behaviour when they see close relatives in distress. It seems that chickens might also display signs of empathy - an ability to share another's emotional state. If farm animals empathize more widely with their fellows, farmers may need to
Personalized cancer medicine: era of promise and progress
Nowhere has the evolution of personalized medicine been more rapid than the field of oncology. Advances in drug development, identification of multiple disease subtypes, and available high-throughput technologies have allowed treatment progress and a better understanding of cancer heterogeneity. Suc...
Taming the dragon: genomic biomarkers to individualize the treatment of cancer
Antihypertensive Treatment and Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease...
: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk increases beginning at systolic blood pressure levels of 115 mm Hg. Use of antihypertensive medications among patients with a history of CVD or diabetes and without hypertension has been debated.
: To evaluate the effect of antihypertensive treatment...
Stroke: Discontinuation of low-dose acetylsalicylic acid therapy increases th...
New research has revealed that in patients with a history of cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease, discontinuation of low-dose acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) therapy leads to a marked rise in the risk of future stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA). Our study highlights the need for greater
Alzheimer disease: Coated-platelets can predict risk of Alzheimer disease
An assay for elevated coated-platelet levels can be used to predict which patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are most likely to progress rapidly to Alzheimer disease (AD), according to a new study. Coated-platelets represent a peripheral biomarker of progression risk of AD, explains lea...
Endurance exercise rescues progeroid aging and induces systemic mitochondrial...
A causal role for mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutagenesis in mammalian aging is supported by recent studies demonstrating that the mtDNA mutator mouse, harboring a defect in the proofreading-exonuclease activity of mitochondrial polymerase gamma, exhibits accelerated aging phenotypes characteristic of...
C-terminal-truncated apolipoprotein (apo) E4 inefficiently clears amyloid-{be...
Apolipoprotein (apo) E4 is the major known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD). We have shown in vitro and in vivo that apoE4 preferentially undergoes aberrant cleavage in neurons, yielding neurotoxic C-terminal-truncated fragments. To study the effect of these fragments on amyloid-...
The structural basis of inter-individual differences in human behaviour and c...
Inter-individual variability in perception, thought and action is frequently treated as a source of 'noise' in scientific investigations of the neural mechanisms that underlie these processes, and discarded by averaging data from a group of participants. However, recent MRI studies in the human brai...
Prevalence of Heavy Smoking in California and the United States, 1965-2007 [O...
: The intensity of smoking, not just prevalence, is associated with future health consequences.
: To estimate smoking intensity patterns over time and by age within birth cohorts for California and the remaining United States.
Design, Setting, and Participants
: Two large population-base...

