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CCBAR Newsletter – March, 2012

Editors:  Natalia Gavrilova and Stacy Tessler Lindau

   CCBAR News 

Gerosexuality, the study of sexuality in the context of aging and disease, is a special emphasis area of CCBAR researchers.  Last week, CCBAR researchers published findings of a national survey of US Ob/Gyns, showing that while most do ascertain whether patients are sexually active, more than 30% rarely or never ask patients about their sexual identity or orientation, and 25% rarely or never ask about sexual dysfunction, despite a high prevalence of sexual dysfunction in the female population.  This study was led by now Wayne State medical student, Janelle Sobecki, MS, and was co-authored by Lindau and University of Chicago Medicine colleagues Farr Curlin, MD and Ken Rasinski, PhD. It is receiving wide media coverage. Link to Journal of Sexual Medicine Study:

Additional coverage:

NPR: org/blogs/health/2012/03/22/149157619/what-your-gynecologist-doesnt-know-about-your-sex-life-but-really-should

The Atlantic:



Science Daily:


Another important paper this month on human sexuality came from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health and shows dynamics in sexual orientation identity among adolescents over time.  This paper was published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior 3/12, by Ritch C. Savin-Williams, Kara Joyner and Gerulf Rieger.

CCBAR member, Natalia Gavrilova, gave a presentation at the 2012 conference of the Chicago Actuarial Association (CAA). The talk was based on her publication recently featured by the Wall Street Journal and WSJ Blog. Using Social Security Administration data, the paper challenges a common belief in demography that mortality at advanced ages grows slower than predicted by the Gompertz law (exponential growth). One presentation at the CAA conference may be of interest to researchers studying biomarkers: "Potential New Medical Markers in Underwriting" by Al Klein (Millman Inc). His  presentation reviewed several cardiovascular and total mortality biomarkers and the applicability to life insurance practice.

