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CCBAR Newsletter – October, 2012

Editors:  Natalia Gavrilova and Stacy Tessler Lindau  


CCBAR training

Brigid Adviento and Dana Nickson participate in the DBS collection training session.


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

Stress and the city: Urban decay
Scientists are testing the idea that the stress of modern city life is a breeding ground for psychosis.
Economics and genetics meet in uneasy union
Use of population-genetic data to predict economic success sparks war of words.
Stress and the brain: Under pressure
A special section of Nature traces the emerging links between stress and mental illness.
Telomeres and adversity: Too toxic to ignore
A stark warning about the societal costs of stress comes from links between shortened telomeres, chronic stress and disease, say Elizabeth H. Blackburn and Elissa S. Epel.
Genetics: The inner life of proteins
A quantitative analysis shows that epistasis - the fact that genetic background determines whether a mutation is beneficial, deleterious or inconsequential - is the main factor regulating evolution at the level of proteins
Epistasis as the primary factor in molecular evolution
The main forces directing long-term molecular evolution remain obscure. A sizable fraction of amino-acid substitutions seem to be fixed by positive selection, but it is unclear to what degree long-term protein evolution is constrained by epistasis, that is, instances when substitutions that are acce...
Older males beget more mutations
Three papers characterizing human germline mutation rates bolster evidence for a relatively low rate of base substitution in modern humans and highlight a central role for paternal age in determining rates of mutation. These studies represent the advent of a transformation in our understanding of mu...
Neurobiology of resilience
The authors review our understanding of the biological basis of resilience to stress. The review examines findings from both humans and animals and also discusses how this knowledge can help guide treatment for stress-related disorders.
Third universal definition of myocardial infarction
Myocardial infarction is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. In this consensus document, experts from the ESC, ACCF, AHA, and WHF update the universal definition and classification of myocardial infarction to integrate the latest evidence on the detection of myocardial injury and nec...
[Commentary] Revolution Stalled
Drug discovery is at a near standstill for treating psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and common forms of autism. Despite high prevalence and unmet medical need, major pharmaceutical companies are deemphasizing or exiting psychiatry, thus removing significant...
Biomarkers: Identifying silent heart disease
Cardiovascular disease and cancer are major contributors to mortality. Screening programs have been implemented for the early identification of cancers; researchers now propose a similar strategy to identify preclinical, silent heart disease. Our plan was to develop the idea that a biomarker like B...
Biomarkers: Pros and cons of high-sensitivity assays for cardiac troponin
A 3-h algorithm using high-sensitivity assays for cardiac troponin to rule out myocardial infarction (MI) is recommended in current ESC guidelines. Whether faster rule-out algorithms can discriminate between MI and other conditions that elevate the troponin level, or be safely implemented across the...
Ambiguity tolerance and risk-taking in adolescents [Economic Sciences]
Adolescents engage in a wide range of risky behaviors that their older peers shun, and at an enormous cost. Despite being older, stronger, and healthier than children, adolescents face twice the risk of mortality and morbidity faced by their younger peers. Are adolescents really risk-seekers or does...
Baboon personalities and fitness [Evolution]
Studies of personality in nonhuman primates have usually relied on assessments by humans and seldom considered the function of the resulting ?trait? classifications. In contrast, we applied exploratory principal component analysis to seven behaviors among 45 wild female baboons over 7 y to determine...
Family Matters in Health Care Delivery
The relevance of family, broadly defined as encompassing blood relatives as well as trusted friends and partners, influences health and health care across the life span. The considerable economic value conferred by families to patients and the health system is also widely acknowledged. According to ...
Trends in Lipids and Lipoproteins in US Adults, 1988-2010 Trends in Lipids an...
ContextSerum total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) contribute to atherosclerosis and its clinical consequences. Between the periods 1988-1994 and 1999-2002, mean TC and mean LDL-C declined in adults. During this time, there was an increase in the percentage of adults...

