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CCBAR Newsletter – May, 2011

Editors:  Natalia Gavrilova and Stacy Tessler Lindau


CCBAR member, Natalia Gavrilova, PhD, participated in the international REVES conference on health expectancy held May 25-27, 2011 in Paris, France. The focus of the 2011 REVES conference was "Are sex differences in health expectancy a social issue?" In their presentations, participants explored possible causes of the apparent paradox of the longer female life span, which is accompanied by worse health as compared to males, in addition to a breadth of topics related to sex differences in health expectancy. Materials for the 2011 REVES meeting will appear soon on the REVES website. For materials from previous REVES meetings, please visit

The next Chicago Core on Biomeasures in Population-Based Health and Aging Research Conference will be held in Chicago this fall. The focus of the 2011 conference will be Biosocial Approaches to the Study of Urban Health and Aging. More information will follow in the June CCBAR Newsletter. 

Suggestion for Hair-Based Cortisol Analysis from CCBAR Newsletter reader:

In response to our previous Q&A entry regarding hair cortisol assays, Dr. Mark L. Laudenslager, Ph.D, Director of Behavioral Immunology and Endocrinology Laboratory at the University of Colorado, Denver, contacted CCBAR to inform us that his laboratory routinely runs hair cortisol assay as a biomarker of retrospective HPA activation and would be happy to help researchers who would like to have hair cortisol processed.  More information on the laboratory can be found at the following link:

Dr. Laudenslager's lab also runs cortisol and sex hormone assays in saliva and several immunological assays in serum/plasma. Contact info: Crystal Natvig, Phone: (303) 315-9278, email:


1. D'Anna, K.L. Ross, R.G. Natvig, C.L., Laudenslager, M.L. Hair cortisol levels as a retrospective marker of hypothalamic-pituitary axis activity throughout pregnancy: Comparison to salivary cortisol. Physiology & Behavior, in press.
2. Lynn A. Fairbanks, Matthew J. Jorgensen, Julia N.Bailey, Sherry E. Breidenthal, Rachel Grzywa, Mark L. Laudenslager, Heritability and genetic correlation of hair cortisol in vervet monkeys in low and higher stress environments. Psychoneuroendocrinology, in press.

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

Cell-free nucleic acids as biomarkers in cancer patients
DNA, mRNA and microRNA are released and circulate in the blood of cancer patients. Changes in the levels of circulating nucleic acids have been associated with tumour burden and malignant progression. In the past decade a wealth of information indicating the potential use of circulating
Animal behaviour: Large-scale cooperation
A deeper understanding of the evolution of cooperation will come from investigations of what animals know about working together. A study with Asian elephants now adds to the literature on the subject.
Anti-inflammatory therapeutics for the treatment of atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis is the primary cause of heart disease and stroke and is thus the underlying pathology of the leading causes of death in the western world. Although risk can be reduced by lowering lipid levels, the equally important contribution of inflammation to the development of
Parkinson disease: Could over-the-counter treatment protect against Parkinson...
Regular doses of ibuprofen could reduce the risk of developing Parkinson disease (PD), according to new research. Ibuprofen - a common and inexpensive over-the-counter drug - could potentially protect the brain's neurons against damage, says lead investigator Xiang Gao, of
Harvard Medical School and Har...
Ageing as a primary risk factor for Parkinson's disease: evidence from studie...
Ageing is the greatest risk factor for the development of Parkinson's disease. However, the current dogma holds that cellular mechanisms that are associated with ageing of midbrain dopamine neurons and those that are related to dopamine neuron degeneration in Parkinson's disease are unrelated. We pr...
Heart regeneration
Heart failure plagues industrialized nations, killing more people than any other disease. It usually results from a deficiency of specialized cardiac muscle cells known as cardiomyocytes, and a robust therapy to regenerate lost myocardium could help millions of patients every year. Heart regeneratio...
Implicit race attitudes predict trustworthiness judgments and economic trust ...
Trust lies at the heart of every social interaction. Each day we face decisions in which we must accurately assess another individual's trustworthiness or risk suffering very real consequences. In a global marketplace of increasing heterogeneity with respect to nationality, race, and multiple other ...
Synchronized arousal between performers and related spectators in a fire-walk...
Collective rituals are present in all known societies, but their function is a matter of long-standing debates. Field observations suggest that they may enhance social cohesion and that their effects are not limited to those actively performing but affect the audience as well. Here we show physiolog...
Evolution of personality differences in leadership [Evolution]
When members of a group differ in their preferred course of action, coordination poses a challenge. Leadership offers one way to resolve this difficulty, but the evolution of leaders and followers is itself poorly understood. Existing discussions have frequently attributed leadership to differences ...
[Perspective] Behavior: Explaining Human Behavioral Diversity
A study of 33 nations explores the ecological, historical, and cultural foundations of behavioral differences.
Fatal and Nonfatal Outcomes, Incidence of Hypertension, and Blood Pressure Ch...
Context: Extrapolations from observational studies and short-term intervention trials suggest that population-wide moderation of salt intake might reduce cardiovascular events.
Objective: To assess whether 24-hour urinary sodium excretion predicts blood pressure (BP) and health outcomes.
Trial of niacin alongside statin is stopped early
The US National Institutes of Health has stopped a clinical trial studying a combination of niacin (nicotinic acid) and a statin 18 months earlier than planned because of poor results. The AIM-HIGH...

