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CCBAR Newsletter – November, 2013

Editors:  Natalia Gavrilova and Stacy Tessler Lindau  


The 8th Chicago Workshop on Biomeasures in Population-Based Health and Aging Research

Slides for selected presentations at the 2013 Workshop, "Biosocial Study of Health and Aging in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and HIV-Affected Populations" are available at the CCBAR website:

Natalia Gavrilova participated in the annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America in New Orleans, LA (November 18-24, 2013). Many sessions featured biomarker research including "Are Socioeconomic Differences in Health-Related Outcomes Still Important in the Oldest Old?," "Biomarkers of Aging: Looking Beyond the One-System One-Deficit Paradigm," "The Use of Biomarkers in Gerontological Nursing Research." A related symposium, "Geroscience - Aging Biology as the Common Risk Factor for Chronic Diseases," organized by Felipe Sierra (NIH), examined basic to translational aging research and aging “as a driver” of diseases of the elderly. Another symposium "National Sexuality, Aging, and Health Research: Optimal Aging among LGBT Older Adults" chaired by Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen (U Washington), illustrated the importance of understanding both risks and resources as they relate to optimal aging in our increasingly diverse society.  The Interest Group Meeting "Societal Implications of Delaying Aging" discussed related funding opportunities.


Q: Would you be able to assist me by providing the numbers of racial minorities who participated in NSHAP saliva specimen collection?

A (Natalia Gavrilova):  Published proportions of ethnic/racial minorities cooperating in saliva collection are presented in a paper describing the salivary hormone assays (Gavrilova N., Lindau S.T. Salivary sex hormone measurement in a national, population-based study of older adults. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 2009, 64, Suppl.1, i94-105.). The numbers of racial minorities who cooperated were not published and we list them here: White/Caucasian 2,108 (of 2,295), Black/African American 427 (of 509) and 181 others (of 193).

