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About NIA

NACA meeting: September 24-25, 2008

Institute-Sponsored Meetings, Workshops, and Conferences

I. Past Meetings

Exploratory Meeting on Health Services, Health Systems and the Elderly – June 10, 2008
This DBSR-funded exploratory meeting was held in conjunction with the annual research meeting in Washington, DC, of Academy Health. A group of 10-12 experts discussed research priorities and scientific opportunities in health policy, health care organization, and health and long-term care financing, which are topics of special relevance to the health and well-being of the elderly. (For more information, contact Dr. John Haaga, DBSR, Ph: 301-496-3131.)

The Role of the Vascular System in Neurological Diseases of the Aging Brain - June 12-13, 2008
The NIA Division of Neuroscience (DN) in collaboration with the Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology (DGCG) and the Neurodegenerative Diseases Branch of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), organized this exploratory workshop which took place June 12-13, 2008, in Bethesda, MD. The workshop brought together investigators from a variety of disciplines to examine current knowledge on physiology, cell and molecular biology and vascular pathology in the brain and the relationship to Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias, as well as cognitive, motor, or affective dysfunction. Important issues addressed included: (1) impairments in cerebral blood flow autoregulation, (2) hypertension, (3) effects of changes in the vascular wall on blood-brain barrier function, and (4) the degree to which adverse age-related changes in the brain vasculature are unique to the brain or reflect systemic vascular changes. (For more information, contact Dr. Creighton Phelps, DN, Ph: 301-496-9350, phelpsc@nia.nih.gov).

Mechanisms and Management of Pain in the Elderly - June 30 - July 1, 2008
DN, in collaboration with DGCG, DBSR, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the NIH Pain Consortium, organized an exploratory workshop on “Mechanisms and Management of Pain in the Elderly,” which took place in Bethesda, MD, on June 30 and July 1, 2008. Pain is one of the most common reasons for physician visits in general and costs associated with pain are extremely high. The prevalence of pain among the elderly in the age range of 75-86 years is at least 5 times higher than in the 25-34 years age group. Despite recent growth in the understanding of the molecular entities and neural pathways involved in pain sensation and experience in the periphery and central nervous systems, few of these advances have been translated into understandings of the mechanisms, assessment and treatment of pain conditions relevant to the elderly population. This workshop convened 30 leading experts in various aspects of pain research as well as geriatricians working on issues related to pain to identify the gaps, barriers, and opportunities for aging research on pain mechanisms, assessment, and treatment/management. The workshop explored three major themes: the complexity of pain in the elderly, assessment and measurement of pain in the elderly, and treatment and management of pain in the elderly. (For more information, contact Dr. Wen G. Chen, DN, Ph: 301-496-9350; chenw@nia.nih.gov.)

Workshop on Meditation for Health Purposes – July 8-9, 2008
NIA joined several other NIH institutes/centers to co-sponsor this exploratory meeting led by NCCAM in Bethesda, MD. The meeting brought together biomedical and behavioral researchers from within and outside the field of meditation research to discuss future directions for research on meditation at NIH. Discussions focused on (1) the key features of meditation practices, (2) the psychological processes and outcomes involved in meditation, (3) the impact of meditation on physiological mechanisms, and (4) issues in the design of research studies linking meditation and health. Because one of DBSR’s areas of emphasis includes behavioral and mind-body interventions, DBSR will work with NCCAM to identify new opportunities that may promote knowledge on meditation and health outcomes. (For more information, contact Dr. Lis Nielsen, BSR, Ph: 301-402-4156.)

Bridging Population and Laboratory Science to Advance Research on Social and Economic Behaviors of Relevance to Aging – July 14-15, 2008
DBSR co-sponsored this exploratory meeting with the United Kingdom (UK) Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in London, UK, to explore opportunities for bridging laboratory and survey science in the study of economic and social behaviors. Participants included researchers from the US and UK working in areas of behavioral and neuroeconomics, social and affective neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, sociology, psychology, gerontology, and epidemiology. Discussions focused on opportunities for developing interfaces between population-based and experimental science, on exploring how methods and analytic approaches might translate across disciplines, and on identifying key questions for aging research. This meeting was designed to explore the potential for cross-national collaboration in advancing research on economic and social behaviors of relevance to aging. (For more information, contact Dr. Lis Nielsen, BSR, Ph: 301-402-4156.)

Epigenetic Mechanisms of Aging and Age-Related Diseases - July 15-16, 2008
DN, in collaboration with the Division of Aging Biology (DAB) and DGCG, held an exploratory workshop on July 15-16, 2008, in Bethesda, MD, which focused on epigenetic mechanisms of aging and age-related diseases. The speakers, who were experts from the fields of epigenetics and genetics, provided an overview of the current state of knowledge in epigenomics and highlighted areas of aging research that will most benefit from this new science. The workshop was part of NIA’s effort to capitalize on the newly launched Roadmap Epigenomics Initiative. (For more information, contact Dr. Suzana Petanceska, DN, Ph: 301-496-9350; petanceskas@nia.nih.gov , or Dr. Anna McCormick, DAB, Ph: 301-496-6402; mccormia@nia.nih.gov .)

