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CCBAR Newsletter – October, 2013

Editors:  Natalia Gavrilova and Stacy Tessler Lindau  


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

The 2013 Workshop, "Biosocial Study of Health and Aging in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and HIV-Affected Populations" (October 17, 2013), was held October 17, 2013 at the University Club of Chicago. About fifty individuals participated.  Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen, Ph.D., Principal Investigator of the NIA-funded study "Older Adults in Vulnerable Communities: Health and Quality of Life Over Time", presented an outstanding keynote lecture that engaged participants in questions about integration of biological measures. Presentations covered various aspects of LGBT studies including sexual identity measures, sampling solutions, and biomeasures collection with particular emphasis on biosocial and technology-based approaches to the study of sexual minority populations.  Unfortunately, due to shut-down, colleagues from government agencies were not able to participate.  For more information on the workshop (including an updated agenda) please visit the CCBAR website at: .  Highlights from talks will be posted soon. 

CCBAR would like to welcome new subscribers to the CCBAR Newsletter. Based on positive feedback from past workshops, we have added participants of the 2013 Workshop to the distribution list. If you are not interested in receiving this monthly newsletter, please reply to this email message indicating 'unsubscribe' in the subject. We hope you find the newsletter useful for your work.
On October 15, 2013, Natalia Gavrilova made an outreach lecture about biosocial survey research in the United States and worldwide at the Center for Health and the Social Sciences (CHeSS at the University of Chicago) for health administrators from Kazakhstan.  Participants expressed interest in conducting biosocial population surveys collecting biomeasures in Kazakhstan.


Q: I carefully read the salivary assay technical report for progesterone, and noticed that the inter-assay and intra-assay results for the samples were not reported for the NSHAP study. Instead, inter-assay and intra-assay results are reported from the Salimetrics progesterone assay insert. Do you know where we can find it?

A:  In addition to the technical report, we also published 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.). This is what our paper writes about intra- and inter-assays: "The criteria for repeated testing was variation greater than 20% between duplicates, and on average, the assay protocols had intra- and interassay coefficients of variation less than 10% and 15%, respectively." We did not provide information on specific hormones. However we provided information on mean and SE for salivary progesterone, which can be used to estimate inter-assay variation.

