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CCBAR Newsletter – May-June, 2010

Editors:  Natalia Gavrilova and Stacy Tessler Lindau


The fifth annual Summer Biomarker Institute was held on the Evanston campus of Northwestern University, June 7-9, 2010. The Institute is designed to provide a hands-on introduction to state-of-the-art methods for integrating biomarkers into population-based, social science research, covering technical as well as conceptual issues associated with biological measurement in naturalistic settings.  More information about the Summer Biomarker Institute can be found here:  CCBAR Director, Stacy Lindau, gave a lecture "Methods development and application: Lessons from the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project. "

CCBAR researchers, led by Dima Qato, PharmD, MPH, with other NIA-funded collaborators published "Racial and ethnic disparities in cardiovascular medication use among older adults in the United States" in Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety.  The article is based on data from Wave I of the NIA-funded National Social Life, Health and Aging Project, and finds racial and ethnic disparities in indicated preventive therapies among older adults at high cardiovascular risk.  The publication abstract can be found here.

CCBAR Questions and Answers this Month:

Q: Is there a dried blood spot protocol for environmental toxins (mercury, cadmium, lead, cotinine)?

A: Such protocols exist, but they are not particularly sensitive and have been tested mostly on blood from infants.  Publications on the topic include:

Mercury, cadmium, lead

       Cotinine (marker of tobacco exposure)

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

Neuroscience: Ageing on the brain
Why do learning and memory deteriorate with age? Scientists have speculated that changes in gene expression are involved, but little is known about the mechanism.André Fischer at the European Neuroscience Institute in Göttingen, Germany, and his colleagues

Evolutionary genetics: Vive la digits
Vertebrate sexual behaviour and other traits have been correlated with the ratio of the length of the second to the fourth digit, but what underlies the connection between sex hormones and digit

Life-history connections to rates of aging in terrestrial vertebrates [Popula...
The actuarial senescence (i.e., the rate of increase in adult mortality with age) was related to body mass, development period,...

New approaches to population stratification in genome-wide association ...
Genome-wide association (GWA) studies are an effective approach for identifying genetic variants associated with disease risk. GWA studies can be confounded by population stratification ? systematic ancestry differences between cases and controls ? which has previously been addressed by methods that...

[Perspective] Neuroscience: Epigenetics and Cognitive Aging
Changes in the epigenetic modification of chromatin may be the molecular basis for memory decline in aging adults.

Effects of Intensive Blood-Pressure Control in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
In a randomized trial, 4733 patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus who were at high risk for cardiovascular events received treatment aimed at a target systolic blood pressure of less than 120 mm Hg or less than 140 mm Hg. At a mean follow-up of 4.7 years, the rates of the primary end point (nonfata...

Effect of B-Vitamin Therapy on Progression of Diabetic Nephropathy: A Randomi...
Context  Hyperhomocysteinemia is frequently observed in patients with diabetic nephropathy. B-vitamin therapy (folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12) has been shown to lower the plasma concentration of homocysteine.
To determine whether B-vitamin therapy can slow progression o...

Coronary Artery Calcium Score and Risk Classification for Coronary Heart Dise...
Context  The coronary artery calcium score (CACS) has been shown to predict future coronary heart disease (CHD) events. However, the extent to which adding CACS to traditional CHD risk factors improves classification of risk is unclear.
Objective  To determine whether adding CACS to a pred...

Work stress raises risk of heart disease among women under 50, study finds

Bone: Maternal vitamin D status and bone variables in neonates
Maternal vitamin D status is associated with bone mineral content and the cross-sectional area of the distal tibia in newborn offspring, according to researchers from Finland.Vitamin D deficiency is a serious health concern in all age groups in Finland. The Finnish population, living in

Inaugural Article: Mechanisms linking early life stress to adult health outco...
Research relating stress to health has progressed from anecdotal evidence in the 1930s and 1940s to complex multivariate models that...

Mobile phones do not raise risk of brain tumours in adults, but harms among h...

Glycated haemoglobin A1c for diagnosing diabetes in Chinese population: cross...
Objectives To evaluate haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) in diagnosing diabetes and identify the optimal HbA1c threshold to be used in Chinese adults. Design Multistage stratified cross sectional...