Biomarkers and Aging in the News Media

Women who give up smoking extend lives by 10 years
A new study of over a million women reports smokers more than triple their risk of dying early compared with nonsmokers, and that kicking the habit can virtually eliminate this increased risk of premature death.
Four keys to healthy aging
Everyone knows eating right, exercising, and shunning smoking and other bad habits increases our chances of having a long and healthy life. If you're only hitting some of these goals, you're likely missing out on the full benefits that come with living a healthy lifestyle across the board, a new study shows.
Hormone therapy may help cut Alzheimer's risk
The latest data from a long-running study of hormone therapy suggests women who started taking hormone replacements within five years of menopause were 30 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than women who started years later.
USPSTF: Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy Do Not Outweigh Risks
The panel said that hormone replacement therapy could elevate the risk of certain health conditions, like strokes.
Hormone Therapy May Benefit Some Women's Hearts
Hormone replacement therapy may do more than ease hot flashes and mood swings. A new study suggests that women who start taking hormones during menopause might get some protection against heart disease without seeing increases in other serious risks.
Hormone Test May Predict Breast Cancer Risk 20 Years in Advance
Researchers have found that a simple blood test may predict a postmenopausal woman's chance of developing breast cancer over the course of her lifetime - and the test stays accurate for 20 years.
Study Questions the Value of Annual Physical Exams
Regular physical exams are annual rituals for many Americans. Now a new research review finds no evidence that these kinds of checkups help people live longer, or cut the risk of dying of cancer or heart disease.
Exercise Protects Aging Brains Better
Staying mentally sharp as you age may have more to do with working out than working on crossword puzzles, new research suggests.
Lifting weights protects against metabolic syndrome, study suggests
People who lift weights are less likely to have metabolic syndrome -- a cluster of risk factors linked to heart disease and diabetes, reports a new study.
Fast Walking May Slash at Heart Disease, Diabetes
Fast walking, jogging, and other forms of more vigorous exercise may slash your risk for heart disease and diabetes, new research suggests.
Sitting for Prolonged Periods Ups Risk for Diabetes, Heart Disease, Death by ...
The researchers also found that the risk was not entirely offset by exercise.
Infertility Treatment May Raise Birth Defect Risk
Babies conceived with the help of high-tech fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) have an increased risk for birth defects, a new study shows.
Risk factors predict childhood obesity, researchers find
High birth weight, rapid weight gain and having an overweight mother who smokes can all increase the risk of a baby becoming obese later in childhood, research by experts has found.
U.S. Boys Hitting Puberty Sooner
American boys appear to be maturing sexually at a younger age, a study found
Neurotransmitters linked to mating behavior are shared by mammals and worms
When it comes to sex, animals of all shapes and sizes tend behave in predictable ways. There may be a chemical reason for that. New research has shown that chemicals in the brain -- neuropeptides known as vasopressin and oxytocin -- play a role in coordinating mating and reproductive behavior in animals ranging from humans to fish to invertebrates.
Eye movements and the search for biomarkers for schizophrenia
There is a long history of research on impaired eye movements associated with schizophrenia. Using a series of simple viewing tests, researchers explored the ability of these eye movement tests to distinguish people with and without the diagnosis of schizophrenia. Using their complete dataset, they were able to develop a model that could discriminate all schizophrenia cases from healthy control subjects with an impressive 98.3% accuracy.
Are schizophrenia and autism close relations?
Medical researchers studied extensive genetic databases to discover that autism and schizophrenia had a genetic link, representing a heightened risk within families. People who have a schizophrenic sibling were 12 times more likely to have autism than those with no schizophrenia in the family.
Early autism intervention improves brain responses to social cues
An autism intervention program that emphasizes social interactions and is designed for children as young as 12 months has been found to improve cognitive skills and brain responses to faces, considered a building block for social skills. The researchers say that the study is the first to demonstrate that an intensive behavioral intervention can change brain function in toddlers with autism spectrum disorders.
Drinking Just One Soda a Day Could Up Stroke Risk by up to 80 Percent
A new study has found that a daily soft drink can increase risk for stroke by up to 80 percent.
Grandmas Helped Humans Evolve Longer Lifespans
Grandmas may be the reason why humans live longer than apes, a new study suggests.
Daily Multivitamins Cut Cancer Risk in Men, First Study of Its Kind Finds
Taking a daily multivitamin pill may reduce the risk of cancer in men, a new study revealed.
Vital Signs: Regimens: Study Questions Benefit of Extra Vitamin D
The supplements have no effect on the most common blood markers for cardiovascular risk and death, a randomized trial indicates.
Night Shift Work Triples the Risk of Prostate Cancer in Men
Working night shifts raises the risk of men developing prostate cancer by almost three times compared to working only day shifts.
Humans' Risk for Cancer May Be a Result of Our Large Brains
What's the opposite of a silver lining?
Strokes Striking Younger People
People are having strokes at younger ages, according to new research.
Antidepressants May Increase Your Risk of Stroke
Antidepressants may treat your depression, but new research suggests they may also increase the risk of certain types of strokes.
Tomatoes May Lower Your Risk for Stroke
Men who eat lots of tomatoes and other tomato-based products may be at a lower risk for stroke, a new study suggests.
Muslims Least Likely to Engage in Premarital and Extramarital Sex, Study Sugg...
Muslims are least likely to have sex outside of marriage, according to a new study that compared the sexual behaviors of all the major religious groups in the world.
Science Proves Men and Women React Differently to Stress in a Relationship
Men and women not only see things differently, but also their reaction to conflict in a relationship differs.
Father-Child Relationship Can Heavily Influence an Adolescent's Sexual Behavior
Researchers from New York University have found a correlation between father's influence and children's risky sexual behavior.
Is Testosterone the New Truth Serum? Male Sex Hormone Found to Promote Honest...
Testosterone, the male sex hormone previously linked to aggression and criminality, may actually foster pro-social behaviors by increasing honesty in men.
Modern humans found to be fittest ever at survival, by far
Humans have done more to extend our life expectancy in the last century than during the previous 6.6 million years, since the evolutionary divergence from chimpanzees. Modern humans have gotten incomparably good at survival, doing more to extend our lives over the last century than our forebears did in the previous 6.6 million years since we parted evolutionary ways with chimpanzees, according to a new study.