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

Evolution: Human ancestor had small thumbs
Fossil analysis reveals that an ancestor of modern humans would have made a terrible hitch-hiker.Past reconstructions of the hands of the hominin Australopithecus afarensis assigned scattered bones to individuals and single fingers. Campbell Rolian at the University of Calgary, Canada, and Adam Gord...
Alzheimer's disease: Mapping the brain's decline
by Sarah C. P. Williams
Imaging the brains of Alzheimer's patients provides insights into the way this insidious disease progresses.
Prostate cancer: Understanding why
by Nicola McCarthy
Two papers published in Cancer Discovery unveil the molecular mechanisms that underpin the improved response of patients with high-risk prostate cancer to ionizing radiation in the presence of androgen deprivation therapy.
Ageing: Re-evaluating oxidative damage in ageing
by Isabel Lokody
Damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS) are thought to be drivers of mitochondrial mutagenesis and ageing. However, thorough investigation of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations has been hampered by a lack of methods to accurately detect such mutations, which are rare. Using a recently developed, hig...
Population neuroscience [Social Sciences]
by Falk, E. B., Hyde, L. W., Mitchell, C., Faul, J., Gonzalez, R., Heitzeg, M. M., Keating, D. P., Langa, K. M., Martz, M. E., Maslowsky, J., Morrison, F. J., Noll, D. C., Patrick, M. E., Pfeffer, F. T., Reuter-Lorenz, P. A., Thomason, M. E., Davis-Kean, P., Monk, C. S., Schulenberg, J.
The last decades of neuroscience research have produced immense progress in the methods available to understand brain structure and function. Social, cognitive, clinical, affective, economic, communication, and developmental neurosciences have begun to map the relationships between neuro-psychologic...
Decision making under risk across the life span [Economic Sciences]
by Tymula, A., Rosenberg Belmaker, L. A., Ruderman, L., Glimcher, P. W., Levy, I.
It has long been known that human cognitive function improves through young adulthood and then declines across the later life span. Here we examined how decision-making function changes across the life span by measuring risk and ambiguity attitudes in the gain and loss domains, as well as choice con...
Childhood abuse and biological risk [Psychological and Cognitive Sciences]
by Carroll, J. E., Gruenewald, T. L., Taylor, S. E., Janicki-Deverts, D., Matthews, K. A., Seeman, T. E.
Childhood abuse increases adult risk for morbidity and mortality. Less clear is how this 'toxic' stress becomes embedded to influence health decades later, and whether protective factors guard against these effects. Early biological embedding is hypothesized to occur through programming of the neura...
Infants expect social group members to act alike [Psychological and Cognitive...
by Powell, L. J., Spelke, E. S.
The short ontogenetic time courses of conformity and stereotyping, both evident in the preschool years, point to the possibility that a central component of human social cognition is an early developing expectation that social group members will engage in common behaviors. Across a series of experim...
Evolution of Old World complex societies [Anthropology]
by Turchin, P., Currie, T. E., Turner, E. A. L., Gavrilets, S.
How did human societies evolve from small groups, integrated by face-to-face cooperation, to huge anonymous societies of today, typically organized as states? Why is there so much variation in the ability of different human populations to construct viable states? Existing theories are usually formul...
[Editors' Choice] A One-Two Punch for Aging and Brain Malformations
by Eid, T.
Prescriptions for elderly people vary widely across US
by McCarthy, M.
How many and which drugs elderly Americans take depends a great deal on where they live, a new study has found.1Researchers at the Dartmouth Atlas Project looked at prescription drug use by Medicare...
AHA: Severe Obesity in US Youth Is Increasing and Difficult to Treat
by Mitka M.
Although US childhood obesity rates overall have been flat over the past several years, the prevalence of severe obesity has increased. An estimated 4% to 6% of all US youths are severely obese, and there's evidence that they have a 'much more adverse cardiometabolic risk profile' than their overwei...