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

Healthier ageing
Summary points. Ageing affects people in different ways, with a wide variation in age related physical and mental functioning. Healthier ageing is achievable through modifying some lifestyle...
Stress survey
Survey finds that striving for work-life balance can take its toll on your career.
Social science: Human reproductive assistance
What is the biological explanation for menopause, and for female survival beyond it? A study suggests that competition for help in ancestral societies may have been key to the evolution of this unusual human trait.
Ageing: Sorting out the sirtuins
Debates over the role of sirtuin proteins in ageing are maturing into functional assessments of the individual proteins. It seems that overexpression of a specific sirtuin can extend lifespan in male mice. See Letter p.218
The sirtuin SIRT6 regulates lifespan in male mice
The significant increase in human lifespan during the past century confronts us with great medical challenges. To meet these challenges, the mechanisms that determine healthy ageing must be understood and controlled. Sirtuins are highly conserved deacetylases that have been shown to regulate lifespa...
Social Science: Experimenting with Politics
Social scientists are turning increasingly to experiments to explain important political behaviors.
Sip carefully
A new line of relaxation drinks containing neurotransmitters and hormones purports to help consumers sleep and reduce stress. Scientists should raise awareness of the potential harms of these drinks and pressure industry and government to increase the regulation of their sale and use.
Maximizing the value of diagnostics in Alzheimer's disease drug development
This article examines strategic issues faced by pharmaceutical companies relating to the development of biomarkers and diagnostics for Alzheimer's disease.
Learning and memory: Adult-born neurons change jobs
Newborn hippocampal granule cells are crucial in pattern separation, whereas older granule cells promote rapid pattern completion.
The ageing cortical synapse: hallmarks and implications for cognitive decline
Normal ageing is associated with impairments in cognitive function, including memory. These impairments are linked, not to a loss of neurons in the forebrain, but to specific and relatively subtle synaptic alterations in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. Here, we review studies that have shed
Collaboration in social networks [Computer Sciences]
The very notion of social network implies that linked individuals interact repeatedly with each other. This notion allows them not only to learn successful strategies and adapt to them, but also to condition their own behavior on the behavior of others, in a strategic forward looking manner. Game th...
Female reproductive tract form drives the evolution of complex sperm morpholo...
The coevolution of female mate preferences and exaggerated male traits is a fundamental prediction of many sexual selection models, but has largely defied testing due to the challenges of quantifying the sensory and cognitive bases of female preferences. We overcome this difficulty by focusing on po...
Neutral theory for life histories [Population Biology]
Individuals within populations can differ substantially in their life span and their lifetime reproductive success but such realized individual variation in fitness components need not reflect underlying heritable fitness differences visible to natural selection. Even so, biologists commonly argue t...
Discontinuation of hormone replacement therapy after myocardial infarction an...
Objective To assess the risk of adverse cardiovascular events in women who discontinue hormone replacement therapy after myocardial infarction compared with those who continue.Design Nationwide...
Effectiveness of physical activity promotion based in primary care: systemati...
Objectives To determine whether trials of physical activity promotion based in primary care show sustained effects on physical activity or fitness in sedentary adults, and whether exercise referral...
Improving the Cardiovascular Health of the US Population [Editorial]
Trends in Cardiovascular Health Metrics and Associations With All-Cause and C...
Recent recommendations from the American Heart Association aim to improve cardiovascular health by encouraging the general population to meet 7 cardiovascular health metrics: not smoking; being physically active; having normal blood pressure, blood glucose and total cholesterol levels, and w...
Falls From Taking Multiple Medications May Be a Risk for Both Young and Old [...
Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior [Psychological and ...
Seven studies using experimental and naturalistic methods reveal that upper-class individuals behave more unethically than lower-class individuals. In studies 1 and 2, upper-class individuals were more likely to break the law while driving, relative to lower-class individuals. In follow-up laborator...
Honesty mediates the relationship between serotonin and reaction to unfairnes...
How does one deal with unfair behaviors? This subject has long been investigated by various disciplines including philosophy, psychology, economics, and biology. However, our reactions to unfairness differ from one individual to another. Experimental economics studies using the ultimatum game (UG), ...
Telomere biology of immortal worms [Evolution]
In most sexually reproducing animals, replication and maintenance of telomeres occurs in the germ line and during early development in embryogenesis through the use of telomerase. Somatic cells generally do not maintain telomere sequences, and these cells become senescent in adults as telomeres shor...

