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CCBAR Newsletter – May, 2012

Editors:  Natalia Gavrilova and Stacy Tessler Lindau  


CCBAR Director, Stacy Lindau, took part in the meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board for the HRS-harmonized population-based study TILDA in Dublin, Ireland. TILDA Wave I data are available for request via the Irish Social Sciences Data Archive (ISSDA)  More information about TILDA data availability can be found on TILDA website. During her visit to Dublin, Dr. Lindau toured the Liberties neighborhood with Irish colleagues and gave a lecture to health researchers and community leaders in the Liberties about MAPSCorps, an asset mapping program that engages youth and older adults from low income communities in gathering community resource data that are used to link people to resources for self-care and disease management.

Natalia Gavrilova participated in the Network on Biological Risk annual meeting held on May 2, 2012 in San Francisco, CA. This meeting was an important event for researchers collecting biomarkers in population-based settings. The first part of the meeting was devoted to various aspects of dried blood spot collection and analysis.  Additional talks included Elissa Epel on telomeres and Diane Lauderdale on sleep measurement.  The meeting agenda can be found on the Biomarker Network website. Natalia Gavrilova also participated in the 2012 annual meeting of the Population Association of America in San Francisco where she gave a presentation on the link between month of birth and exceptional longevity using the within-family approach. This year's meeting had many interesting presentations on biomeasures in population studies including one by Laura Blue from Princeton University on body weight, weight change and mortality risk. She estimated the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and mortality among adults aged 50-79 using data from five longitudinal surveys in a different high- or middle-income country: Australia, Costa Rica, England, Taiwan, and the USA. In all five surveys, the lowest risk of mortality was observed for "overweight" levels of BMI (25-30 mg/m2). Moreover, study of weight changes over time showed that weight gain was associated with lower mortality while weight loss was linked to higher mortality. These results raise new questions about healthy weight in aging. 

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

Depression: Biomarker discovery
The discovery of reliable biomarkers for psychiatric disorders such as major depressive disorder (MDD) could help to improve diagnosis and treatment. The authors used two animal models of depression to identify 26 candidate biomarker transcripts and compared their expression in human subjects with a...
Insights into CNS ageing from animal models of senescence
In recent years, novel model systems have made significant contributions to our understanding of the processes that control the ageing of whole organisms. However, there are limited data to show that the mechanisms that gerontologists have identified as having a role in organismal ageing contribute
Sound medicine
Everyone from rock stars to nonagenarians experiences hearing loss, but no drugs have ever been approved specifically to prevent or treat this problem. Recently, a handful of drug companies have started to make some noise, with a number of experimental compounds now in human trials. Elie Dolgin soun...
Metabolic surgery for type 2 diabetes
Clinicians note that bariatric operations can dramatically resolve type 2 diabetes, often before and out of proportion to postoperative weight loss. Now two randomized controlled trials formally show superior results from surgical compared with medical diabetes care, including among only mildly obes...