Biomarkers and Aging in the News Media

Learning helps preserve memory
Karin Caifa reports that when older adults step out of their comfort zone and learn new things, it helps their memory.
Twins: Can you pick the smoker?
Here's something to think about the next time you put a cigarette to your lips: The skin around those lips is going to look older, faster.
Stigma lingers for deadliest cancer
Because one of the strongest risk factors for lung cancer is smoking, we've come to the conclusion that people diagnosed with lung cancer somehow deserve it, that it was brought on by their own "bad" behavior.
Sunny Regions Reflect Lower ADHD Rates: Study
Researchers wonder whether sunlight protects children, adults from distracted behavior
Gardening, Housework May Help Boost Your Heart Health
Study of Swedish seniors found a reduced death risk of up to 30 percent
More Weight Gain in Pregnancy Tied to Higher Autism Risk for Kids: Study
However, this doesn't mean more weight causes neurodevelopmental disorder, authors stress
Blood Test for Pancreatic Cancer Shows Promise in Early Trial
But the screen is meant only for people already at high risk for the deadly illness, experts say
Newly Identified Biomarkers Promise Earlier, Less Invasive Colon Cancer Detec...
A newly discovered set of gene variations may help oncologists detect colorectal cancer before it is too late.
Stroke Affecting Younger People Worldwide, Study Shows
Preventive measures urgently needed to reverse this trend, researchers say
The 10 States Most Addicted to Smoking
Antismoking efforts are hard to avoid nowadays. Cigarette packaging got graphic new warning labels in 2012 (though they'll soon be replaced thanks to a big-tobacco lawsuit), and 38 states have at least some restrictions as to where a person can light up. (New York State has even banned smoking in public parks.) But despite this increased regulation, plenty of Americans continue to smoke?like chimneys.
Gravitation Theory Explains Baldness: 'Vicious Cycle' Of Testosterone Surplus...  
Hormones and other aspects of aging have long been suspected to cause balding, but could gravity also play a role?
UCLA scientists may have found "biological clock" in genes
Scientists find female breast tissue older than chronological age on average, may explain increased cancer risk with age
Could a Good Night's Sleep Guard Against Alzheimer's?
Study found that older people who got less sleep had more of the disease's hallmark plaques in their brains
Major Alzheimer's risk factor linked to red wine target
The major genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD), present in about two-thirds of people who develop the disease, is ApoE4, the cholesterol-carrying protein that about a quarter of us are born with. But one of the unsolved mysteries of AD is how ApoE4 causes the risk for the disease. Researchers have found a link between ApoE4 and SirT1, an "anti-aging protein" that is targeted by resveratrol, present in red wine.
Study: Vitamin D Supplements May Not Raise Risk for Kidney Stones
However, researchers found age, weight and gender are factors
New evidence for role of specific virus causing type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is a disease caused by the destruction of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. It is often diagnosed in childhood and requires life-long treatment with daily insulin injections. It is associated with an increased risk for long-term complications which decrease the quality of life and average life-expectancy.
Growing up poor, stressed impacts brain function as adult
Poverty, coupled with stress, has long-lasting effects on brain function, according to a new study. Researchers found that test subjects who had lower family incomes at age 9 exhibited, as adults, greater activity in the amygdala, an area in the brain known for its role in fear and other negative emotions. These individuals showed less activity in areas of the prefrontal cortex, an area in the brain thought to regulate negative emotion.
First Children Do Better In School: Parents 'Play Tough' With Oldest To Set E...
Two economists conclude that first children do better in school because their parents feel the need to establish a 'tough' reputation so that younger children fall into line.
Whites at Highest Risk for Irregular Heart Rhythm, Study Finds
It's possible that a gene in European ancestry is linked to atrial fibrillation, researcher says
Older Men Gain Little From PSA Test: Study
Researchers followed Medicare recipients for 3 years
Daily Walk May Cut Your Breast Cancer Risk
Study findings are good news for postmenopausal women, experts say
Aircraft noise linked to heart disease, study suggests
Exposure to high levels of aircraft noise is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, find two studies published on today.
Postpartum depression spans generations, animal study suggests
A recently published study suggests that exposure to social stress not only impairs a mother's ability to care for her children but can also negatively impact her daughter's ability to provide maternal care to future offspring.
Animal personalities are more like humans than first thought
A study has found for the first time that, just like humans, unpredictability is also a consistent behavioral trait in the animal world.

NIH Press Releases

NIH and CDC launch registry for sudden death in the young
Initiative will collect population-based information on sudden, unexpected deaths in youth.
Large study to examine if vitamin D prevents diabetes
NIH-funded research tests much-touted vitamin in people with prediabetes.
Tanning gene linked to increased risk of testicular cancer, according to NIH ...
Nearly 80 percent of white men carry a variant of the gene.
Brain may flush out toxins during sleep
NIH-funded study suggests sleep clears brain of damaging molecules associated with neurodegeneration.
Women's Health Initiative reaffirms use of short-term hormone replacement the...
Latest results provide new details on risks and benefits of therapy across age groups and time.
NIH study identifies gene for alcohol preference in rats
Research advances understanding of genetics in alcohol consumption.
NIH Announces 2013 High-Risk, High-Reward Research Awards
NIH commits to 78 awards to support exceptional innovation in biomedical research.
Study evaluates population-wide testing, early treatment for HIV prevention
NIH co-funded trial will build on results of landmark HPTN 052 study.
NIH calls for research projects examining violence
Particular consideration to be given to firearm violence.

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



66th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, Wednesday, 11/20 to Sunday, 11/24, 2013
Sheraton New Orleans - New Orleans Marriott, New Orleans, Louisiana
Deadline for abstract submissions was March 15, 2013    

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


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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