• June 3, 2013

    The National Institute on Aging (NIA) is pleased to announce an exciting new career opportunity within the Office of the Director. This position will serve as the Director for the Office of Special Populations. The NIA is responsible for conducting research activities dedicated to understanding the nature of aging, supporting the health and well-being of older adults, and extending healthy, active years of life for more people. As the Director, Office of Special Populations, you will develop initiatives to enhance the research and training efforts targeting underrepresented minorities and women and provide advice and guidance to senior staff on matters on health research related to special populations. To apply to this job opportunity or for more information about this position, eligibility criteria, and application process, please visit the Federal government’s official job website, USAJobs at The announcement numbers are: NIH-NIA-DE-13-887382 (opened to all candidates) and NIH-NIA-MP-13-887083 (opened to Status/Government candidates). The opening date of the official announcement is Tuesday, June 4, 2013 and will close on Thursday, June 13, 2013.

    For questions about this position, please contact Dr. Marie Bernard at 301-496-0216 or . For questions about the application process, please contact Jessica Schwartz at 301-402-7719 or

  • May 10, 2013

    An analysis of 2 years of data from the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment showed that Medicaid coverage reduced rates of depression and overall financial strain on participating individuals, but did not yield improvements in overall health status. Results of the study, funded in part by NIA, appear in the March 2, 2012, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

    In 2008, Oregon expanded its Medicaid program through a statewide lottery of low-income adults. Selected persons were given the opportunity to apply for Medicaid coverage. This provided a unique opportunity to examine the effects of insurance coverage using a randomized study design, comparing various health and financial outcomes among those who were selected versus a control group. About 2 years after the lottery, the researchers conducted in-person interviews and health examinations with 6,387 adults receiving Medicaid and 5,842 who were not selected for the program.

    The investigators found that Medicaid enrollees had reduced rates of depression and better self-reported mental health. Enrollment in Medicaid had no significant effect on the diagnosis or treatment of high blood pressure or high cholesterol, but did increase the probability of being diagnosed with and treated for diabetes. Medicaid enrollment did not affect the measures of diabetic blood sugar control, however, even after diagnosis and treatment.

    Medicaid almost completely eliminated out-of-pocket catastrophic medical expenditures and reduced other measures of financial hardship, including borrowing money to pay medical bills or skipping payments on bills. Health care use, including physician visits, preventive care, and prescription drugs, increased. Medicaid also increased the number of people who said that their health was the same or better than it was a year previously.

    The researchers noted that the results highlight the financial protections that Medicaid provides, as well as the improvements in mental health, but does not provide evidence that Medicaid coverage translates to measurable improvements in physical health in the first 2 years.

    Reference: Baicker K, et al. The Oregon experiment—effects of Medicaid on clinical outcomes. N Engl J Med, 2013 May 2;368(18):1713-22. doi:10.1056/NEJMsa1212321.

  • April 15, 2013

    A variant of a gene involved in cholesterol and lipid production is associated with significantly higher risk of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease in African Americans than in non-Hispanic whites of European ancestry, a recent study found. Although preliminary, the findings suggest that the two racial groups may have different genetic risk profiles for the most common form of Alzheimer’s dementia. The research is published in the April 10, 2013, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    A person’s genes, along with age and environmental factors, are thought to play a role in the development of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, which begins after age 60. Most previous studies of genes and Alzheimer’s disease have involved whites of European ancestry. However, studies on the rates of Alzheimer’s report that African Americans have a higher incidence of the disease than whites.

    Led by Dr. Richard Mayeux, of Columbia University Medical Center, researchers analyzed genetic data for 5,896 African Americans age 60 and older, of whom 3,928 were cognitively normal and 1,968 had probable Alzheimer’s disease. The results showed that older African Americans had the same gene variants associated with Alzheimer’s as older whites but were also more likely to have a variant of the ABCA7 gene.

    African Americans with the gene variant had almost double the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, compared with African Americans without the variant. The risk from the ABCA7 gene variant was as strong in African Americans as that from APOE ɛ4, the most important known genetic risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s in whites. This new discovery adds to our understanding of the cellular pathways involved in Alzheimer’s disease and may one day lead to promising targets for prevention and treatment, according to the study authors.