Biomarkers and Aging in the News Media

How to square budget cuts, need for aging research
A disease standoff may be brewing: How can Alzheimer's research receive more scarce dollars without cutting from areas like heart disease or cancer?...
Elderly care costs 'could treble'
Countries must face up to the challenge of caring for ageing populations, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Blood test to tell how long you'll live? Not so fast
Researchers in Spain say they're close to marketing a genetic test that could tell consumers how fast they are aging and, potentially, how long they will live. But experts say that such claims are false.
Finger length clue to nerve disease
The length of a person's fingers could reveal their risk of motor neurone disease, according to a study.
New method to measure cortisol could lead to better understanding of developm...
A new method to measure the amount of the stress hormone cortisol found in the body over the long term could lead to new research avenues to study the development of common conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and depression. Researchers have found that hair can be used to create a retrospective timeline of exposure to cortisol. Cortisol is implicated in the development of many common conditions and this new technique could allow us to study its role better.
Blood test markers link polycystic ovary syndrome with cardiovascular risk
A new study shows that women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) show higher levels of blood markers associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) than control groups. These markers show up during a woman's earlier life, but might indicate a greater CVD risk in later life.
Gene for Alzheimer's Risk May Affect Brain Early
Young adults who carry a so-called Alzheimer's risk gene show disruption in their brains as early as their 20s, according to new research.
Simple fitness test could predict long-term risk for heart attack, stroke in ...
In two separate studies, researchers have found that how fast a middle-age person can run a mile can help predict the risk of dying of heart attack or stroke decades later for men and could be an early indicator of cardiovascular disease for women.
Super-sticky 'ultra-bad' cholesterol revealed in people at high risk of heart...
Scientists have discovered why a newly found form of cholesterol seems to be 'ultra-bad', leading to increased risk of heart disease. The discovery could lead to new treatments to prevent heart disease particularly in people with type 2 diabetes and the elderly.
Waist size predicts heart-disease death better than weight
Doctors have long known that obesity increases a person's risk of heart disease, but in recent years the picture has grown more complicated.
Middle age bulge increases risk of later dementia
Carrying around extra pounds during middle age was associated with a higher risk of dementia later in life in a new study that followed twins in Sweden for 30 years.
Exercise may boost stroke risk
Having sex, drinking coffee, working out -- these and other everyday activities that cause blood pressure to spike may briefly raise the risk of a burst aneurysm in the brains of certain vulnerable people, a new study suggests.
Study: Many elderly get colon screening too often
Many older Americans get repeat colon cancer tests they don't need and Medicare is paying for it, suggests a study that spotlights unnecessary risks to the elderly and a waste of money....
Are mammography guidelines making breast cancer deadlier?
Federal guidelines for routine mammography may be putting women at needless risk for breast cancer, researchers say
Low-Salt Diet Ineffective, Study Finds. Disagreement Abounds.
Officials at the Centers for Disease Control publicly criticized a European study that found low-salt diets increased the risk of death from cardiovascular ailments.
Cancer Diagnosis Rates Differ for Gays, Heterosexuals
A new study sheds light on the differences in cancer prevalence and survival rates in gay, lesbian, and bisexual populations compared with heterosexuals.
Getting along with co-workers may prolong life: But support from the boss has...
People who have a good peer support system at work may live longer than people who don't have such a support system, according to new research.
Men relax best when wives are busy
A new study shows wives' stress levels drop when their husbands are helping with chores, but men's stress levels fall when wives are busy.