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

Experimental evidence for the influence of group size on cultural complexity
by Maxime Derex, Marie-Pauline Beugin, Bernard Godelle, Michel Raymond
The remarkable ecological and demographic success of humanity is largely attributed to our capacity for cumulative culture. The accumulation of beneficial cultural innovations across generations is puzzling because transmission events are generally imperfect, although there is large variance in fide...
Preoptic control of song and brain plasticity [Neuroscience]
by Alward, B. A., Balthazart, J., Ball, G. F.
Steroid hormones regulate multiple but distinct aspects of social behaviors. Testosterone (T) has multiple effects on learned courtship song in that it regulates both the motivation to sing in a particular social context as well as the quality of song produced. The neural substrate(s) where T acts t...
HPV: Sex, cancer and a virus
by Megan Scudellari
Human papillomavirus is causing a new form of head and neck cancer? leaving researchers scrambling to understand risk factors, tests and treatments.
Life history trade-offs in cancer evolution
by C. Athena Aktipis, Amy M. Boddy, Robert A. Gatenby, Joel S. Brown, Carlo C. Maley
Somatic evolution during cancer progression and therapy results in tumour cells that show a wide range of phenotypes, which include rapid proliferation and quiescence. Evolutionary life history theory may help us to understand the diversity of these phenotypes. Fast life history organisms reproduce ...
Sleep deprivation increases brain connectivity [Neuroscience]
by Bosch, O. G., Rihm, J. S., Scheidegger, M., Landolt, H.–P., Stampfli, P., Brakowski, J., Esposito, F., Rasch, B., Seifritz, E.
In many patients with major depressive disorder, sleep deprivation, or wake therapy, induces an immediate but often transient antidepressant response. It is known from brain imaging studies that changes in anterior cingulate and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activity correlate with a relief of depr...
Similarity increases altruistic punishment [Psychological and Cognitive Scien...
by Mussweiler, T., Ockenfels, A.
Humans are attracted to similar others. As a consequence, social networks are homogeneous in sociodemographic, intrapersonal, and other characteristics - a principle called homophily. Despite abundant evidence showing the importance of interpersonal similarity and homophily for human relationships, th...
[Research Articles] Gene Transfer of Human Apoe Isoforms Results in Different...
by Hudry, E., Dashkoff, J., Roe, A. D., Takeda, S., Koffie, R. M., Hashimoto, T., Scheel, M., Spires-Jones, T., Arbel-Ornath, M., Betensky, R., Davidson, B. L., Hyman, B. T.
Inheritance of the 4 allele of apolipoprotein E (APOE) is the strongest genetic risk factor associated with the sporadic form of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), whereas the rare APOE 2 allele has the opposite effect. However, the mechanisms whereby APOE confers risk and protection remain uncertain. ...
[Focus] Preserving Youth: Does Rapamycin Deliver?
by Johnson, S. C., Martin, G. M., Rabinovitch, P. S., Kaeberlein, M.
Research suggests that the drug rapamycin slows mammalian aging, but a provocative new study has gained attention by claiming to show it does not.
Target cardiovascular risk rather than cholesterol concentration
by Krumholz, H. M.
The recent American 'Guideline on the Treatment of Blood Cholesterol to Reduce Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk in Adults' heralds a new era in the prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular...
British women are engaging in greater variety of sexual practices
by Torjesen, I.
Great Britain is becoming more accepting of sexual diversity, and women in particular are now more open to participating in more diverse sexual behaviours, especially well educated and wealthier...
Association of Nut Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
by (Ying Bao et al)
New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 369, Issue 21, Page 2001-2011, November 2013.
Depression Promotes Cognitive Decline in Patients With Diabetes
by Slomski A.
Individuals with type 2 diabetes who also have depression had an accelerated cognitive decline during a 40-month cohort study of participants in the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes?Memory in Diabetes (ACCORD-MIND) trial (Sullivan MD et al. JAMA Psychiatry. 2013;70[10]:1041-1047).
Risks Higher for Some Estrogen Drugs
by Slomski A.
Use of conjugated equine estrogens (CEEs) to relieve the vasomotor symptoms of menopause is associated with about twice the risk of venous thrombosis compared with oral estradiol, according to a population-based case-control study of postmenopausal women (Smith NL et al. JAMA Intern Med. doi:10.1001...
Accumulating Evidence for Statins in Primary Prevention
by Robinson JG.
Many voices in the public and the medical community argue strongly against the widespread use of statins for the primary prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Critics give several reasons to avoid statin therapy, including concerns about adverse effects, lack of a total mortality ben...
Childhood maltreatment and brain connectivity [Neuroscience]
by Herringa, R. J., Birn, R. M., Ruttle, P. L., Burghy, C. A., Stodola, D. E., Davidson, R. J., Essex, M. J.
Maltreatment during childhood is a major risk factor for anxiety and depression, which are major public health problems. However, the underlying brain mechanism linking maltreatment and internalizing disorders remains poorly understood. Maltreatment may alter the activation of fear circuitry, but li...
Gene-by-age interaction in brain [Psychological and Cognitive Sciences]
by Glahn, D. C., Kent, J. W., Sprooten, E., Diego, V. P., Winkler, A. M., Curran, J. E., McKay, D. R., Knowles, E. E., Carless, M. A., Goring, H. H. H., Dyer, T. D., Olvera, R. L., Fox, P. T., Almasy, L., Charlesworth, J., Kochunov, P., Duggirala, R., Blangero, J.
Identification of genes associated with brain aging should markedly improve our understanding of the biological processes that govern normal age-related decline. However, challenges to identifying genes that facilitate successful brain aging are considerable, including a lack of established phenotyp...
What's New With Measuring Cholesterol?
by Gaziano J, Gaziano TA.
Exactly 100 years ago, one of the most important lines of research in cardiology began the story of cholesterol. This complicated saga has many twists and turns and much controversy, even continuing to today. It is the tale of a simple compound that has been the subject of thousands of papers and se...
Genetics: More risk genes for Alzheimer's
The largest genetics study so far of late-onset Alzheimer's disease has identified 11 new genome regions that alter the risk of the disease.A team of some 200 scientists in the International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project carried out meta-analyses of four separate genome-wide association studies,
Childhood poverty, chronic stress, and adult brain [Psychological and Cogniti...
by Kim, P., Evans, G. W., Angstadt, M., Ho, S. S., Sripada, C. S., Swain, J. E., Liberzon, I., Phan, K. L.
Childhood poverty has pervasive negative physical and psychological health sequelae in adulthood. Exposure to chronic stressors may be one underlying mechanism for childhood poverty - health relations by influencing emotion regulatory systems. Animal work and human cross-sectional studies both suggest...
Resolving the Tension Between Population Health and Individual Health Care
by Sox HC.
Health care in the United States is far costlier than in any other country, yet its outcomes, while improving, are worsening relative to other countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Perhaps the de facto organizing principle for US health care - approaching each...

