• February 19, 2009

    Biology of Aging Summit Report. Sierra, F., J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 64:155-6, 2009.

    In September 2008, the Division of Aging Biology (DAB) of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) held a summit to assess the current state of research in the field of biogerontology and to attempt to delineate goals for the future. The 3-day meeting, held in Gaithersburg, Maryland, brought together a group of 40 well-respected scientists, from both within and outside the field, with sufficient expertise to address the global issues at hand. The main part of the meeting was a series of 15 sessions (with groups of three to four sessions in parallel), where rather than the usual presentation and discussion of data from individual speakers, free discussion of ideas was encouraged, partially driven by a set of questions chosen in advance by the session chairs and DAB. The subjects of discussion, as well as participants, were chosen by a steering committee chosen by DAB staff. The topics discussed are reflected in the accompanying articles in this issue of the Journals of Gerontology, which delineate the gaps and opportunities identified within various research areas, and summarize the collective conclusions reached by each of the discussion groups. As a way of introduction, it is relevant to indicate some (new) areas that came up repeatedly during the sessions and pervaded many of the discussions.



  • November 20, 2009

    The longevity dividend: why invest in basic aging research? Warner, H. and Sierra, F., Can J Aging. 28:391-398; (in French: 395-398), 2009.

  • January 1, 2011

    Acute kidney injury in older adults. Anderson S, Eldadah B, Halter JB, Hazzard WR, Himmelfarb J, Horne FM, Kimmel PL, Molitoris BA, Murthy M, O'Hare AM, Schmader KE, High KP. J Am Soc Nephrol. 22:28-38, 2011.

  • November 27, 2009

    Biomarker Validation for Aging: Lessons from mtDNA Heteroplasmy Analyses in Early Cancer Detection. P. E. Barker and M. Murthy. Biomarker Insights 4: 165–179, 2009.

  • April 15, 2010

    Workshop on Immunizations in Older Adults: Identifying Future Research Agendas. Kevin P.High, MD,MSc, Richard T.D’Aquila,MD, Rebecca A. Fuldner, PhD, Dale N. Gerding, MD, Jeffrey B. Halter, MD, Laura Haynes, PhD, William R. Hazzard, MD, Lisa A. Jackson, MD, Edward Janoff, MD, Myron J. Levin, MD, Susan G. Nayfield, MD, Kristin L. Nichol, MD, MPH, MBA, Mercy Prabhudas, PhD, Helen K. Talbot, MD, Charles P. Clayton,l Randi Henderson, Catherine M. Scott, Erika D. Tarver, Nancy F. Woolard, and Kenneth E. Schmader, MD. J Am Geriatr Soc 58: 765–776, 2010.

    Goals for immunization in older adults may differ from those in young adults and children, in whom complete prevention of disease is the objective. Often, reduced hospitalization and death but also averting exacerbation of underlying chronic illness, functional decline, and frailty are important goals in the older age group. Because of the effect of age on dendritic cell function, T cell-mediated immune suppression, reduced proliferative capacity of T cells, and other immune responses, the efficacy of vaccines often wanes with advanced age. This article summarizes the discussion and proceedings of a workshop organized by the Association of Specialty Professors, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the American Geriatrics Society, the National Institute on Aging, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Leading researchers and clinicians in the fields of immunology, epidemiology, infectious diseases, geriatrics, and gerontology reviewed the current status of vaccines in older adults, identified knowledge gaps, and suggest priority areas for future research. The goal of the workshop was to identify what is known about immunizations (efficacy, effect, and current schedule) in older adults and to recommend priorities for future research. Investigation in the areas identified has the potential to enhance understanding of the immune process in aging individuals, inform vaccine development, and lead to more-effective strategies to reduce the risk of vaccine-preventable illness in older adults.

  • July 15, 2009

    Aging in the context of immunological architecture, function and disease outcomes. Andrea L. DiCarlo, Rebecca Fuldner, Joseph Kaminski and Richard Hodes. Trends in Immunology 30: 293-294, 2009.

  • July 22, 2011

    NIA participates in this NIH general initiative, which permits PIs on many different types of research grants to apply for an administrative supplement to support an individual returning to the research workforce after a forced interruption (e.g., raising children or caring for a disabled parent). Trainees and investigators associated with Nathan Shock Centers are eligible to apply for these supplements.

    Anyone considering an application under this Program Announcement is strongly encouraged to contact NIA’s Diversity/Re-Entry Supplement Program Coordinator, Dr. Michael-David A.R.R. Kerns, at or 301-402-7713 before beginning work on - or submitting - a Diversity or Re-Entry Supplement application.