Biomarkers and Aging in the News Media

Panel Calls for Closer Oversight of Biomarker Tests
Institute of Medicine faults Duke University's "failure" to catch problems
New test may predict the possibility of a heart attack
New findings from a landmark research study shows a promising new blood test may be useful in helping doctors predict who is at risk for an imminent heart attack.
Obesity harms 'later brain skill'
Being overweight in later life puts you at higher risk of brain decline, research suggests.
Living alone 'are more depressed'
Living alone can increase someone's risk of depression by up to 80% compared to living in families, says a Finnish study.
Sugar-Sweetened Drinks Linked to Heart Disease
Each 12-ounce serving of a sugar-sweetened drink sharply raises a man's relative risk for heart disease, a large epidemiological analysis has found.
Diet Soda May Cause Health Problems, Study Says
People often drink diet sodas to be healthier, but new research suggests some potential health dangers. CBS 2's Roseanne Tellez reports a look at the risk and has some advice on what to do if you're a fan of those drinks.
Vital Statistics: U.S. Study Finds Children Consuming Too Much Sugar
The older the child, the greater the consumption of calories from added sugars, most of it at home, according to a continuing survey of eating habits.
Red Meat Linked to Cancer and Heart Disease
A new analysis found that each daily increase of three ounces of red meat was associated with a 16 percent increased risk of cardiovascular death and a 10 percent increased risk of cancer death.
Eye Disease Linked to Memory Decline
A new study suggests that people with even minimal eye blood vessel damage due to vascular disease have a higher risk for memory and thinking declines.
Few U.S. cities are ready for aging Baby Boomer population
Few communities have started to think long term about how to plan for aging Baby Boomers.
Older adults 'drink more often'
Adults tend to drink more often as they get older in Great Britain, a major lifestyle survey shows.
Memory Problems May Worsen After Hospital Stay
Older people who are hospitalized may experience a worsening of their memory problems and thinking abilities after they are discharged, a new study suggests.
Scientists wrest partial control of a memory
Scientists have successfully harnessed neurons in mouse brains, allowing them to at least partially control a specific memory. Researchers have known for decades that stimulating various regions of the brain can trigger behaviors and even memories. But understanding the way these brain functions develop and occur normally -- effectively how we become who we are -- has been a much more complex goal.
Really?: The Claim: Sleep Quality Worsens With Age
Studies show that healthy older adults are unlikely to have more problems sleeping than younger counterparts. For those who do have problems, they may be a symptom of underlying illness.
Studies Link Aspirin Daily Use to Reduced Cancer Risk
The findings add to evidence suggesting that aspirin may be a powerful if overlooked weapon against cancer, but some physicians and health officials are concerned about side effects.
The Consumer: How Much Aspirin Is Too Much of a Good Thing?
Despite recent good news about aspirin reducing the risk of cancers, doctors still don't know how much of it people should take.
Supreme Court Orders New Look at Gene Patents
Appellate judges were told to reconsider a ruling that let Myriad Genetics patent two genes associated with a high risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Gray Matter: The Case for Sleep Medicine
The risks of sleeping pills are real, but so are the risks of sleep deprivation.
Genetic risk and stressful early infancy join to increase risk for schizophrenia
Working with genetically engineered mice and the genomes of thousands of people with schizophrenia, researchers say they now better understand how both nature and nurture can affect one's risks for schizophrenia and abnormal brain development in general.
Chronic stress spawns protein aggregates linked to Alzheimer's
Repeated stress triggers the production and accumulation of insoluble tau protein aggregates inside the brain cells of mice, say researchers.
Lowering LDL, the earlier the better
Coronary atherosclerosis - a hardening of the arteries due to a build-up of fat and cholesterol - can lead to heart attacks and other forms of coronary heart disease (CHD). Lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad" cholesterol, reduces the risk of CHD, and researchers found that lowering LDL beginning early in life resulted in a three-fold greater reduction in the risk of CHD than treatment with a statin started later in life.
Sleeping too much or too little can be bad for your heart
Getting too little sleep - or even too much - appears to spell trouble for the heart. New data reveal that adults who get less than six hours of sleep a night are at significantly greater risk of stroke, heart attack and congestive heart failure. Even those who reportedly sleep more than eight hours a night have a higher prevalence of heart problems, namely chest pain (angina) and coronary artery disease, a narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart.
CDC: Only half of first marriages last 20 years
Even though Americans are marrying older, the divorce rate has remained high, shows a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among women there was just a 52 percent chance that a first marriage would last for 20 years. Men fared slightly better with a 56 percent chance.
Estrogen pills reduce breast cancer risk in study of menopausal women
Women taking estrogen pills had 23 percent lower risk for breast cancer
Aging, overweight people stay happy says new study
Growing older and being overweight are not necessarily associated with a decrease in mental well-being, according to a cross-cultural study looking at quality of life and health status in the US and the UK.

