• February 26, 2013

    Connecting to Combat Alzheimer’s,” a collaborative effort of NIA and the Administration on Community Living (ACL), is competing to win the People’s Choice Award of HHSinnovates, which recognizes creative thinking at HHS toward improving the health and well-being of the Nation. The unique partnership of ACL and NIA is one of six finalists selected by HHS staff to vie for the public’s vote for this coveted Award.

    Please take a moment to review the finalists, including Connecting to Combat Alzheimer’s, and vote now. Public voting closes March 8, 2013.

    The HHS Secretary's Innovation Awards were established to recognize and reward the extraordinary achievements by members of the HHS community in the promotion of better health. The People’s Choice Award is an opportunity for the public to vote on the project they find to be the most innovative and impactful. Secretary Sebelius will present her top picks and announce the People’s Choice Award winner at a ceremony on March 19.

    Voting is open to all members of the public, including people affected by Alzheimer’s and caregivers, researchers and grantees, medical and social services providers, as well as their family members, neighbors and friends.

    Please consider reposting/sharing this with others to highlight the importance of Alzheimer’s research and supportive services collaborations.

    View the finalists and vote by March 8 at!

  • March 5, 2013

    NIA-supported researchers combined images of the brains of older people with Alzheimer’s or at risk for the disease with their genetic data to find a previously unknown link between the gene for butyrlcholinesterase (BCHE) and beta-amyloid deposition in the brain. Beta-amyloid is the major constituent of plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to BCHE, the study showed that apolipoprotein-E (APOE), a known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s, was also associated with the level of amyloid found in the brain. These findings offer new insights into Alzheimer’s disease pathways and promising targets for therapies that may delay, prevent, or treat the disease.

    Scientists at the Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, led a national team of researchers conducting the genome-wide association study that studied thousands of genetic variants to test whether any could be associated with plaque deposits. Amyloid plaques are of interest in Alzheimer’s research because they build up in the brains of people with the disorder and may play a role in disease onset and progress.

    The researchers imaged the brains of 555 volunteers using positron emission topography (PET) scans with florbetapir, a specialized tracer that binds to amyloid in the brain. When the imaging data were combined with the DNA analysis, the researchers found that volunteers with the BCHE gene had greater amounts of amyloid. Of note, the BCHE gene codes for an enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter that is known to be lost in the early stages of the disease.

    The effect of BCHE was independent of the APOE gene variant. However, volunteers with both gene variants had more amyloid deposition than those with a single suspect gene. The volunteers are part of the NIA-supported Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), the largest public-private partnership to date in Alzheimer’s research. ADNI’s goal is to find neuroimaging and other biological markers that can detect disease progression and measure the effectiveness of potential therapies.

    Reference: Ramanan VK, et al. APOE and BCHE as modulators of cerebral amyloid deposition: a florbetapir PET genome-wide association study. Molecular Psychiatry. Published online, Feb. 19, 2013. doi: 10.1038/mp.2013.19.

  • January 31, 2013

    Richard Suzman

    Dr. Richard Suzman, director of NIA’s Division of Behavioral and Social Research, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. Dr. Suzman joins 701 other members who were named Fellows this year because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. The Fellows were announced in the November 30, 2012 issue of Science.

    Dr. Suzman was cited for “developing the demography and economics of aging, particularly the landmark Health and Retirement Study of cohorts from age 50 to death, now replicated internationally.” Established in 1992, the HRS follows a nationally representative sample of more than 26,000 people over age 50, collecting data every 2 years, from pre-retirement to advanced age. The study provides data about these older Americans to help address the challenges and opportunities associated with population aging in the United States. The study’s unique combination of data allows for better understanding of the nature of health and well-being in later life.

  • January 31, 2013

    Workshop on Research Gaps and Opportunities for Exploring the Relationship of the Arts to Health and Well-Being in Older Adults, Washington, DC – September 14, 2012

    The National Endowment for the Arts, the NIH, and the National Academy of Sciences co-hosted a public workshop that explored the benefit of the arts to the health and well-being of older adults. The gathering featured leading neuroscientists, psychologists, researchers, and practitioners in health and the arts who presented findings from research on the arts and aging in an effort to pinpoint gaps for future studies. (Contact: Dr. Lis Nielsen, 301-402-4156)

    The 10th Annual Nathan W. Shock Symposium, Baltimore, MD – September 28, 2012

    NIA offered the 10th annual Nathan W. Shock Symposium with the topic “Proteins at the Dance, with and without Chaperones,” featuring talks by:

    • Dr. Richard Morimoto, Center for Genetic Medicine, Northwestern University
    • Dr. John Trojanowski, The Mahoney Institute of Neurological Sciences, University of Pennsylvania
    • Dr. Giovanna Mallucci, Department of Cell Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Leicester
    • Dr. Andrew Dillin, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, University of California, Berkeley

    This special event, held at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Campus, was cosponsored by NIA and the Nathan W. and Margaret T. Shock Aging Research Foundation. (Contact: Taya Dunn, 410-558-8035)