Association of Temporal Trends in Risk Factors and Treatment Uptake With Coro...
Context  Coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality has declined substantially in Canada since 1994.
Objective  To determine what proportion of this decline was associated with temporal trends in CHD risk factors and advancements in medical treatments.

US Trends in Prevalence, Awareness, Treatment, and Control of Hypertension, 1...
Context  Hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and treatment and control of hypertension reduces risk. The Healthy People 2010 goal was to achieve blood pressure (BP) control in 50% of the US population.
Objective  To assess progress in treating and controlling hyp...

Population Trends in the Incidence and Outcomes of Acute Myocardial Infarction
In this large community-based study, the incidence of acute myocardial infarction decreased significantly after the year 2000, with an especially marked decrease in ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. A reduction in the case fatality rate was attributed both to the reduction in ST-segment el...

Helicobacter pylori: gastric cancer and beyond
Helicobacter pylori is the dominant species of the human gastric microbiome, and colonization causes a persistent inflammatory response. H. pylori-induced gastritis is the strongest singular risk factor for cancers of the stomach; however, only a small proportion of infected individuals develop mali...

Biomarkers: the next generation
The value of biomarkers ? characteristics that are evaluated as indicators of normal or pathogenic biological processes, or responses to an intervention ? is widely appreciated, but the number of qualified biomarkers is small. However, recent initiatives have highlighted promising strategies for dev...

Children are key to CVD prevention
In adults, the increased cardiovascular risk associated with factors such as high blood pressure, elevated lipid levels, smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, and being overweight is well known; however, it is important to recognize that these risk factors often develop and begin to detrimentally affect h...

Stroke: Parental stroke is an independent risk factor for stroke and transien...
A new analysis from the Framingham Heart Study has revealed that individuals with a parent who experienced a stroke before the age of 65 years are almost three times more likely to have a stroke themselves than are individuals with no parental history of stroke.

Early identification of cardiovascular risk using genomics and proteomics
Coronary heart disease (CHD) will soon become the leading cause of death and morbidity in the world. Early detection and treatment of CHD is thus imperative to improve global health. Atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries is a complex multifactorial disease process involving multiple pathways that

Focus issue on biomarkers
Research advances and the introduction of new targeted therapies for the treatment of cancer in the past decade have led to improved outcomes. As a result of these rapid changes, it has become paramount to identify prognostic and predictive biomarkers to aid in the selection

Beyond Hemoglobin A1c--Need for Additional Markers of Risk for Diabetic Micro...

Resistance to extreme strategies, rather than prosocial preferences, can expl...
The results of numerous economic games suggest that humans behave more cooperatively than would be expected if they were maximizing...

Apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype has dissociable effects on memory and attent...
The 4 allele of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene is the major genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but...

Dementia risk prediction in the population: are screening models accurate?
Early identification of individuals at risk of dementia will become crucial when effective preventative strategies for this condition are developed. Various dementia prediction models have been proposed, including clinic-based criteria for mild cognitive impairment, and more-broadly constructed algo...

Identification of Late-Onset Hypogonadism in Middle-Aged and Elderly Men
Background The association between aging-related testosterone deficiency and late-onset hypogonadism in men remains a controversial concept. We sought evidence-based criteria for identifying late-onset hypogonadism in the general population on the ...