Biomarkers and Aging in the News Media

Blood Test May Predict Risk of Diabetes
Elevated levels of a group of five amino acids may predict the development of diabetes years before any noticeable symptoms occur, according to a new study.
Predicting lung cancer risk from toenail clippings
Scientists say they can tell from a person's toenail clippings how likely they are to develop lung cancer
Ibuprofen 'cuts Parkinson's risk'
People who take ibuprofen on a regular basis appear to have a lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease, research suggests.
New study links pain relievers to erectile dysfunction
Men who regularly take pain relievers such as ibuprofen and aspirin may be at increased risk for erectile dysfunction, new research suggests ...
Passive smoke breast cancer link
Exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke as a child or adult appears to increase a woman's risk of breast cancer, experts say.
Exercise cuts bowel cancer risk
People who lead an active lifestyle are up to three times less likely to develop polyps which can develop into bowel cancer, according to a study.
Well: Exercise Seen to Reduce Signs of Aging
An new study finds that exercise reduced or eliminated signs of aging in mice genetically programmed to grow old at an accelerated pace.
Time lived with obesity linked with mortality
Researchers have found the number of years individuals live with obesity is directly associated with the risk of mortality.
Obesity raises risk of deadly breast cancer
Scientists know that being overweight increases the risk of breast cancers fed by estrogen, but being too fat may also increase the risk of triple-negative breast cancers, a less common and far more deadly type, U.S. researchers said Tuesday.
'Apple shape' heart risk doubts
Doubts have been raised over the idea that being overweight and 'apple shaped' increases heart attack risk
Men may be facing a depressing future
Societal and economic shifts may put more men in Western countries at risk for depression, scientists worry.
Mother's Alzheimer's Disease May Boost Your Risk
Having a mother with Alzheimer's disease may boost your risk of getting it more than having a father who suffers from the degenerative brain disorder, new research suggests.
Antioxidants in pregnancy prevent obesity in animal offspring
New biological research may be relevant to the effects of a mother's high-fat diet during pregnancy on the development of obesity in her children. An animal study suggests that a high-fat, high-carbohydrate diet causes oxidative stress -- an excess of deleterious free radicals -- during pregnancy, predisposing the offspring to obesity and diabetes. Feeding rats antioxidants before and during pregnancy completely prevented obesity and glucose intolerance in their offspring.
Popular psychology theories on self-esteem not backed up by serious research,...
Low self-esteem is associated with a greater risk of mental health problems such as eating disorders and depression. From a public health perspective, it is important for staff in various health-related professions to know about self-esteem. However, there is a vast difference between the research-based knowledge on self-esteem and the simplified popular psychology theories that are disseminated through books and motivational talks, reveals new research from Sweden.
Unemployment: A health risk
Compared to people in employment, men and women who are unemployed suffer more often and longer from both physical and emotional complaints. Why should the unemployed have more health problems?
Women more pained by work intrusions
With the growth of smartphones and other devices, the line between work and family time is getting blurrier. But a new study suggests that women feel 40% more distress than men when family life is frequently interrupted by work contact.
More women considered at risk for heart disease
New AHA guidelines classify five conditions as risk factors that too often hadn't been recognized as such in women.
Tonsillectomy linked to excess weight gain in kids
Tonsillectomy is the most common major surgical procedure performed in children. Children who undergo the surgical removal of their tonsils (tonsillectomy), with or without the removal of their adenoids (adenoidectomy), are at increased risk for becoming overweight after surgery, according to new research.
Chernobyl Study Says Health Risks Linger
Children and teenagers who drank contaminated milk or ate affected cheese in the days and weeks after the Chernobyl explosion still suffer from an increased risk of thyroid cancer, according to a study released Thursday.
Not Just Women: Half of Men May Have HPV
According to a new study, half of adult men have human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV is linked to certain cancers in men and women, and many men aren't even aware of the risks. Experts say prevention is essential.
Study: Older Women Need Pap Smears, Too
Women aged 70 and over should continue to get regular Pap smears to screen for cervical cancer, a study suggests.
Mediterranean diet blocks heart disease, diabetes, cancer: Study
Traditional Greek eating habits lower risk for many diseases, study shows
Study: Coffee tied to lower stroke risk in women
Women who enjoy a daily dose of coffee may like this perk: It might lower their risk of stroke....
Fatty Fish May Cut Risk of Macular Degeneration
Eating fatty fish one or more times a week may reduce your risk for developing age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss in people aged 60 and older.
New Genetic Links to Heart Disease Risk
Three studies have identified a large number of genes linked to the development of heart disease among Europeans, South Asians, and Chinese people.
Higher HDL Cholesterol May Cut Colon Cancer Risk
Higher levels of HDL 'good' cholesterol may protect against colon cancer, findings from a large European study suggest.
State budget cuts decimate mental health services
Budget writers in U.S. states looking for cash to balance the books have stripped a cumulative $1.8 billion from mental health services over the last 2½ years, putting the public at risk as the mentally ill crowd emergency rooms and prisons, according to the nation's largest mental health advocacy group.
Hearing loss 'incredibly common' as Boomers grow older
Those heady nights of cranking up the stereo may be over for many Baby Boomers, but the fallout, age-related hearing loss, may be just begin ...
Type 2 diabetes surges in people younger than 20
U.S. cases in those under 20 have grown from almost zero to tens of thousands in just over a decade.
Birth Order May Affect Risk of Allergies
First-born children may be more likely to develop certain types of allergies than their younger brothers or sisters, a study suggests.