NIH Press Releases

NIH videos demonstrate behavior's role in personal health
The National Institutes of Health's Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), today released four videos highlighting outstanding behavioral and social science research on mindless eating, risk-taking, diabetes management, and the evolution of skin pigmentation.
Weight loss does not lower heart disease risk from type 2 diabetes
An intensive diet and exercise program resulting in weight loss does not reduce cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke in people with longstanding type 2 diabetes, according to a study supported by the National Institutes of Health.
"Biggest Loser" study finds modest diet and exercise can sustain weight loss
Exercise and healthy eating reduce body fat and preserve muscle in adults better than diet alone, according to a study funded and conducted by National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The study was recently published online in Obesity and will be in a future print edition.
NIH-funded study to test pneumococcal vaccine in older adults
Researchers plan to see if a higher dose of a pneumococcal vaccine will create a stronger immune response in older adults who received an earlier generation vaccine against pneumonia and other pneumococcal diseases.
NIH launches free database of drugs associated with liver injury
A free source of evidence-based information for health care professionals and for researchers studying liver injury associated with prescription and over-the-counter drugs, herbals, and dietary supplements is now available from the National Institutes of Health. Researchers and health care professionals can use the LiverTox database to identify basic and clinical research questions to be answered and to chart optimal ways to diagnose and control drug-induced liver injury.

NIH Announcements

Secondary Analyses and Archiving of Social and Behavioral Datasets in Aging (R03)
Funding Number: RFA-AG-13-009
Expiration Date: February 15, 2013
Basic social and behavioral research on culture, health, and wellbeing (R24)
Funding Number: RFA-LM-12-002
Expiration Date: December 18, 2012
Time-Sensitive Obesity Policy and Program Evaluation (R01)
Expiration Date: September 11, 2015
Estimating the Economic Costs of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (R03)
Expiration Date: September 8, 2015
Estimating the Economic Costs of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (R21)
Expiration Date: September 8, 2015
Estimating the Economic Costs of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (R01)
Expiration Date: September 8, 2015
PAR-12-186  DBSR  Macroeconomic Aspects of Population Aging (R01)
Expiration date:  10/04/2014 
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



NIH Videocasts:

Trends in 21st Century Epidemiology: From Scientific Discoveries to Population Health Impact (Days 1-2)   
Air date (Day 1):  Wednesday, December 12, 2012, 1:00:00 PM
Air date (Day 2):  Thursday, December 13, 2012, 8:00:00 AM
Time displayed is Eastern Time, Washington DC Local 
Description:  In this workshop, researchers and thought leaders will present their perspectives on major facets of the epidemiologic enterprise.


Gerontological Society of America's 65th Annual Scientific Meeting, November 14-18, 2012, San Diego, CA.
Abstracts Deadline: March 15, 2012

Population Association of America Annual meeting, New Orleans, LA.
The 2013 Annual Meeting will be held April 11-13 at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel
Abstract deadline:  September 21, 2012

The 25th REVES meeting on health expectancy
The University of Texas at Austin (TX), May 27-29, 2013
Abstract submission deadline: February 15, 2013

The 20th IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics, June 23-27, 2013, Seoul, Korea
Abstract deadline: October 31, 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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