Biomarkers and Aging in the News Media

For Married Women, Age Gap Can Be Deadly
Study Finds, Unlike Men, Women Who Are Much Older (or Younger) Than Spouse Have Shorter Life Expectancy
People are happier, less stressed after age 50
Life looks a little rosier after 50, a new study finds. Older people in their mid- to late-50s are generally happier, and experience less stress and worry than young adults in their 20s, the researchers say.
Sleeping Well Linked to Longer, Healthier Life
People who regularly get a good night's sleep enjoy overall better health and longevity, a study shows.
Hormonal contraceptives associated with higher risk of female sexual dysfunct...
Women taking non-oral and oral hormonal contraceptives were at highest risk of female sexual dysfunction (FSD), according to a study of female German medical student. Interestingly, women taking non-hormonal contraceptives were at lowest risk for FSD, more than women not using any contraceptive.
AARP survey: More OK with sex outside marriage, fewer satisfied
Blame the recession? U.S. survey says sex for 45-and-older set is less frequent, less fun.
Survey: Americans 45 and Older Having Less Sex
Respondents Also Tell AARP Study They Get Less Satisfaction, too; Researchers Blame Financial Stress
Lesbians' kids well adjusted, study finds
A nearly 25-year study concluded that children raised in lesbian households were psychologically well-adjusted and had fewer behavioral problems than their peers.
UK 'has a high early death rate'
People in the UK have a higher risk of early death than those in many other wealthy countries, a study shows.
Mammograms before 40: Few cancers, many callbacks
As controversial as mammograms are for women in their 40s, some get them even younger - and new research casts doubt on their usefulness....
Adult death rates lowest in Iceland, Cyprus
Men in Iceland and women in Cyprus have the lowest risk of dying worldwide, a new study says....
Coffee May Lower Uterine Cancer Risk, Study Says
Mayo Clinic Research Finds Drinking More than Two-and-a-Half Cups a Day Appears to Lower Odds Women Will Get the Disease
Prehypertension, Prediabetes Predict Heart Risk
Prehypertension and prediabetes, especially when they occur together, are early warning signs of heart disease in seemingly healthy adults, according to new research.
'Magnet Therapy' Helps Erase Signs Of Aging
Magnets are not just used to hold up refrigerator notes anymore. Now they're being used to boost the face. It's sad, but true. As we grow older, facial muscles lose their elasticity. This allows skin to sag, leaving a trail of deepening expression lines and wrinkles. But now experts are harnessing some big electromagnetic energy from tiny magnets to erase the signs of age.
Start-Up May Sell Genetic Tests Through Walgreens
The tests will use saliva to find information in a person?s DNA about risks for diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
A Molecular Signature of Cognitive Decline
Study with aging mice hints at a strategy for preventing memory loss
Bran Reduces Heart Disease Deaths
Eating bran-rich whole grains is associated with a lower risk of death and death from cardiovascular causes in women with diabetes, a new study finds.
Eating Nuts Daily Lowers Cholesterol
Eating nuts on a daily basis improves blood cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, a new study says.
Air Pollution Increases Heart Attack, Stroke Risk
More evidence reveals that short- and long-term exposure to air pollution directly increases the likelihood of experiencing a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular problems, leading physicians to issue new recommendations to help people reduce their risk.
Coffee, Soda Not Linked to Colon Cancer Risk
New research shows that drinking more than six 8-ounce cups of coffee does not increase your risk of developing colon cancer.
Are We Too Clean? Letting Kids Get Dirty and Germy
Should you let your kids get dirty and be exposed to germs? WebMD discusses this idea and the benefits and risks associated with it.
iPods, Texting at 100: How Centenarians Stay Hip
Americans turning 100 or older this year are making sound lifestyle choices, not just about health and exercise but by clinging to social networks and adapting to new technologies, a new survey indicates.
Fluctuating blood pressure associated with risk of cerebrovascular disease
The risk of cerebrovascular diseases appears to be higher among individuals with fluctuating blood pressure in addition to high blood pressure, according to a new study.
Flaxseed-fed chickens shed light on ovarian cancer
In the race to find answers about ovarian cancer, researchers now have something to cluck about. The researchers have been using the chicken as a model to study this deadly disease and have recently discovered that a diet enriched with flaxseed decreases severity of ovarian cancer and increases survival in hens.