NIH Press Releases

NICHD seeks comment on scientific vision papers
The first two of nine white papers outlining a scientific vision for the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) are now available online for public comment.
NIH announces new strategic plan to combat diabetes
A new strategic plan to guide diabetes-related research over the next decade was announced today by the National Institutes of Health. The plan, developed by a federal work group led by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), identifies research opportunities with the greatest potential to benefit the millions of Americans who are living with or at risk for diabetes and its complications.
Higher cancer risk continues after Chernobyl
Nearly 25 years after the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, exposure to radioactive iodine-131(I-131, a radioactive isotope) from fallout may be responsible for thyroid cancers that are still occurring among people who lived in the Chernobyl area and were children or adolescents at the time of the accident, researchers say.
NIH study: High blood pressure linked to steeper decline in walking speeds in...
Researchers have found a link between high blood pressure and a greater drop in average walking speeds in older adults, according to results from a new National Institutes of Health-funded study. The drop seems to occur even in study participants whose high blood pressure is successfully treated. Drastic changes in walking speed can impact a senior's ability to remain independent and indicate possible health problems.
National Library of Medicine celebrates 175 years of information innovation
2011 marks the 175th anniversary of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), part of the National Institutes of Health. The world's largest medical library and the producer of electronic information resources used by millions of people every day, NLM has changed the way scientific and medical information is organized, stored, accessed, and disseminated. From its founding in 1836 as the library of the U.S. Army Surgeon General to its present position at NIH, NLM's hallmark has been information innovation, leading to exciting scientific discoveries that ultimately improve the public health.
Triplets with extremely low birth weight face high risks
Among the smallest preterm infants, those born as triplets are at greater risk than single born infants or twins of dying or developing a disability before their second birthday, according a study by a research network of the National Institutes of Health.
New drug regimens cut HIV spread from mother to infant
Pregnant women who are unaware that they have HIV miss the chance for drug treatment that can benefit not only their own health, but could also prevent them from transmitting the virus to their infants. When HIV is not diagnosed until women go into labor, their infants are usually treated soon after birth with the anti HIV drug zidovudine (ZDV), to prevent the infants from becoming infected with the virus.
NIH launches largest oil spill health study
A new study that will look at possible health effects of the Gulf of Mexico's Deepwater Horizon oil spill on 55,000 cleanup workers and volunteers begins today in towns across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.
National Institutes of Health launches summer institute on mHealth
The National Institutes of Health today announced the creation of the first NIH mHealth, or mobile health, Summer Institute. Scheduled for the summer of 2011, this week-long workshop will bring together leaders in mobile health technologies, behavioral science researchers, federal health officials and members of the medical community to provide early career investigators with an opportunity to learn about mHealth research. The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), part of NIH, partnered with Qualcomm, a developer of wireless technologies, to cosponsor the course.

NIH Announcements

NICHD Will Participate in PA-11-104, Reducing Health Disparities Among Minori...
Notice NOT-HD-11-008 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts
NLM Institutional Training Grants for Research Training in Biomedical Informa...
Funding Opportunity RFA-LM-11-001 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. The National Library of Medicine invites training grant applications for support of predoctoral and postdoctoral training for research careers in biomedical informatics. Applications may be for the creation of entirely new program or for the renewal of existing NLM training program grants. Such training will help meet a growing need for investigators trained in biomedical computing and related fields as they directly relate to application domains, including health care delivery, basic biomedical research, clinical and translational research, public health and similar areas.
Economics  of  Retirement (R21), PA-11-140
Letter of Intent Due Date May 16, 2011
Expiration Date May 8, 2014
Economics  of  Retirement (R01), PA-11-138
Letter of Intent Due Date May 5, 2011
Expiration Date May 8, 2014
Modification of the Biographical Sketch in NIH Grant Application Forms (PHS 3...
Notice NOT-OD-11-045 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts
Translational Research to Help Older Adults Maintain their Health and Independence in the Community (R01)
Family and Interpersonal Relationships in an Aging Context (R01)
Expiration Date May 8, 2014

Reducing Health Disparities Among Minority and Underserved Children (R01)
Funding Opportunity PA-11-104 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) issued by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institute on Alcohol, Alcoholism, and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA), and National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), National Institutes of Health (NIH), solicits Research Project Grant (R01) applications from institutions/organizations that propose to conduct research to reduce health disparities among minority and underserved children.
Reducing Health Disparities Among Minority and Underserved Children (R21)
Funding Opportunity PA-11-105 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts.