Topic: Guts over glory - why diets fail
Losing weight can pose a challenge, but how to avoid putting those pounds back on can be a real struggle. A major health problem for obese people is that diseases linked to obesity, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, put their lives at risk, even in young individuals. Although baria...
Prenatal cortisol and brain development [Psychological and Cognitive Sciences]
Stress-related variation in the intrauterine milieu may impact brain development and emergent function, with long-term implications in terms of susceptibility for affective disorders. Studies in animals suggest limbic regions in the developing brain are particularly sensitive to exposure to the stre...
Archaeology as a social science [Perspectives]
Because of advances in methods and theory, archaeology now addresses issues central to debates in the social sciences in a far more sophisticated manner than ever before. Coupled with methodological innovations, multiscalar archaeological studies around the world have produced a wealth of new data t...
Why the exclusion of older people from clinical research must stop
Exclusion of older people from clinical research, and of under-recruitment to clinical trials, is widespread.1 This problem has stark consequences, according to an expert committee of the European...
Natural insulin sensitizers [Commentary]
The incidence of type 2 diabetes (T2D), recognized in 2006 as a global health priority by the United Nations, is increasing worldwide. According to the International Diabetes Federation, approximately 190 million people are affected by T2D worldwide, a number expected to nearly double in the coming ...
Pay-what-you-want, identity, and self-signaling [Economic Sciences]
We investigate the role of identity and self-image consideration under 'pay-what-you-want' pricing. Results from three field experiments show that often, when granted the opportunity to name the price of a product, fewer consumers choose to buy it than when the price is fixed and low. We show that t...
Facial expressions are not universal [Psychological and Cognitive Sciences]
Since Darwin's seminal works, the universality of facial expressions of emotion has remained one of the longest standing debates in the biological and social sciences. Briefly stated, the universality hypothesis claims that all humans communicate six basic internal emotional states (happy, surprise,...
[Report] Recent Explosive Human Population Growth Has Resulted in an Excess o...
Genetic models that incorporate recent human population growth can better identify mutations in large samples.
Pre-term births on the rise
But simple measures could cut the mortality rate  of premature babies in poorer countries.
Positive feelings and mortality risk [Letters (Online Only)]
Steptoe and Wardle (1) provided potentially the most compelling evidence to date relating positive feelings to longevity. They extended prior research investigating the well-being?mortality link (2) principally by measuring positive affect in real-time, thus avoiding recall biases that may have conf...
Recalled vs. experienced affect and mortality [Letters (Online Only)]
Michael Daly (1) raises two important issues in his response to our paper (2). The first concerns assessing positive affect by momentary measures rather than retrospective questionnaires. The second concerns confounding of measures of affect by health status.Momentary measures of affect are thought ...
[News Focus] American Association of Physical Anthropologists: Older Dads Hav...
New data presented at the meeting suggest that children of older fathers and grandfathers may inherit longer telomeres, structures at the tips of chromosomes that may protect against aging and disease.