Social life and mobility are keys to quality of life in old age
Resourcefulness, staying active and a busy social life play vital roles in helping people cope with the challenges of old age, researchers have found. Maintaining social relationships and mobility in old age are so important for general well-being that some elderly people will go to extreme lengths to keep active, according to the study. The research has led to a new method of measuring quality of life in older age being unvelied, replacing previous questionnaires which relied on expert or top d...
Changes in brain circuitry play role in moral sensitivity as people grow up
Moral responses to similar situations change as people age, says a study that combined brain scanning, eye-tracking and behavioral measures to understand how the brain responds to morally laden scenarios. Preschool children and adults distinguish between damage done either intentionally or accidentally when assessing whether a perpetrator had done something wrong. Adults are much less likely than children to think someone should be punished for damaging an object, especially if the action was ac...
More money, better health?
In the past, studies have shown little to no relation between how much money you spend and how healthy you are. But a new study has discovered a positive correlation between how much money elderly Medicare beneficiaries spend and their health outcomes.
Brain region necessary for making decisions about economic value identified
Neuroeconomic research has conclusively identified a part of the brain that is necessary for making everyday decisions about value. Previous functional magnetic imaging studies, during which researchers use a powerful magnet to determine which parts of a subjects brain are most active while doing a task, have suggested that the ventromedial frontal cortex, or VMF, plays an evaluative role during decision making.
Childbirth: Every Week in Utero Counts, Study Says
Children born in the 37th or 38th week of pregnancy have a higher risk of dying before their first birthdays than those born after 39 weeks of gestation.
Wild animals age, too: Researchers study senescence in blue-footed booby shows
Many might assume that wild animals generally die before they get old. Now, a Spanish-Mexican research team has demonstrated aging in a population of wild birds (Sula nebouxii) in terms of their ability to live and reproduce.
Mitochondria: Body's power stations can affect aging
Mitochondria are the body's energy producers, the power stations inside our cells. Researchers in Sweden have now identified a group of mitochondrial proteins, the absence of which allows other protein groups to stabilize the genome. This could delay the onset of age-related diseases and increase lifespan.
Evidence insufficient on relationship of modifiable factors with risk of Alzh...
The available evidence is insufficient to draw firm conclusions about the association of modifiable factors and risk of Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study.
Dementia, mild cognitive impairment common in 'oldest old' women
Mild cognitive impairment, dementia, and their subtypes are common in the "oldest old" women, which includes those 85 years of age and older, according to a new study.
Coffee 'cuts risk of male cancer'
Coffee has been linked to a reduced risk of dying from prostate cancer in a US study of nearly 50,000 men.
Dairy consumption does not elevate heart-attack risk, study suggests
Analysis of dairy intake and heart attack risk found no statistically significant relation in thousands of Costa Rican adults. Dairy foods might not harm heart health, despite saturated fat content, because they contain other possibly protective nutrients, researchers say.
Cell phone could raise cancer risk
Radiation from cell phones can possibly cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization. The agency lists mobile phone use in the same "carcinogenic hazard" category as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform.
Acetaminophen linked to cancer: How big is the threat?
Risk of blood cancer almost doubled for frequent acetaminophen users
High risk of Parkinson's disease for people exposed to pesticides near workpl...
Researchers have found that exposure to certain pesticides increased the risk of Parkinson's disease (PD) by three-fold, for non-farm workers who simply lived near fields being sprayed. Further, the study also implicates the pesticide ziram in the pathology of PD.