    The research team conducted the analysis through a genome-wide association study, which rapidly scans complete sets of DNA of many people to find genetic markers associated with a particular disease. The NIA-supported Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium supplied the samples. 

    Reference: Reitz C, et al. Variants in the ATP-binding cassette transporter (ABCA7), apolipoprotein E ɛ4, and the risk of late-onset Alzheimer disease in African Americans. JAMA. 2013;309(14):1483-1492. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.2973.

  • June 3, 2013

    Take a look at the latest grants awarded to expand the study of aging. They cover such diverse areas as formulation of a new treatment for wound healing in older people, mechanisms of aging in C. elegans, renewal of the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study, therapy for older adults with depression, and many others.

    This list includes the new and competing grants for FY 2013 awarded through April 30, 2013. It does not include grants that NIA co-funds with another NIH institute. Click on the title to go to a description of the project.

    Project Number Contact PI / Project Leader Project Title Division
    1P01AG04335301 Anversa, Piero Aging of the Heart DAB
    4R00AG036817-03 Burd, Christin E A Novel p16INK4a Reporter System to Assess Aging in Vivo DAB
    2P01AG025532-06A1 Cortopassi, Gino A. Schs, Mitochondria, Healthy Aging and Longevity DAB
    2R01AG021904-11 Cuervo, Ana M. Decreased Protein Degradation in Aging DAB
    4R00AG037646-03 Dang, Weiwei Regulation of Yeast Cellular Aging through Chromatin and Novel Pathways DAB
    1R21AG042826-01A1 Frasca, Daniela  Micro-RNAs: A New Mechanism Negatively Regulating B Cell Responses in the Elderly DAB
    1R13AG046918-01 Gordon, Leslie B PRF 11th Anniversary Workshop on Progeria - "Hand In Hand: Basic and Clinica DAB
    1R01AG046495-01 Kelly, Jeffery W. Discovering Small Molecules Activators of Stress Responsive Signaling DAB
    2R01AG025941-06A1 Kim, Stuart K. Mechanisms of Aging in C. Elegans DAB
    4R00AG037621-03 Rogers, Aric N. Lifespan Extension by Differential Translation Mediated By Eif-4g in C. Elegans DAB
    1R21AG042686-01A1 Smith, Jeffrey Scott Functional Sir2-RNA Interactions DAB
    1R01AG043560-01 Berndt, Ernst R. Evaluating Changes in Biopharmaceutical Therapies for Medicare and Other Payers DBSR
    1R21AG042737-01A1 Erosheva, Elena Respondent-Driven Sampling for Hard-to-Reach Populations with Complex Network Clu DBSR
    2P01AG029409-06A1 Freedman, Vicki A. Economic Status, Health, & Well-Being over the Life Course and across Generations DBSR
    1R36AG042608-01A1 Garcia, Krista Changes in Physical and Cognitive Functioning among Cancer Survivors DBSR
    1R01AG043584-01A1 Hollister, Brooke Ann Case Management and Problem Solving Therapy for Depressed Older Adults DBSR
    1R01AG042794-01A1 Hotz, Vincent Joseph Add Health Parent Study: Phase I DBSR
    1R44AG044120-01 Macurdy, Thomas Remote-Access Data Enclave for Analysis of HRS/PSID Linked to Administrative Heal DBSR
    2P01AG019783-11 Skinner, Jonathan S. Causes and Consequences of Healthcare Efficiency DBSR
    1R21AG044260-01A1 Sloan, Richard P. Psychosocial Factors and Aging: Effects on Resting/Reflexive Cardiovascular Contr DBSR
    1R03AG042646-01A1 Yoo, Byung-Kwang Factors Affecting Disparities in Influenza Vaccination among Medicare Elderly DBSR
    1R21AG042701-01A1 Donahue, J. Kevin Final Preclinical Development of Gene Therapy for Post-Operative Atrial Fibrillat DGCG
    2R44AG032160-02 Parker, B. Eugene Benefit DGCG
    1R01AG041869-01A1 Schonberg, Mara A. Breast Cancer Risk Factors among Women Aged 75 and Older DGCG
    1R21AG042795-01A1 Seals, Douglas R. Clinical Translation of Curcumin Therapy to Treat Arterial Aging DGCG
    1R21AG043284-01A1 Walston, Jeremy David Novel Formulation of Topical Losartan for Treatment of Wounds in Aging DGCG
    2U19AG010483-22 Aisen, Paul S. Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study DN
    2R44AG042181-02 Boado, Ruben J. Manufacturing of Trojan Horse-TNFR Decoy Receptor Fusion Protein DN
    1R13AG044908-01 Cadenas, Enrique 2013 Oxidative Stress and Disease Gordon Research Conference & Gordon Research Se DN
    1R01AG042679-01A1 Dillin, Andrew G. Cell Non-Autonomous Function of the Unfolded Protein Response DN
    2R01AG030146-06A1 Evans, Denis A. Genetic Epidemiology of Cognitive Decline in an Aging Population Sample DN
    1R13AG044998-01 Geula, Changiz International Conf on Alzheimer Disease and Related Disorders in the Middle East DN
    2R01AG028709-07A1 Lal, Ratneshwar Amyloid Ion Channels to Design Therapeutics for Neurodegenerative Diseases DN
    1R21AG042755-01A1 Logemann, Jerilyn A. Strategies for the Treatment of Dysphagia in Patients with Alzheimer's Disease DN
    1R01AG042753-01A1 Lu, Hanzhang Cognition and Cerebrovascular Function across the Lifespan DN
    9R44AG044293-03 Mera, Thomas Oliver Kinesia-D: Ambulatory PD Dyskinesia Monitor for Drug Therapy Titration DN
    1U01AG046871-01 Montine, Thomas J. Neuropathologic Research on Dementia Using Nun Study and HAAS Data DN
    2P01AG017628-11 Pack, Allan Ian Sleep/Wake Fragmentation with Age: Molecular Mechanisms DN
    2R01AG030593-06A1 Pletcher, Scott D. Mechanisms of Sensory Modulation of Aging in Drosophila DN
    4R37AG031220-06 Prusiner, Stanley B. Towards Therapeutics for Neurodegenerative Diseases DN
    4R00AG036845-03 Schon, Karin Aerobic Exercise, Neurotrophins, and fMRI of Hippocampal Function and Structure DN
    1R01AG042292-01A1 Sharp, Frank R. Nrf2 Anti-Oxidant Systems and White Matter Hyperintensities DN
    2P01AG027956-05A1 Singh, Meharvan Novel Mechanistic Targets of Steroid Hormones in the Brain DN
    1R01AG043517-01A1 Singh, Rajat Hypothalamic Autophagy and Metabolic Regulation in Aging DN
    1R03AG044680-01 Wang, Xinglong Role of PS1 in Mitochondria Dynamics and Mitochondria Function DN
    1R01AG044420-01 Xu, Huaxi Roles of SN27 in Regulating Glutamate Receptors during Neurodegeneration DN