Biomarkers and Aging in the News Media

Want to Stay Young? Start Moving
Study finds it's never too late to reap the anti-aging benefits of exercise
Eat nuts, live longer
Hungry? Grab a handful of nuts. Not only are they packed with protein, but it turns out they may be the food for longevity.
How to Slash Heart Risks Tied to Obesity
Lower your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, analysis concludes
Flushed Complexion After Drinking Could Point to High Blood Pressure Risk
Response could signal vulnerability for alcohol-linked blood pressure trouble, study found
The deadly news about all osteoporotic fractures
It is well known that hip and vertebral fractures increase the risk of premature death. Until now, little has been known about the clinical impact of non-hip, non-vertebral fractures -- so new Australian research showing that they may also increase the risk of death will better inform treatment.
Negative BRCA testing may not always imply lowered breast cancer risk
Women who are members of families with BRCA2 mutations but who test negative for the family-specific BRCA2 mutations are still at greater risk for developing breast cancer compared with women in the general population, according to a study.
Health insurance increases preventive care, not risky behaviors
People with health insurance are more likely to use preventive services such as flu shots and health screenings to reduce their risk of serious illness, but they are no more likely than people without health insurance to engage in risky health behaviors such as smoking or gaining weight, researchers have found.
High-fat diet during puberty speeds up breast cancer development
New findings show that eating a high-fat diet beginning at puberty speeds up the development of breast cancer and may actually increase the risk of cancer similar to a type often found in younger adult women.
Bumps in the Road to New Cholesterol Guidelines
Some doctors said a panel issuing guidelines for avoiding cholesterol risks had ignored part of the available data, and they asserted it should have first released a draft report to allow for comments.
More walking tied to lower stroke risk among older men
NEW YORK - Older men who spend several hours walking each day are less likely to have a stroke than their peers who rarely walk, a new study suggests. And walking pace didn't seem to matter.
Step away from that soda: Sugary drinks raise cancer risk for women, study finds
Here's another reason for ladies to just put down that sugary soda ? it raises the risk of endometrial cancer.Women who drank the most sweet soft drinks had a 78 percent increased risk of the cancer, researchers found. But other sweet treats, such as baked goods, didn't have an effect.
We're No. 26! US below average on most health measures
Americans are below average on most measures of health - from obesity to infant mortality - when compared with other rich countries, and they're falling behind on lifespan, too, according to the latest survey.
Unemployment stress may cause men to age faster, study finds
As if being unemployed isn't bad enough, the stress of long-term joblessness may cause men to genetically age faster, a new large study suggests.
'The Pill' Tied to Raised Risk of Glaucoma
Eye disease more common among users of birth control pills, study finds
Investments in aging biology research will pay longevity dividend
Finding a way to slow the biological processes of aging will do more to extend the period of healthy life in humans than attacking individual diseases alone, according to some of the nation's top gerontologists.
Mushroom Compound Offers Hope for Cancer in Dogs and Humans
Jeff Gillman's dog Reuben is enrolled in a clinical trial of a Chinese mushroom compound that has shown some of the longest survival rates ever reported for dogs with hemangiosarcoma. Researchers hope it may help humans, too.
Depression 'speeds ageing process'
Depression can make us physically older by speeding up the ageing process in our cells, research suggests.
Meat Products Could Raise Diabetes Risk: Study
But more research is needed to confirm the findings
Obese older women at higher risk for death, disease, disability before age 85
Obesity and a bigger waist size in older women are associated with a higher risk of death, major chronic disease and mobility disability before the age of 85, according to a study.
Bisexual Men Aren't at Greater HIV Risk: Review
Analysis of 3,000 studies found they were 40 percent as likely as homosexual men to have AIDS virus

NIH Press Releases

Gene-silencing study finds new targets for Parkinson's disease
NIH study sheds light on treatment of related disorders.
NIH mouse study finds gut microorganisms may determine cancer treatment outcome
An unhealthy gut microbiome may limit treatment effectiveness.
Researchers suggest China consider national flu vaccination plan with stagger...
According to the first comprehensive study of the country's flu patterns.
Genetic data does not improve anticoagulation control with warfarin
NIH-funded study shows genotyping adds no benefit when added to a clinically-guided dosing formula.
Chelation therapy reduces cardiovascular events for older patients with diabetes
Use of chelation therapy in the United States between 2002 and 2007 by nearly 68 percent.
NIH survey identifies barriers to effective patient-provider dialogue about COPD
Lack of communication between patients and doctors about COPD remains a major issue.
NIH-funded study finds donor age not a factor in most corneal transplants
10-year success rates remained steady at 75 percent for corneal transplants from donors 34-71 years old.
NIH statement: Family support key to diabetes prevention, management
Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers, Director, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for World Diabetes Day.
First director named for NHGRI's new Division of Genomics and Society
Lawrence Brody, Ph.D. selected to lead new division that includes ELSI research program.
Earliest marker for autism found in young infants
NIH-funded study finds attention to others? eyes declines in 2 to 6-month-old infants later diagnosed with autism.
NIH-funded study finds that gabapentin may treat alcohol dependence
Promising results from a randomized, controlled clinical trial of the medication.
Study shows adults had significant weight loss three years after bariatric su...
Second study in teens shows few complications in first 30 days after surgery.