Mouse Phenotyping – July 28-29, 2008
DAB sponsored an exploratory workshop on Mouse Phenotyping which was held on July 28-29, 2008, in Bethesda, MD. The purpose of the workshop was to address phenotyping of the mutant mouse models for aging research. The mouse models continue to serve as important tools in advancing aging research both at the level of aging biology and age-related conditions/disease states. The workshop provided an opportunity to discuss in-depth characterization of transgenic, knockout, and mutant mouse models used in aging research and/or with the potential to be of value to the aging field. The discussion on phenotyping included lifespan, pathology at death, assessments of physical and cognitive function, and incidence of age-associated diseases. The experts drawn from the pool of investigators, including those using specific mutant, transgenic, and knockout models in aging research, and wild-type mouse models in aging research, and those working primarily in human subjects, provided their input on the need for such a program and its potential value for advancing aging research. The workshop produced an excellent outcome and provided a good perspective on the translational value of different mouse phenotyping protocols. (For more information, contact: Dr. Mahadev Murthy, DAB, Ph: 301-402-7749.)

Exploratory Meeting on Health Economics - July 31, 2008
This DBSR- funded meeting was held in Cambridge, MA, in conjunction with the National Bureau of Economic Research Summer Institute on Aging. The meeting explored issues such as the usefulness of microsimulation models for forecasting and new research on disparities in health care utilization and expenditures. (For more information, contact Dr. John Phillips, BSR, Ph: 301-496-3138.)

Expert Meeting on Sociology and Demography of Aging - August 2, 2008
DBSR has previously commissioned short papers from eight leading experts in demography and sociology on scientific priorities in their fields and new developments (in data and methods) that might be brought to bear on issues relevant to the health and well-being of the elderly and understanding social processes in aging. These papers were shared then discussed at this exploratory meeting, held in Boston, MA, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association. (For more information, contact Georgeanne Patmios, DBSR, Ph: 301-496-3138.)

Role of ApoE and its Receptors in Normal Brain Aging and in Alzheimer’s Disease - August 13-14, 2008
DN organized a multidisciplinary advisory workshop on “The Role of ApoE and its Receptors in Normal Brain Aging and in Alzheimer’s Disease” which was held in Bethesda, MD, on August 13-14, 2008. ApoE is a pleiotropic protein which regulates multiple metabolic and signaling pathways in the periphery and in the central nervous system (CNS), and, in addition, is a ligand for a number of receptors. The purpose of this workshop was to examine the current state of knowledge concerning the biology of ApoE and its receptors with an emphasis on their role in normal brain aging and in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). A major subject of discussion was the advances and challenges in the drug discovery arena aimed at ApoE as a therapeutic target, with the goal of identifying new avenues for future investigation. (For more information, contact Dr. Suzana Petanceska, DN, Ph: 301-496-9350, petanceskas@nia.nih.gov.)

Biology of Aging Summit – September 2-5, 2008
An advisory meeting, the Biology of Aging Summit, was held on September 2-5, 2008, in Gaithersburg, MD. The purpose of the meeting was to gain further insight into the entire scope of the science that DAB supports and/or should support. A group of 40 leaders in the field discussed a total of 15 topics initially selected by DAB staff with the help of a 6-member “advisory group” chosen from the community. The discussion was preceded by a month-long web forum discussion. The meeting will help DAB staff formulate cohesive and comprehensive development plans for the future (possibly in the form of RFAs and/or PAs). The proceedings will be published as a series of articles, probably in the Journal of Gerontology, Biological Sciences, and a full report will be provided to NACA at the January meeting. (For more information, contact Dr. Felipe Sierra, DAB, Ph: 301-496-6402).

Stress, Aging, the Brain, and the Body - September 8-9, 2008
Stress-linked diseases are now being recognized as important causes of morbidity and public health concern in our ever more complex society. Elucidation of the underlying neural and psychological mechanisms involved in the stress response and their interactions with changes associated with aging need to be investigated and interventions developed. DN, in collaboration with DAB and DBSR, organized and held a multidisciplinary exploratory workshop on September 8-9, 2008, in Bethesda, MD. This NIA-sponsored workshop brought together leading experts from various fields of stress research with the goal of assessing current knowledge and identifying new avenues for future investigation and collaboration. (For more information, contact Dr. Andrew Monjan, DN, Ph: 301-496-9350, monjana@nia.nih.gov.)

Asthma in the Elderly – September 8-9, 2008
DGCG held an exploratory workshop on “Asthma in the Elderly” on September 8-9, 2008, in Reston, VA. Asthma is often considered a disease of childhood, with about 31 percent of current diagnoses in children ages 18 years or less. However, approximately 10 percent of adults ages 65 years and older report current diagnoses of asthma, and death rates with asthma as an underlying cause are ten-fold higher in this older age group than in children ages 18 years or less. The purpose of the workshop was to examine the current knowledge of the epidemiology, medical management, and outcomes of asthma in older patients; to explore the contributions of age-related mechanisms and comorbidities to increased mortality and morbidity of asthma in older patients; and to identify knowledge gaps and research opportunities to improve health care and its outcomes for older patients with asthma. (For more information, contact Dr. Susan Nayfield, DGCG, Ph: 301-496-6761, nayfiels@nia.nih.gov.)

II. Upcoming Meetings

At this time, there are no meetings planned for the near future.