    DAB = Division of Aging Biology
    DBSR = Division of Behavioral and Social Research
    DGCG = Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology
    DN = Division of Neuroscience

  • May 29, 2013

    Second Meeting of Reversibility Network, Bethesda, MD – February 26-27, 2013

    This meeting explored the applicability of two concepts from the developmental literature to considerations of midlife reversibility of early-established persistent risk mechanisms. The first was the concept of critical periods of plasticity and the potential to reopen these windows later in life. The second was the concept of differential susceptibility to environments and its relevance for intervention approaches beyond early developmental periods. (Contacts: Dr. David Reiss or Dr. Lis Nielsen)

    Intervention Testing Program, Bethesda, MD – March 11-12, 2013

    The goal of this meeting was to plan the continuation of the Aging Intervention Testing Program (ITP) cooperative agreement program. This workshop brought together experts in aging biology as well as statisticians and clinical trial experts to evaluate the current standard operating procedures. In addition, because the ITP continuation will increase the ability to perform phase 2 studies of health outcomes, several experts in veterinary pathology and healthspan outcome measures also participated in the workshop. (Contact: Dr. Rebecca Fuldner)

    Positive Psychobiology Symposium at American Psychosomatic Society, Miami, FL – March 12, 2013

    This NIA-funded pre-conference and conference symposium explored approaches to measuring biomarkers related to positive psychological states and functioning. Investigators have recently begun to explore the relationship between positive psychological functioning and physical health. However, our understanding of the underlying mechanisms is still limited. Participants discussed potential positive psychobiological processes that might link positive psychological functioning with enhanced resilience, reduced risk of disease, and improved physical health. (Contact: Dr. Lis Nielsen)