    Stress Measurement Workgroup Meeting, CA – September 24-25, 2012

    Better approaches to measure and resolve inconsistencies in stress are needed in health-related epidemiological research. This exploratory meeting brought together experts to develop a conceptual framework that could be used to harmonize psychosocial stress measures used in population-based survey research. Data analyses from longitudinal studies of aging and health were presented, highlighting areas of harmonization potential and need. (Contact: Dr. Lis Nielsen, 301-402-4156)

    National Academy of Sciences Committee on National Statistics Expert Meeting on the Health and Retirement Study, Washington, DC – November 19, 2012

    The steady-state design of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) calls for adding a new 6-year birth cohort every six years to maintain a nationally representative sample of older Americans. The HRS will add the late Baby Boom cohort (1960-1965) in 2016, followed by the 1966-1970 birth cohort in 2022. This exploratory meeting at the National Academy of Sciences gathered a panel of experts, including some members of the HRS staff, to discuss the most innovative and cost-effective approaches for screening and interviewing HRS cohorts to ensure the study’s ongoing success. (Contact: Dr. John Phillips, 301-496-3138.)

    Measurement Improvement in Alzheimer’s Disease, Baltimore, MD – December 3, 2012

    The NIA’s Division of Neuroscience partnered with the Foundation for NIH (FNIH) in a day-long exploratory meeting to begin a dialogue within the Alzheimer’s disease research community and with physicians on key issues in developing practice guidelines to improve quality performance patient outcome measures, including measures to assess treatment impact and disease status. (Contacts: Dr. Molly Wagster or Dr. Nina Silverberg, 301-496-9350).

  • January 24, 2013

    Reubin Andres

    Dr. Reubin Andres, an early leader in the field of aging research and the first clinical director of NIA, died on September 23, 2012. “I was saddened to hear the news of Dr. Andres’s passing. His legacy will most certainly be his dedication and vision in research on aging. Dr. Reubin was a true pioneer, a valued mentor and colleague and a marvelous human being,” said NIA Director Dr. Richard J. Hodes.

    Dr. Andres joined the Gerontology Research Center (the precursor to NIA) in 1962, where he was assistant chief and head of the GRC’s metabolism section. He was later named the first clinical director of NIA, serving in this position from 1977 until 1998.

    Dr. Andres was named an NIH scientist emeritus at the time of his retirement in 2003. He was cited for his productive research career that included the invention of the glucose insulin clamp technique, a method that remains the gold standard in the study of glucose and insulin homeostasis in man; his original and fundamental observations on the hormonal abnormalities in diabetes mellitus; and his recognition that mortality follows a U-shaped curve as a function of body mass index with the minimal mortality/maximal longevity associated with higher body mass index than prior work suggested.

    Among his many achievements, Dr. Andres played a critical role in the development of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, now in its 54th year. “With the passing of Dr. Andres, we’ve lost a great man and an extraordinarily talented and generous scientist. I’m sure that his name will continue to inspire generations of researchers in aging for years to come,” said NIA Scientific Director Dr. Luigi Ferrucci.

  • January 31, 2013

    Luigi Ferrucci lecture

    “Of Uncertainty and Hope, a Lesson from My Patients” was the title of the Joseph T. Freeman Lecture delivered by Dr. Luigi Ferrucci at the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) meeting in November 2012. The annual Freeman lecture in geriatrics is presented by the previous year’s winner of the Joseph T. Freeman Award, which GSA gives to a prominent physician in the field of aging—both in research and practice—who is a member of the Society's Health Sciences section.

    Dr. Jack Guralnik, former chief of NIA’s Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography, and Biometry, introduced Dr. Ferrucci, noting his work as principal investigator of the InChianti project in Italy, director of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, editor of the Journal of Gerontology, and, most recently, scientific director of the NIA.

    In his lecture, Dr. Ferrucci described the “interconnectedness” of geriatrics. He noted that changes associated with aging—such as body composition, imbalance in energy production and utilization, homeostatic dysregulation, and neurodegeneration—can lead to geriatric syndromes of physical and cognitive frailty, resulting in a number of health problems ranging from falls and disability to sleep disorders and cognitive impairment. He concluded, “A geriatrician needs to be a fantastic doctor and then realize that this is not enough.”

  • January 31, 2013

    Go4Life WheelGo4Life, NIA’s national exercise and physical activity campaign for older adults had a very productive first year. Launched in October, 2011, the campaign encourages Americans 50+ to fit exercise and physical activity into daily life. Go4Life offers exercises, motivational tips, safety information, and free resources for health professionals and the public. Go4Life has added:

    In the coming year, we hope you will help us expand and enhance the Go4Life campaign. If you have suggestions or feedback about Go4Life, email us at

  • March 15, 2013
    Dr. Robert Butler
    Dr. Robert Butler, former NIA Director

    Please join us as Dr. Ronald C. Petersen, a leading expert in the field of Alzheimer’s disease research, presents Neuroimaging and Biomarkers: How Early Can We Diagnose Alzheimer’s? at the Robert N. Butler Memorial Lecture May 8. The special lecture, part of the prestigious NIH Director’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series, honors NIA’s founding director, who was among the first to warn about the impact that Alzheimer’s disease would have on our aging population.