  • July 22, 2011

    NIA participates in this NIH-wide supplement program. This program replaces the prior NIH Research Supplements for Under-represented Minorities and Research Supplements for Individuals with Disabilities programs. Trainees or investigators associated with Nathan Shock Centers are eligible to apply for these supplements.

  • July 22, 2011

    The mutant mouse aging colony is slated to end in September 2013. Old mice will be available until September 2013 but the availability of young mice will end earlier. Entries of different strains into the mutant mouse aging colony will end at different times, dependent on the lifespan and pattern of use of the strain.

    • Snell Dwarf (3623) – last entry will be the November 2011 DOB (date of birth)
    • Ames Dwarf (324) – last entry will be the October 2012 DOB
    • A53T α-synuclein Transgenic (322) – last entry will be the December 2012 DOB
    • GFP Transgenic (317) – last entry will be the January 2013 DOB
  • December 15, 2001

    The research of Jennifer Manly, PhD, and colleagues at Columbia University suggests that methodological and analytical approaches, not actual racial or ethnic disparities in cognition, may in some cases help explain differences between older African Americans and non-Hispanic whites on cognitive test performance.

    The Columbia group's findings, published in the March 2002 Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, offer a powerful new tool - adjusting test results for quality of education - as one way to make cognitive testing of older people more culturally neutral. In the study, when test scores of participants with similar quality of education, measured by reading level, were compared, differences in test scores between two racial groups mostly disappeared.

    The report challenges a standard approach used in research on cognition and dementia. Because differences in education might affect test scores or health status, most studies that have adjusted for the number of years of schooling still found that older African Americans did not score as well on cognitive tests as non-Hispanic whites. Manly's work looks instead at the quality of education. Inequalities in the educational experience of those who grew up in an era of segregated schools, Manly reasons, might be attributed to less funding and resources for such schools as well as fewer days per year that schools in the agrarian South were open for instruction. These discrepancies in early education, Manly suggests, have the potential to persist throughout life, as indicated in differences in reading levels between older African Americans and non-Hispanic whites.

    At the NIA, racial and ethnic differences in cognitive function and dementia are an increased focus of research. "Several studies have reported racial and ethnic differences in cognitive performance in older adults and in the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease," notes Molly Wagster, PhD, program director for neuropsychology of aging research and project officer for the Manly study. "Because cultural, educational, or other differences might affect performance on this type of testing, there have been questions about whether measurement techniques are as culturally neutral as they could be."

    Participants were drawn from a community-based study of cognitive aging in New York City's ethnically diverse neighborhoods of northern Manhattan. Random sampling was used to select 192 African Americans and 192 non-Hispanic whites age 65 and older. The two groups were matched in age, sex, and number of years of education. Participants were given medical evaluations at the start of the study to confirm that they did not have dementia and that they had no problems with daily activities. A battery of neuropsychological tests was then administered to examine memory, learning, and thinking abilities. Older people with low levels of reading ability could only name letters or read short, common words. Those with higher reading levels were able to pronounce complex, less common words out of context.

    The African American group scored lower on the neuropsychological test battery overall as compared to non-Hispanic whites. But when reading scores were factored in, most differences between the groups were no longer statistically significant. The exceptions were category fluency (a test in which people must name objects in a category during a set period of time) and a drawing test, where differences between racial groups were observed even after adjusting for reading level. More information is needed to explain the persistent differences on those two measures, the researchers said.

    Manly recommended further research to sort out methodological and analytical approaches, such as accounting for quality of education, from real racial or ethnic disparities in cognitive test performance. Such problems in methodology and analysis make it difficult to establish whether one group or another truly may have greater rates of cognitive decline and dementia in minority groups. "We need to develop measures designed to assess cognitive abilities in a way that is compatible with African American and other cultures," she notes. "With these, we will have greater confidence in any measures which show - or do not show - differences in cognitive health and dementia among various groups. Dr. Manly pursues such research as a neuropsychologist at the NIA-supported Alzheimer's Disease Center at Columbia University. Part of Dr. Manly's focus at the Center concentrates on research to improve the accuracy in diagnosing cognitive impairment and decline over time.

    Researchers at Columbia are now adding tests of reading levels to their assessments of cognitive ability and are looking to see how accounting for quality of education might affect previous findings on levels of cognitive performance and rates of dementia among different groups in the community. In addition, Manly and her colleagues are carrying out further research on the effect of quality of education and literacy among Spanish-speaking Caribbean Hispanics through a pilot grant from the Columbia Center for the Active Life of Minority Elders (CALME), a Resource Center for Minority Aging Research (RCMAR) funded by the NIA and the National Institute of Nursing Research.