NIA Resources for Aging Studies in the Non-Human Primate Model
Notice NOT-AG-11-003 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts
Cancer Prevention Research Small Grant Program (R03)
Funding Opportunity PAR-11-079 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is designed to enhance both basic and applied cancer prevention research. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) invites applications that propose small and time-limited projects pertinent to the development of cancer chemoprevention agents, biomarkers for early cancer detection, cancer-related nutrition science, and/or clinical prevention studies that focus on specific target organs. Proposed projects may involve basic animal and/or translational research and/or human subjects-oriented research. However, treatment related quality of life population based studies, as well as projects focused on cancer etiology, metastasis, animal model development, or treatment will not be appropriate for this FOA. New, as well as established, investigators in relevant fields and disciplines (e.g., chemoprevention, nutritional science, genetics, infectious agents, and early detection, including biomarker development and validation) are encouraged to apply for these small grants to test the feasibility of innovative ideas or carry out pilot studies. Ultimately, these small grants are expected to facilitate the development of full research projects grants.

The Market for Long-Term Care Insurance (R01)
Funding Opportunity RFA-RM-11-002 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) solicits research (R01) applications from institutions/organizations proposing to advance knowledge on the economics of long-term care (LTC), including topics related to private and public LTC insurance, the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program, and related topics. The FOA is a component of the Common Fund initiative on Health Economics for Health Care Reform (
NIH Basic Behavioral and Social Science Opportunity Network (OppNet) Short-te...
Funding Opportunity RFA-DE-11-003 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. This NIH Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), issued by the NIH Basic Behavioral and Social Science Opportunity Network [OppNet] solicits applications for short-term mentored career development (K18) awards in the basic behavioral and social sciences research (b-BSSR) from three months to one year in duration.


NIH Videocasts:

Quantitative Biology and Biomarker Discovery without Immunoassays
The NIH Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series includes weekly scientific talks by some of the top researchers in the biomedical sciences worldwide.
For more information, visit:
Air date: 3/30/2011 3:00:00 PM Eastern Time

STEP Symposium - Humor and Healing: Laughing for Health and Well Being (HHS Only)
Everyone has heard: 'Laughter is the best medicine' and now there is scientific evidence to support it. For example, mirthful laughter can improve blood flow, acting like 'internal jogging.' This reduces stress, boosts human growth hormone and the immune system. In addition, cancer patients whose treatments include laughter therapy report reduced pain and more rapid return to regular activities at home. Come out of your office and laugh out loud with us. We'll teach you the physiology of...
Air date:  Tuesday, April 05, 2011, 12:30:00 PM Eastern Time


Population Association of America Annual Meeting.
The 2011 Annual Meeting will be held March 31-April 2 at the Marriott Wardman Hotel, Washington, DC.
Abstract deadline: September 21, 2010.
(Note:  The Welcome Mixer is on Wednesday, March 30, 8:30 p.m.)

2011 American Geriatrics Society Annual Meeting, May 11-14, 2011. Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, National Harbor, MD.
The deadline to submit abstracts was December 3, 2010.

23rd meeting of REVES will be held in Paris France, from May 25 to 27, 2011
Abstract deadline: February 15, 2011.

Cells to Society (C2S) Summer Biomarker Institute at Northwestern University, Evanston, June 6-8, 2011.
Application Deadline: April 1, 2011

The Summer Institute in LGBT Health at the Center for Population Research in LGBT Health at the Fenway Institute, Boston, July 18-August 12, 2011.
Applications are due April 18, 2011

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

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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