Biomarkers and Aging in the News Media

First gene therapy successful against aging-associated decline: Mouse lifespa...
A new study consisting of inducing cells to express telomerase, the enzyme which -- metaphorically -- slows down the biological clock -- was successful. The research provides a "proof-of-principle" that this "feasible and safe" approach can effectively "improve health span."
Opinion: Prostate cancer screening's false promise
Otis Brawley says a new report shows that years of routine, mass prostate cancer screening has brought more risk than benefit--but not for the medical industry that has grown up around it
Well: Sleep Apnea Tied to Increased Cancer Risk
Two new studies associate a common disorder of sleep that causes pauses in breathing with a higher risk of cancer.
HDL 'Good Cholesterol' Found Not to Cut Heart Risk
People genetically prone to higher levels of HDL, often called 'good cholesterol,' showed that they did not have any significant decrease in risk of cardiovascular disease.
People with severe sleep apnea five times more likely to die from cancer, stu...
Association with cancer death risk higher in non-obese study subjects
American men closing the longevity gender gap
Here's a fist bump, boys - or, if you prefer, a bro hug - for some hard-earned progress. In the ultimate competition, the race to stay alive, you're gaining furiously on the fairer sex.
Overweight, Obese Teens Show Early Heart Risks
Two new studies show the early health risks the ever-enlarging number of obese U.S. teens face, from diabetes to heart damage.
A Better Way to Assess Body Fat and Health Risk?
BMI's days as a top way to measure body fat and associated health risks may be numbered. New research suggests that the better way to know where you stand concerning health risks related to your amount of body fat is your waist-to-height ratio.
Hunter-gatherers and horticulturalist lifestyle linked to lower blood pressur...
Traditional "hunter-gatherer" and "horticulturalist" populations have significantly lower age-related increases in blood pressure and less risks of atherosclerosis than "modernized" populations. Lifestyle factors of these traditional populations -- high physical activity and high fruit and vegetable diets -- may protect against normal aging phenomena, high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries. Hunter-gatherers and forager-horticulturalists who live off the land and grow what they need to...
Stressed men are more social
Researchers have refuted the common belief that stress always causes aggressive behavior.
How Losing Weight Could Lower Breast Cancer Risk
Could moderate weight loss lower your chance of developing breast cancer? Researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center think it's possible.
Well: Nutrition: More Omega-3, Less of a Suspect Protein
A study shows consumption of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with lower blood levels of beta-amyloid protein, a possible indication of increased risk for Alzheimer's disease.
Mid-life depression linked to dementia
People who have symptoms of depression in middle age may be at increased risk of dementia decades later, a new study suggests.
Eating for Longevity
What makes some people live longer than others? Studies suggest that diet is one of the important contributors to longevity and a healthy life.
Delayed female sexual maturity linked to longer lifespan in mice
Female mice from strains with lower IGF1 levels reach sexual maturity at a significantly later age. Combined with previous research showing that mouse strains with lower circulating levels of IGF1 live longer, the findings suggest a genetically regulated tradeoff: delayed reproduction but longer life.
Biomarkers can reveal irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is hard to diagnose as well as treat, but researchers have now discovered a way of confirming the disorder using stool samples.
Diabetes shrinks elderly brain
Elderly people with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes suffer from an accelerated decline in brain size and mental capacity in as little as two years according to new research.
Birth-Defect Risk Higher With Fertility Treatments, Study Shows
An Australian survey of about 300,000 pregnancies, with more than 6,000 resulting from fertility treatments, found that treatment was associated with a 28 percent greater risk for birth defects.
Pregnancy After 40: Healthy Weight Improves Risk
Pregnancy after 40 does carry more risks, but being at a healthy weight before getting pregnant seems to modify those risks, new research suggests.
Testosterone Linked to Weight Loss in Obese Men
Testosterone replacement may promote weight loss in obese older men who have low levels of the male sex hormone, a new study shows.
Eye Color Linked to Skin Diseases
They say "the eyes are the window to the soul." But a new study suggests the eyes may also offer a sneak peek at the risk of serious skin problems down the road.
Early Biomarker for Pancreatic Cancer Identified
Researchers have identified a new biomarker and therapeutic target for pancreatic cancer, an often-fatal disease for which there is currently no reliable method for early detection or therapeutic intervention.
First gene therapy successful against aging-associated decline: Mouse lifespa...
A new study consisting of inducing cells to express telomerase, the enzyme which -- metaphorically -- slows down the biological clock -- was successful. The research provides a "proof-of-principle" that this "feasible and safe" approach can effectively "improve health span."