More children are being born to women over 35 than to teens, Pew study finds
More children are born to women older than 35 than to teenagers, a change born of medical science, later marriages and evolving attitudes about motherhood, according to a new study released Thursday.
Sausage a day 'raises heart risk'
Small amounts of processed meat increase the risk of developing heart disease, while red meat does not, research suggests.
Vitamin E may help protect lungs
People who take vitamin E supplements regularly for years -- whether they are smokers or nonsmokers -- may lower their risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the lung condition that is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.
Low Vitamin D Linked to Poor Diabetes Control
Vitamin D deficiency, long suspected to be a risk factor for glucose intolerance, is commonly found in those with poor diabetes control, according to a new study.
Gene that ties stress to obesity and diabetes discovered
Scientists have identified a gene that links mental stress to such metabolic diseases as obesity, diabetes and arteriosclerosis.
Spicing the meat also cuts the cancer risk
Spices will do more than just enhance the taste of ground beef. They may also cut down on the risk of compounds that can cause cancer.
Observatory: Dog Breeding May Affect Longevity
A paper to be published next month suggests that docile, shy dogs tend to live much longer than bold, aggressive dogs.
Study: Selenium not effective against lung cancer
Contrary to previous research, the supplement selenium does not reduce the risk of developing lung cancer, a new study shows.
Genetic markers could predict prostate cancer in younger men, study finds
Prostate cancer has become more common in younger men, and it's often more aggressive in these men. A new study has found that a series of genetic mutations could help detect this early onset prostate cancer.
Poor health? Easier for some to blame bad genes than change lifestyle
Does knowing that genes are partly responsible for your health condition mean you are less likely to be motivated to find out about the benefits of behavioral changes? Those with the greatest need to change their behaviors are more likely to favor genetic explanations for diseases and the more behavioral risk factors they have, the less likely they are to be interested in behavior change information.
Vital Signs: Patterns: Uninsured More at Risk Even in Hospitals
A new study finds that the uninsured are more likely to die than those who carry private insurance.
Obesity linked to lowest earnings
A new study has found that minimum-wage employees are more likely to be obese than those who earn higher wages, adding to growing evidence that being poor is a risk factor for unhealthy weight.
Illnesses among workers highlight concerns about health risks of oil cleanup
Scattered reports of illnesses among workers helping to clean up oil in the Gulf of Mexico have highlighted concerns about possible health risks posed by the disaster and cleanup efforts.
Aging baby boomers may lead drive to legalize marijuana further
In her 88 years, Florence Siegel has learned how to relax: A glass of red wine. A crisp copy of the New York Times, if she can wrest it from her husband. Some classical music, preferably Bach. And every night like clockwork, she lifts a pipe to her lips and smokes marijuana.
As longevity grows, the world might become a better place
Ushi Okushima is the oldest resident of Ogimi, the most elderly community in Japan, the country where the average age is higher than anywhere else in the world. At 108, she still takes to the floor for traditional Japanese dances. Afterward she dabs a little French perfume behind her ears and sip...
Early menopause may raise heart disease risk
Women who go through menopause early, before age 46, may have more than twice the risk of having a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular event later in life, researchers reported Monday.
Osteoporosis Tips for the Tipsy
Heavy drinking and alcohol use has been linked with osteoporosis and risk of serious fractures.
Researchers Identify 10 Risk Factors for Stroke
Ten simple and modifiable risk factors for stroke, including high blood pressure and smoking, comprise 90% of a person's risk, a study shows.
Tea, Coffee Drinkers Have Lower Heart Risk
People who drink a lot of tea or drink coffee in moderation are less likely to die of heart disease than coffee and tea abstainers, new research suggests.
Alcohol Associated With Lower Risk of Arthritis
Alcohol consumption appears to be associated with a reduced risk of developing several forms of arthritic conditions, Dutch researchers reported at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) in Rome.
Gut bacteria could be key indicator of colon cancer risk
A new study suggests that a shift in the balance between the "good" bacteria and the "bad" bacteria that populate our gut could be a harbinger of colon cancer.

