Video: Learn More About NIA
Today, the population in the world is older than ever before. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) at NIH supports and conducts research to better understand the aging process, as well as diseases and conditions that can occur as we grow older, such as Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Watch this video to learn more about NIA’s mission, history and research that has led to important scientific discoveries about healthy aging.
At some point, we’re all going to age. Today, the population in the U.S.—and the world—is older than ever before. By 2020, for the first time in history, there will be more people over age 65 than under 5.
With the foresight to address this trend, Congress established the National Institute on Aging in 1974. It is now one of the 27 institutes and centers that make up the National Institutes of Health—the nation’s primary federal agency for research to prevent, detect, diagnose, and treat disease and disability.
Since its founding, the NIA has been committed to discovering the secrets to a healthy old age, as well as understanding and addressing disease and disability that can occur as we grow older.
In the U.S., heathy aging is now a particular challenge: while trends in life expectancy have improved over time, not all older adults are aging in good health.
That’s why here at NIA, we support and conduct cutting-edge research to extend the healthy, active years of life.
Some of this research is conducted by scientists and fellows in our own laboratories in Bethesda and Baltimore, Maryland.
The vast majority of NIA-supported research is led by scientists at universities, hospitals, medical centers, and private organizations all around the country.
Reflecting the enormous effect of aging on all aspects of our lives, NIA’s portfolio of research is comprehensive and varied.
Our research ranges from the study of basic cellular changes that come with age to the examination of the biomedical, social, and behavioral aspects of growing older.
This work has led to important scientific discoveries about healthy aging, including:
- Regular, balanced, and moderate physical activity significantly reduces risk of major mobility disability
- Controlling blood pressure can reduce heart attacks, stroke, and death in people age 50+
- Weight loss through dietary changes and increased physical activity, and treatment with a diabetes medication can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes
- Interventions—involving types of foods and diets, drugs, and hormones—can lead to longer lifespan and healthspan in mice. Some of these approaches are now being tested in people, too.
NIA leads the federal effort to study Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Intensified research in this area has led to critical insights, bringing us closer (to finding) effective ways to treat or prevent these devastating disorders, including:
- We have found that training on specific reasoning and speed of processing tasks—two key indicators of cognition—can improve performance on those tasks under controlled conditions. Benefits on reasoning were shown to last at least five years, while benefits on speed of processing persisted for up to ten years.
- We can now see brain changes that occur years, even decades, before symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias first appear
- We have discovered more than 25 genes involved in Alzheimer’s disease, allowing studies into how they may contribute to the disease
- We have identified the first effective support intervention to improve the health and well-being of Alzheimer’s caregivers in an ethnically-diverse population
NIA also has an important role in educating and training the next generation of scientists in aging and dementia research. Initiatives like the Butler-Williams Scholars Program, fellowships and career development awards, and grant awards for new and early-stage investigators are some of the ways we support these efforts.
NIA works hard to make sure that what we learn from this research is widely shared with the public—with patients and families, health care providers, and advocates and policymakers.
Free health information is available on our website on age-related diseases, healthy eating, exercise and physical activity, cognitive health, doctor patient communication, end of life, caregiving, and participating in clinical research/studies.
Check out our website at www.nia.nih.gov. You can get health information, read our blog for scientists, and learn about research funding opportunities. You can also find out about joining us as a partner in research.
Together, we will continue the search for the most effective ways to help us all live a life free of disease and disability, for as long as we can.
Social Media Messages
What is the National Institute on Aging? Learn about the leader in federal research on aging, as well as Alzheimer’s and dementia. https://youtu.be/qMm5renQibo
What major advances have we seen in aging & Alzheimer’s research? Find out in this video about the National Institute on Aging at NIH, leading the federal government for research on aging and Alzheimer’s. https://youtu.be/qMm5renQibo
Watch this video to learn about research advances supported and conducted by the National Institute on Aging at NIH. https://youtu.be/qMm5renQibo
Understanding how we age and what we can do to be as healthy as possible as we grow older is important. Find out in this video how the National Institute on Aging is educating and training the next generation of scientists in aging and dementia research. https://youtu.be/qMm5renQibo
The National Institute on Aging at NIH leads the federal effort to study Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Watch this video to learn how research is uncovering effective ways to treat and prevent these disorders. https://youtu.be/qMm5renQibo