    Enabling Partnerships for Alzheimer’s Disease Drug Development, Bethesda, MD – April 10, 2013

    This meeting was designed to facilitate the creation of new partnerships aimed at transforming the process of AD drug development into one that is participatory, collaborative, well-integrated, and iterative. The meeting brought together representatives from government, industry, academia, foundations, and patient advocacy groups. The program focused on three interconnected goals: 1) enabling rapid use and reuse of multidimensional data to build predictive models of AD necessary for the development of diagnostics and treatments; 2) creating broad capabilities in quantitative and systems pharmacology to identify and select disease relevant targets, to understand in a precise and predictive manner how drugs impact human pathophysiology and to enable drug repurposing and identification of combination therapies; and 3) expanding the precompetitive space for validation of novel targets from discovery through phase II trials. (Contact: Dr. Suzana Petanceska)

    Aging, Cancer and Immunosenescence, Honolulu, HI – May 6, 2013

    The Division of Aging Biology (DAB) sponsored a symposium at the annual meeting of the American Association of Immunology. Four speakers gave presentations on their research on the role of inflammation in the development of cancer with aging. Presentations included the role of senescent cells in this process and the challenges of tailoring treatments for elderly cancer patients that have impaired immune system function. (Contact: Dr. Rebecca Fuldner)

  • May 29, 2013

    Go4Life® en español

    Go4Life, NIA’s national exercise and physical activity campaign encourages Americans 50 and older 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. The campaign now has 12 federal partners and 65 partners from the private sector.

    NIH MedlinePlus Salud Winter/Invierno 2012In recent weeks, the campaign has focused on its Spanish-language materials. The winter issue of the NIH MedlinePlus Spanish-language magazine Salud featured the Go4Life campaign and provided examples of the four types of exercise: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.

    In addition, Go4Life added five new Spanish tip sheets to the website:

    For more Go4Life resources in Spanish, visit

  • May 29, 2013

    As the American population ages, the number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals ages 65 and older is also increasing. However, we know surprisingly little about unique health issues and needs that may pertain to this group. Much of the data available are based on small studies and are not nationally representative. In particular, bisexuals, transgender individuals, LGBT persons of color, and the “oldest old” in these communities (ages 85 and older) are significantly under-studied, according to the 2011 Institute of Medicine (IOM) Consensus Report, The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding. (See below for more on this report.)

    The NIA currently supports several LGBT-relevant studies and anticipates funding additional research under several recently released Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) and other mechanisms. Recently, results from the NIA-supported study Caring and Aging with Pride, the first national, federally funded project examining LGBT aging and health, were released. Led by Dr. Karen I. Fredriksen-Goldsen of the University of Washington, this pioneering project involved collaboration from 11 other community-based agencies serving LGBT elders across the United States.

    Key findings from the study include:

    • Lesbian, gay, and bisexual older adults report higher rates of disability and mental distress than heterosexual older adults. Nearly a third report depression, and over half experience loneliness.
    • Some 68 percent report experiencing verbal harassment, and 43 percent say they have been threatened with physical violence due to their sexual or gender identity.
    • Access to health care remains a concern. Some 21 percent of study participants indicate that they do not disclose their sexual or gender identity to their physician; 15 percent fear accessing health care outside the LGBT community; 22 percent of transgender older adults can’t afford needed medical care; and 13 percent say they have been denied health care or provided with inferior care, as a result of their sexual or gender identity.
    • Caregiving was an important focus of this study. The investigators found that 30 percent of women and 26 percent of men surveyed were acting as a caregiver to a partner or spouse, friend, parent, adult child, or other relative. Caregivers were more likely than non-caregivers to report disability, depression, victimization, and verbal and physical abuse.
    • Nevertheless, LGBT older adults report tremendous resilience, with 91 percent engaging in regular wellness activities and 89 percent indicating that they feel positive about belonging to their LGBT communities.

    Study participants identified senior housing, transportation, social events, support groups, and legal support as the services for which LGBT elders are most in need. The full report, executive summary, and fact sheets are available at

    NIH Efforts

    Recognizing a need for more information on the health of LGBT people of all ages, the NIH commissioned an IOM study in 2009. In its 2011 report, The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Greater Understanding, the IOM committee noted the lack of research in this area and recommended a number of steps, including implementation of a research agenda to advance knowledge and understanding of LGBT health; support of methodological research that relates to LGBT health; and establishment of a comprehensive research training approach to strengthen LGBT health research at NIH.