NIH Press Releases

NIH launches online resource on behavioral and social science research methods
A Web-based interactive anthology will provide psychologists, economists, anthropologists, sociologists and other scientists with the latest research methods and tools to address emerging challenges in public health, such as the obesity epidemic and the rise of chronic diseases such as heart disease. The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health collaborated with New England Research Institutes to create the free resource, called e-Source.
NIH study finds interventions to prevent type 2 diabetes give good return on ...
Programs to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in high-risk adults would result in fewer people developing diabetes and lower health care costs over time, researchers conclude in a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Friendly-to-a-fault, yet tense: personality traits traced in brain
A personality profile marked by overly gregarious yet anxious behavior is rooted in abnormal development of a circuit hub buried deep in the front center of the brain, say scientists at the National Institutes of Health. They used three different types of brain imaging to pinpoint the suspect brain area in people with Williams syndrome, a rare genetic disorder characterized by these behaviors.
Possible causes of sudden onset OCD in kids broadened
Criteria for a broadened syndrome of acute onset obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) have been proposed by a National Institutes of Health scientist and her colleagues. The syndrome, Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS), includes children and teens that suddenly develop on-again/off-again OCD symptoms or abnormal eating behaviors, along with other psychiatric symptoms -- without any known cause.
NIH brain imaging study finds evidence of basis for caregiving impulse
Distinct patterns of activity -- which may indicate a predisposition to care for infants -- appear in the brains of adults who view an image of an infant face -- even when the child is not theirs, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and in Germany, Italy, and Japan.
Nearly 800,000 deaths prevented due to declines in smoking
Twentieth-century tobacco control programs and policies were responsible for preventing more than 795,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States from 1975 through 2000, according to an analysis funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health.
NIH and Lilly to generate public resource of approved and investigational med...
The National Institutes of Health and Eli Lilly and Company will generate a publicly available resource to profile the effects of thousands of approved and investigational medicines in a variety of sophisticated disease-relevant testing systems, NIH announced today.
NIH study links childhood cancer to delays in developmental milestones
Infants and toddlers who have been treated for cancer tend to reach certain developmental milestones later than do their healthy peers, say researchers at the National Institutes of Health and in Italy.
NIH launches consumer-friendly tips series on complementary health practices
A new series of monthly health tips, Time to Talk Tips, will provide consumers with easy-to-read information on complementary health practices. The effort is managed by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health.
Vitamin D shrinks fibroid tumors in rats
Treatment with vitamin D reduced the size of uterine fibroids in laboratory rats predisposed to developing the benign tumors, reported researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health.

NIH Announcements

NLM Information Resource Grants to Reduce Health Disparities (G08)
Funding Opportunity RFA-LM-12-001 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) solicits resource grant applications for projects that will bring useful, usable health information to health disparity populations and the health care providers who care for those populations. Access to useful, usable, understandable health information is an important factor during health decisions. Proposed projects should exploit the capabilities of computer and information technology and health sciences libraries to bring health-related information to consumers and their health care providers. Preference will be given to applications that show strong involvement of health science libraries.
Secondary Analyses in Obesity, Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (R21)
Funding Number: PA-12-125
Expiration Date: May 8, 2015
Exploratory Laboratory and Analysis Projects in Parkinsons Disease Biomarkers...
Funding Opportunity RFA-NS-12-010 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is to stimulate innovation and development of technologies and reagents that will accelerate the discovery of biological biomarkers for Parkinsons disease (PD). It is expected that the NINDS Parkinsons disease biomarkers program (PDBP) will consolidate, integrate and enhance NINDS-funded PD biomarkers research projects. This FOA will foster research into biospecimen preparation methodologies, quantitative analyte analysis, reagent and assay development, and data analysis methods needed for PD biomarkers progress to occur. Utilization of extant specimens and data for novel discovery projects is permitted under this FOA, as long as consent enables deposition of all data into the PDBP Data Management Resource (DMR).
Studies in Parkinson's Disease Biomarkers Discovery (U01)
Funding Opportunity RFA-NS-12-011 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is to 1) support hypothesis driven clinical research to discover biomarkers that will improve the efficiency and outcome of Phase II clinical trials for Parkinsons Disease (PD) and 2) support the collection of clinical data and new biological specimens that will be used for biomarker exploratory efforts under the NINDS Parkinsons Disease Biomarkers Program (PDBP). Applications may include both of these goals if justified. Studies using either existing or new cohorts may be appropriate. For all applications, applicants must describe statistical justification for the number of subjects/samples proposed and a clear scientific rationale for the range and types of subjects/samples to be collected. Broad sharing of data and biological specimens with academic, industry and government researchers is a critical feature of the PDBP generally and of this FOA specifically, in order to provide valuable research resources for the scientific community to advance Parkinsons Disease research in an efficient and effective manner (consistent with applicable laws, regulations, and policies); therefore, all subjects in any proposed study must be properly consented to allow appropriate sample and data distribution to researchers in academics and industry.
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
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.
Registration deadline: April 15, 2012

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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