NIH Press Releases

NHGRI collaborates with Smithsonian to produce new genome exhibit
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the completion of the first complete human genome sequence -- the genetic blueprint of the human body -- the Smithsonian Institution will open a high-tech, high-intensity exhibit in 2013. The exhibit is a collaboration of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) of the National Institutes of Health.
NIH study finds sigmoidoscopy reduces colorectal cancer rates
Flexible sigmoidoscopy, a screening test for colorectal cancer that is less invasive and has fewer side effects than colonoscopy, is effective in reducing the rates of new cases and deaths due to colorectal cancer, according to research sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health. In a study that spanned almost 20 years, researchers found that overall colorectal cancer mortality (deaths) was reduced by 26 percent and incidence (new cases) was reduced by 21 percent as a result of screening with sigmoidoscopy. These results appeared online, ahead of print, on May 21, 2012, in the New England Journal of Medicine, and were presented at Digestive Disease Week, a scientific conference.
NIH-led study finds genetic test results do not trigger increased use of heal...
People have increasing opportunities to participate in genetic testing that can indicate their range of risk for developing a disease. Receiving these results does not appreciably drive up or diminish test recipients' demand for potentially costly follow-up health services, according to a study performed by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and colleagues at other institutions.
NIH study finds that coffee drinkers have lower risk of death
Older adults who drank coffee -- caffeinated or decaffeinated -- had a lower risk of death overall than others who did not drink coffee, according a study by researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and AARP.
NIH-funded research provides new clues on how ApoE4 affects Alzheimer's risk
Common variants of the ApoE gene are strongly associated with the risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer's disease, but the gene's role in the disease has been unclear. Now, researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have found that in mice, having the most risky variant of ApoE damages the blood vessels that feed the brain.
Awake mental replay of past experiences critical for learning
Awake mental replay of past experiences is essential for making informed choices, suggests a study in rats. Without it, the animals' memory-based decision-making faltered, say scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health. The researchers blocked learning from, and acting on, past experience by selectively suppressing replay -- encoded as split-second bursts of neuronal activity in the memory hubs of rats performing a maze task.
NIH scientists find that chromosomal abnormalities are associated with aging ...
Two new studies have found that large structural abnormalities in chromosomes, some of which have been associated with increased risk of cancer, can be detected in a small fraction of people without a prior history of cancer. The studies found that these alterations in chromosomes appear to increase with age, particularly after the age of 50, and may be associated with an increased risk for cancer. These studies were conducted by two consortia, one led by scientists at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and one by Gene Environment Association Studies (GENEVA) which is sponsored by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). NCI and NHGRI are both parts of the National Institutes of Health.
NIH research featured in HBO documentary series on obesity
The Weight of the Nation documentary series and public awareness campaign by the cable network HBO, launching this week, features National Institutes of Health research showing how obesity affects the country's health and how interventions can turn the tide against obesity and its complications.
NIH encourages Americans to make healthy vision last a lifetime
Vision changes as people get older, but vision loss is not a normal part of aging.

NIH Announcements

NIMHD Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) Initiative in Reducing an...
Funding Opportunity RFA-MD-12-006 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) invites applications for this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to plan the development of effective interventions using community based participatory research (CBPR) approaches. Support will be provided to develop and strengthen partnerships between researchers and health disparity communities to plan and pilot interventions for a disease or condition to reduce health disparities.
National Institute on Aging Analysis of Alzheimer's Disease Genome Sequencing...
14 May 2012 at 1:00pm
Funding Opportunity PAR-12-183 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. The National Institute on Aging invites applications specific to the analysis of whole exome and genome sequencing data provided by the National Human Genome Research Institute Large-Scale Sequencing Program for the Alzheimer's disease research community..
Multidisciplinary Studies of HIV/AIDS and Aging (R01)
Funding Opportunity PAR-12-175 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. This FOA invites applications proposing to study HIV infection, HIV-associated conditions, HIV treatment, and/or biobehavioral or social factors associated with HIV/AIDS in the context of aging and/or in older adults. Research approaches of interest include clinical translational, observational, and intervention studies in domestic and international settings.
Multidisciplinary Studies of HIV/AIDS and Aging (R03)
Funding Opportunity PAR-12-176 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. This FOA invites applications proposing to study HIV infection, HIV-associated conditions, HIV treatment, and/or biobehavioral or social factors associated with HIV/AIDS in the context of aging and/or in older adults. Research approaches of interest include clinical translational, observational, and intervention studies in domestic and international settings.
Secondary Analyses in Obesity, Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (R21)
Funding Number: PA-12-125
Expiration Date: May 8, 2015
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



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.
2012 NIH Summer Institute on Social and Behavioral Intervention Research, July 9-13, 2012
Columbia University, School of Social Work, New York
Application Deadline: 11:59 PM Eastern, Friday, April 27, 2012


Conference "Biospecimens and Biorepositories" - Jun 07-08, 2012 - San Diego, CA, USA
Helen Moore, Ph.D., Administrative Director at the Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research, NCI, NIH, to give a Keynote talk.
Deadline for 10% discount ends on May 7th

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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