    In response to these recommendations, NIH formed the LGBT Research Coordinating Committee to develop and coordinate potential research and training activities, assess relevant past and current activities across NIH, and develop recommendations for new activities focused on research and training. The committee performed a comprehensive portfolio analysis and reported that the NIH LGBT research portfolio was distributed across 13 Institutes, Centers, and Offices, with most of the existing research in behavioral and social science, mental health, and drug abuse, particularly as they relate to HIV/AIDS.

    In addition, the Committee coordinated reissue, by 12 ICs, of FOAs (R01, R03, R21) on LGBT and Intersex Health. For more information on NIH research on LGBT populations, visit the NIH website.

  • May 29, 2013

    Dr. Andrew Singleton, director of NIA’s Laboratory of Neurogenetics and branch chief of its Molecular Genetics Section, was recently featured in The Catalyst, the newsletter of the NIH Intramural Research Program. The article offers a fascinating glimpse into the lab’s groundbreaking research on the genetics of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, and more. Read more about his work focus on the genetics of rare diseases.

  • May 29, 2013
    AGHE President Janet Frank with NIA Deputy Director Dr. Marie A. Bernard

    AGHE President Janet Frank with NIA Deputy Director Dr. Marie A. Bernard. Photocredit: Gerontological Society of America

    NIA Deputy Director Dr. Marie A. Bernard was named the 2013 winner of the Clark Tibbitts Award from the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE), the educational arm of the Gerontological Society of America. She delivered the award lecture, “The Nexus: Gerontology/Geriatrics Education and Aging Research,” aka “Living Long and Well in the 21st Century: Strategic Directions for NIA Research on Aging,” on March 2 at the AGHE annual meeting in St. Petersburg, FL.

    The award is given by AGHE each year to an individual or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of gerontology and geriatrics education. Awardees have been significantly involved in and made a national impact on gerontology or geriatrics education.

    Clark Tibbitts was an early pioneer and advocate for geriatrics education. The awardee becomes an honorary fellow of AGHE in addition to delivering the lecture at the annual meeting.

    “I am honored to receive this award,” noted Dr. Bernard. “In the 1950s and '60s, Clark Tibbitts recognized the need for structured programs of geriatric education. Today, that need is more urgent than ever as we address the aging of our society.”

  • May 29, 2013

    On April 12, the Population Association of America (PAA) announced that NIA Director Dr. Richard Hodes had been awarded the PAA Excellence in Public Service Award. Created in 2008, the award honors federal, state, and local policy makers and staff who have been especially supportive of demographic or population research and the federal agencies that fund it.

    NIA Director Dr. Richard Hodes accepts the Excellence in Public Service Award from the Population Association of America
    NIA Director Dr. Richard Hodes (center) accepts the Excellence in Public Service Award from the Population Association of America. Also pictured are (left to right): Georgeanne Patmios, NIA; Dr. Richard Suzman, NIA; Mary Jo Hoeksema, PAA; Dr. Christine Bachrach, PAA; and Dr. John Haaga, NIA.

    In presenting the award, PAA President Christine Bachrach noted Dr. Hodes’ “tremendous leadership of the NIA,” as well as the critical role he has played in encouraging investment in the behavioral and social sciences at the NIH overall.

    “You have been an outstanding supporter of the population sciences,” Ms. Bachrach said. “You’ve supported the development of invaluable large-scale longitudinal studies, such as the Health and Retirement Study, and infrastructure programs like the Demography of Aging Centers. Your willingness to support the good science that has come to the NIA has made it possible for population scientists worldwide to make important contributions toward understanding the complex implications of an aging population.”

    “I am honored to receive this award from the Population Association of America,” Dr. Hodes said. “When I was named NIA Director, I came to the Institute with a background in cancer research, at the cellular level, as an immunologist. I have come to fully appreciate the importance of demographic research that looks at individuals, families, and societies, encompassing a national and international view of population aging. I am grateful for this award and share it with Dr. Richard Suzman and our Division of Behavioral and Social Research, which has been so innovative in NIA’s approach to population studies.”