NIH Press Releases

NIH and Wellcome Trust Announce Partnership To Support Population-based Genom...
The National Institutes of Health, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Wellcome Trust, a global charity based in London, today announced a partnership to support population-based genetic studies in Africa of common, non-communicable disorders such as heart disease and cancer, as well as communicable diseases such as malaria. The studies, to be conducted by African researchers, will utilize genetic, clinical and epidemiologic screening tools that identify hereditary and non-hereditary components that contribute to the risk of illnesses.
NIH-Supported Study Finds Novel Pathway May Open Doors for New Blood Pressure...
Researchers have found that increasing certain proteins in the blood vessels of mice, relaxed the vessels, lowering the animal's blood pressure. The study provides new avenues for research that may lead to new treatments for hypertension.
Vitamin D Status is Not Associated with Risk for Less Common Cancers
Despite hopes that higher blood levels of vitamin D might reduce cancer risk, a large study finds no protective effect against non-Hodgkin lymphoma or cancer of the endometrium, esophagus, stomach, kidney, ovary, or pancreas. In this study, carried out by researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and many other research institutions, data based on blood samples originally drawn for 10 individual studies were combined to investigate whether people with high levels of vitamin D were less likely to develop these rarer cancers.
Gene Linked to Alzheimer's Disease Plays Key Role in Cell Survival
Scientists have discovered that a gene linked to Alzheimer's disease may play a beneficial role in cell survival by enabling neurons to clear away toxic proteins. A study funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, shows the presenilin 1 (PS1) gene is essential to the function of lysosomes, the cell component that digests and recycles unwanted proteins. However, mutations in the PS1 gene -- a known risk factor for a rare, early onset form of Alzheimer's disease -- disrupt this crucial process.
NIH-Supported Study Looks for Earliest Changes in the Brain That May Lead to ...
Volunteers are being sought for a clinical study examining the subtle changes that may take place in the brains of older people many years before overt symptoms of Alzheimer's disease appear. Researchers are looking for people with the very earliest complaints of memory problems that affect their daily activities. The study will follow participants over time, using imaging techniques developed to advance research into changes taking place in the structure and function of the living brain, as well as biomarker measures found in blood and cerebrospinal fluid.
STAR METRICS: New Way to Measure the Impact of Federally Funded Research
A new initiative promises to monitor the impact of federal science investments on employment, knowledge generation, and health outcomes. The initiative--Science and Technology for America's Reinvestment: Measuring the Effect of Research on Innovation, Competitiveness and Science, or STAR METRICS--is a multi-agency venture led by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
Infants Capable of Learning While Asleep
Newborn infants are capable of a simple form of learning while they're asleep, according to a study by researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health. The finding may one day lead to a test that can identify infants at risk for developmental disorders that do not become apparent until later in childhood.
Resilience Factor Low in Depression, Protects Mice From Stress
Scientists have discovered a mechanism that helps to explain resilience to stress, vulnerability to depression and how antidepressants work. The new findings, in the reward circuit of mouse and human brains, have spurred a high tech dragnet for compounds that boost the action of a key gene regulator there, called deltaFosB.
Link Between Child Care and Academic Achievement and Behavior Persists ...
Teens who were in high-quality child care settings as young children scored slightly higher on measures of academic and cognitive achievement and were slightly less likely to report acting-out behaviors than peers who were in lower-quality child care arrangements during their early years, according to the latest analysis of a long-running study funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Trends Suggest Increase in Cancers of the Lower Stomach for Younger Whites in...
Cancer of the lower stomach has decreased overall in American adults but has increased in whites age 25-39, a study finds. The work, led by researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, is published in the May 5, 2010, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Endometrial Stem Cells Restore Brain Dopamine Levels
Endometrial stem cells injected into the brains of mice with a laboratory-induced form of Parkinson's disease appeared to take over the functioning of brain cells eradicated by the disease. The finding raises the possibility that women with Parkinson's disease could serve as their own stem cell donors. Similarly, because endometrial stem cells are readily available and easy to collect, banks of endometrial stem cells could be stored for men and women with Parkinson's disease.
NIH Announces Ten Awards for Centers for Population Health and Health Dispari...
The National Institutes of Health announced today the awarding of 10 new Centers for Population Health and Health Disparities, designed to better understand and address inequities associated with the two leading causes of death in the United States -- cancer and heart disease.
Magnetic Stimulation Scores Modest Success as Antidepressant
Some depressed patients who don't respond to or tolerate antidepressant medications may benefit from a non-invasive treatment that stimulates the brain with a pulsing electromagnet, a study suggests. This first industry-independent, multi-site, randomized, tightly controlled trial of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) found that it produced significant antidepressant effects in a subgroup of patients, with few side effects.

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
Correction on the First Submission Date for Resubmission and Revision Applica...
Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts
Subjective Well-being: Advances in Measurement and Applications to Aging (R01)
Request for Applications from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts
Regional and International Differences in Health and Longevity at Older Ages ...
Request for Applications from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts

Aging Studies in the Pulmonary System (R01)
Enhancing Peer Review: Clarification of Resubmission Policy and Determination of New Application Status
Notice Number: NOT-OD-10-080

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



The National Institute on Aging, in conjunction with the McKnight Brain Research Foundation and the Foundation for NIH, will be holding the Second Cognitive Aging Summit to take place in Washington, DC, on October 4-5, 2010. Online registration for the meeting is now open, and you can register by following this link:  Cognitive Aging Summit 2010 – Registration

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

Population Association of America Annual Meeting.
The 2011 Annual Meeting will be held March 31-April 2 at the Marriott Wardman Hotel, Washington, DC.
(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.

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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