Funding Announcements

The Iinstitute of Medicine has an exciting research opportunity with funding available to analyze data from the Air Force Health Study (AFHS; also known as the Ranch Hand study). The AFHS was a Congressional directed epidemiologic study intended to evaluate the frequency and nature of adverse health effects that might be related to exposure to military herbicides used during the Vietnam Conflict. Standardized, comprehensive health and personal characteristics data and multiple biospecimens were collected for 20 years in 6 cycles (1982, 1985, 1987, 1992, 1997, and 2002). In all, 2,758 subjects participated in at least one cycle exam.  Access to the materials is open to qualified researchers whose use of the AFHS assets is deemed appropriate by an IOM committee that evaluates the scientific merit of proposals and the National Academies' Institutional Review Board. The program accepts proposals as part of a rolling submission process; funding is available to support the most meritorious pilot studies and small-scale research projects. Please check for the current announcement and links to information on the data and submission materials.  In the case of questions, please contact Anne Styka, MPH, Research Director, Air Force Health Study, Board on the Health of Select Populations, Institute of Medicine (202.334.3941,
Analysis of Genome-Wide Gene-Environment (G x E) Interactions (R21)
Funding Opportunity PAR-13-382 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. The purpose of this FOA is to provide support for research projects that involve secondary data analyses of existing genome-wide data from genome-wide association studies or other large genomic datasets for the purpose of identifying gene-environment interactions. The ultimate objective of this funding opportunity is the discovery of complex interplays of genes and environmental factors in human populations which may disclose novel genetic susceptibilities to environmental exposures or a greater understanding of the role of environmental exposures in the development, progression, and severity of complex human diseases.
NIH Support for Conferences and Scientific Meetings (Parent R13/U13)
Funding Number: PA-13-347
Expiration Date: September 8, 2016
Academic Research Enhancement Award (Parent R15)
Funding Number: PA-13-313
Expiration Date: September 8, 2016
Behavioral and Social Science Research on Understanding and Reducing Health Disparities (R21)
Funding Number: PA-13-288
Expiration Date: September 8, 2016
Mid-life Reversibility of Early-established Biobehavioral Risk Factors (R01)
Funding Opportunity RFA-AG-14-006 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) issued by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) is to solicit two-year Research Project Grant (R01) applications that propose to explore the potential for midlife plasticity of biobehavioral or psychological systems affected by early life disadvantage. In order to speed the development of novel intervention strategies, applicants are encouraged either to use existing human cohort data to identify circumstances that mitigate or exacerbate the effects of early adversity or to use human and/or animal models to test the feasibility of developing interventions aimed specifically at increasing malleability in adulthood of risk persistence mechanisms.
High Priority Behavioral and Social Research Networks (R24)
Funding Opportunity RFA-AG-14-007 from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. The purpose of this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) issued by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), working in part with funds contributed by the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research ( ), is to provide infrastructure support for advancing development of specific emerging and high priority interdisciplinary areas of behavioral and social research of relevance to aging. The infrastructure support will facilitate research networks through meetings, conferences, small scale pilots, training, and dissemination to encourage growth and development of specified priority areas and of resources for the field at large. Projects are solicited that will develop, strengthen, and evaluate transdisciplinary approaches and methods for basic behavioral and/or social research.
Regional and International Differences in Health and Longevity at Older Ages (R01) PA-13-125
Expiration Date September 8, 2016
Obesity Policy Evaluation Research (R01) PA-13-110
Expiration Date: May 8, 2016
PAR-12-186  DBSR  Macroeconomic Aspects of Population Aging (R01)
Expiration date:  10/04/2014 
Biodemography of Aging (R01), Funding Number: PAR-12-078
Expiration Date: March 4, 2014



2014 Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America 
Marriott Copley Place, Boston, MA, May 1-3, 2014
Abstract deadline was September 27, 2013

2014 Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Geriatrics Society (AGS), May 15 - 17, 2014
Orlando, Florida
Abstract deadline: December 2, 2013 at 11:59 pm EST

The 26th REVES meeting on health expectancy
Edinburgh, UK, May 28-30, 2014
Abstract submission deadline: February 1, 2014

The 67th Annual Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, November 5-9, 2014
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC
Abstract submission deadline: March 15, 2014

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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