NIH Press Releases

NIH stops clinical trial on combination cholesterol treatment
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health has stopped a clinical trial studying a blood lipid treatment 18 months earlier than planned. The trial found that adding high dose, extended-release niacin to statin treatment in people with heart and vascular disease, did not reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, including heart attacks and stroke.
Study shows 19 percent of young adults have high blood pressure
Roughly 19 percent of young adults may have high blood pressure, according to an analysis of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), which is supported by the National Institutes of Health.
Breast cancer risk calculator updated for Asian-Americans
Researchers have developed a more accurate method for estimating breast cancer risk for Asian and Pacific Islander American (APA) women. Most current risk estimates rely on data from non-Hispanic white women, but researchers have now come up with a statistical model that more specifically assesses risk for American women who identify themselves as Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Hawaiian, other Pacific Islander, or other Asian.
Altruistic decision making focus of NIDA's Addiction Science Award
A study of what influences decision making on issues whose consequences will only be felt by future generations won first prize in the annual Addiction Science Awards at this year's Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) -- the world's largest science competition for high school students. The Intel ISEF Addiction Science Awards were presented at an awards ceremony Thursday night in
Los Angeles. The awards were presented by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, and Friends of NIDA, a coalition that supports NIDA's mission.
Moderate levels of secondhand smoke deliver nicotine to the brain
Exposure to secondhand smoke, such as a person can get by riding in an enclosed car while someone else smokes, has a direct, measurable impact on the brain -- and the effect is similar to what happens in the brain of the person doing the smoking.
5-minute screen identifies subtle signs of autism in 1-year olds
A five-minute checklist that parents can fill out in pediatrician waiting rooms may someday help in the early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Published today in the Journal of Pediatrics, the study's design also provides a model for developing a network of pediatricians to adopt such a change to their practice.
Tired neurons caught nodding off in sleep-deprived rats
A new study in rats is shedding light on how sleep-deprived lifestyles might impair functioning without people realizing it. The more rats are sleep-deprived, the more some of their neurons take catnaps -- with consequent declines in task performance. Even though the animals are awake and active, brainwave measures reveal that scattered groups of neurons in the thinking part of their brain, or cortex, are briefly falling asleep, scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health have discovered.
Vitamin E helps diminish a type of fatty liver disease in children
A specific form of vitamin E improved the most severe form of fatty liver disease in some children, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Results appear in the April 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. A previous study found vitamin E effective in some adults with the disease.

NIH Announcements

NIH Fiscal Policy for Grant Awards FY 2011
Notice NOT-OD-11-068 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts

NIMHD Health Disparities Research (R01)
Funding Opportunity RFA-MD-12-001 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to solicit innovative research that can directly and demonstrably contribute to the elimination of health disparities. Research aims may include, but are not limited to, biological mechanisms; behavioral strategies; lifestyle factors; environmental, structural, and economic factors; cultural and family influences; delivery system interventions; medical procedures and regimens (including alternative therapy), and medical assistive devices and health information technologies. Projects may involve primary data collection or secondary analysis of existing datasets.
Anchoring Metabolomic Changes to Phenotype (P20)
Funding Opportunity RFA-HL-12-009 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. This FOA issued by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institutes of Health, encourages applications from institutions or organizations that propose metabolomic phenotyping of existing cohorts to gain mechanistic understanding of the molecular determinants contributing to cardiovascular and lung disease phenotypes to help in predicting disease susceptibility, diagnosis, risk stratification, assessing response to therapy and assessing prognosis. The FOA proposes a multidisciplinary and integrated program with two interacting components, a metabolomic component and a mechanistic component, each informing the other in an iterative manner.
NIMHD Resource-Related Minority Health and Health Disparities Research (U24)
Funding Opportunity RFA-MD-11-005 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) encourages applications from organizations to provide support for conducting minority health and health disparities resource-related research activities that support the objectives and research strategy outlined in the NIMHD FY 2009-2013 Health Disparities Strategic Plan. The priority areas for this initiative are: Bioethics Research, Global Health Research, Data Infrastructure and Dissemination, and Healthcare for Rural Populations Research.
RFA-AG-12-001  Limited Competition: The Health and Retirement Study (U01) 2011/04/07 2011/06/11
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.
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



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)