    The lecture takes place Wednesday, May 8, 2013, at 3 p.m., in the NIH Clinical Center’s Masur Auditorium (PDF, 824K) on the campus in Bethesda, MD.

    Dr. Petersen directs the Mayo Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging and chairs the U.S. Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services established under the National Alzheimer’s Project Act. His interests include clinical research involving aging, mild cognitive impairment, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and neuroimaging.

    Dr. Butler served as the founding NIA director from 1976 – 1982. He coined the phrase “ageism” to describe the discrimination experienced by older people. A prominent gerontologist and psychiatrist at the time of his NIA appointment, Dr. Butler received the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for his book Why Survive? Being Old in America. The book describes the problems faced by older Americans, along with Dr. Butler’s prescription for change.

    At NIA, Dr. Butler set in place a visionary research endeavor, building a broad program of basic, biomedical, social, and behavioral research that remains at the core of NIA’s efforts today. During his tenure, he wrote and lectured regularly about the everyday problems faced by older adults.

    In 1982, he left NIA to accept the position of chairman of a newly formed geriatrics department at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. He continued his advocacy for older people when, in 1990, he founded the International Longevity Center U.S.A., a nonprofit research, policy, and education center of longevity and aging with branches in nine other countries.

    More information about Dr. Butler.

    For more information about the lecture, contact Anne Decker at

    What: Neuroimaging and Biomarkers: How Early Can We Diagnose Alzheimer’s?
    Robert N. Butler Memorial Lecture, part of the NIH Director’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series
    Presented by Dr. Ronald C. Petersen
    When: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 3:00 p.m.
    Where:  Masur Auditorium (PDF, 824K), NIH Clinical Center, Bldg. 10, Bethesda, Maryland


  • February 5, 2013

    Dr. Toren Finkel to speak at the Geroscience Interest Group (GSIG)

    What: Seminar with Toren Finkel, Ph.D.

    When: Thursday, March 28, 2013, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

    Where: Lipsett Amphitheater, Building 10, NIH

    Title: "Molecular Mechanisms Regulating Mammalian Aging"

    The Geroscience Interest Group (GSIG) cordially invites you to the seminar listed above. Dr. Finkel is Chief of the Center for Molecular Medicine in the Division of Intramural Research at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Dr. Finkel’s lab investigates the role of cellular metabolism and oxidative stress in aging and age-related diseases. His research has included studies on oxidative homeostasis in stem cell biology, cellular senescence as a model for aging, the role of autophagy in age-related diseases, and interrogating pathways in model organisms to understand their role in mammalian aging. Dr. Finkel is Editor-in-Chief of Drug Discovery Today-Disease Mechanisms and Associate Editor of Circulation Research.

    Publications relevant to his seminar:

    • Narayan N, Lee IH, Borenstein R, Sun J, Wong R, Tong G, Fergusson MM, Liu J, Rovira II, Cheng H-L, Wang G, Gucek M, Lombard D, Alt FW, Sack, MN, Murphy E, Cao L, and Finkel T. (2012). The NAD-dependent deacetylase SIRT2 is required for programmed necrosis. Nature, 492: 199-204.
    • Finkel T, Deng C, and Mostoslavasky. (2009) Recent progress in the biology and physiology of sirtuins. Nature, 460: 587-591.

    The Geroscience Interest Group (GSIG) is a newly formed trans-NIH group aimed at enhancing opportunities for discussion of the intersection between the biology of aging and the biology of diseases and conditions that are of interest across ICs. It is focused on basic biology, but with a longer view towards translation. If you are interested in learning more, please visit the GSIG website.

    The seminar will be videocast and archived in the GSIG website. Sign Language Interpreters will be provided. Individuals with disabilities who need reasonable accommodation to participate in this event should contact Dr. Ron Johnson at or at 301.496.1953 or Dr. Ron Kohanski at or at 301.496.6402.

  • March 11, 2013

    Applications are now closed to participate in the National Institute on Aging (NIA) 2013 Summer Institute on Aging Research. This 6-day workshop for investigators new to the field is focused on current issues, research methodologies, and funding opportunities. The Summer Institute, one of the premier short-term training opportunities for new investigators, is scheduled to be held July 14-19, 2013 in Bethesda, Maryland, on the campus of the National Institutes of Health. Support is available for travel and living expenses. Applications deadline was March 22, 2013.

    Video: NIA's Summer Institute on Aging Research

    Read more and view additional videos of 2012 Summer Institute participants

    Offered through the NIA Office of Special Populations, investigators focusing on health disparities research are encouraged to apply. As with all NIH programs, investigators of diverse backgrounds are also encouraged to apply. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals or permanent residents. For additional information, contact Andrea Griffin-Mann at


    Deadline: March 22, 2013