• July 7, 2014

    2013-2014 NIH Alzheimer’s Disease Progress Report Available Online

    A new online report provides an easy-to-read overview of recent National Institutes of Health-funded Alzheimer’s disease research advances and new initiatives. Issued by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the NIH, the annual report--2013-2014 Alzheimer’s Disease Progress Report: Insights and Challenges--discusses research momentum under the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, describes new investments and research priorities, and summarizes research advances in several areas:

    • Understanding the biology of Alzheimer’s and the aging brain
    • Identifying genetic influences on risk for late-onset Alzheimer’s, the most common form
    • Detecting the earliest Alzheimer’s-related brain changes, including further development of biomarkers to track the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s
    • Understanding gender and racial differences in the impact of Alzheimer’s
    • Stepping up translational research that enables the design and testing of new drugs
    • Testing in clinical trials potential new therapies to prevent, delay, or treat Alzheimer’s
    • Finding better ways to support caregivers

    Other features include a video introduction by NIA Director Dr. Richard Hodes, a primer on Alzheimer’s disease and the brain, tables listing NIA-funded clinical trials, and videos that highlight promising areas of research.

  • July 9, 2014

    A4 study logo -- 'The A4 Study' Healthy older adults age 65 to 85 with normal memory but who may be at risk of Alzheimer’s are invited to participate in a major clinical trial to prevent or delay the disease.

    The trial—Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s Disease, or A4—is testing an experimental drug, solanezumab, to find out if it can help slow memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s. Researchers want to know if starting treatment early in the disease process, before overt symptoms appear, can keep Alzheimer’s at bay.

    Investigators are recruiting 1,000 cognitively normal volunteers at 56 sites in the United States, as well 4 in Canada and 1 in Australia. See a list of study sites with contact information.

    The A4 Study, led by the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study, is supported by a public-private partnership funded by the National Institutes of Health, Eli Lilly and Company, and several philanthropic organizations.

    Interested in participating? Find out more about the A4 trial.

  • July 2, 2014

    NIA co-hosting 2014 webinar series for professionals on Alzheimer’s and related dementias

    The National Institute on Aging, Administration for Community Living, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are collaborating to host a free webinar series to increase knowledge about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Resources that professionals in the public health, aging services, and research networks can use to inform, educate, and empower community members, people with dementia, and their family caregivers will be highlighted.

    Register for all of the webinars or just the one that most interests you.  The dates and topics are:

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014:  Updates on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Resources

    Thursday, August 28, 2014:  Community Collaborations for Assisting People with Alzheimer’s and Dementias: The Steps to Success

    Thursday, September 25, 2014:  Alzheimer’s Research Updates

    Each webinar is from 1:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m.–2:00 p.m. CT/ 11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. MT/10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m. PT. 

    You must register separately for each webinar.  If you plan to view the webinar in a central location with others, we encourage only one person to register for the group.

    Learn more about the series and register today!

  • June 26, 2014

    Cartoon of four people in conversation.

    Grant applicants sometimes receive emails from the NIH asking for additional information on their grant applications. These emails do not necessarily mean the grant will be funded. A new blog post by Dr. Robin Barr, Director of the NIA Division of Extramural Activities, helps applicants understand these automated emails that arrive as part of the application process. “Everyone with a score better than 40 is asked for extra information,” he explains.

    Read the full blog post: Maybe we should call it “just-in-case” rather than “just-in-time”

    The NIA blog publishes weekly with information on grants and funding policy, research priorities, scientific meetings, and topics of interest to researchers and others in the scientific community. Subscribe to get it weekly in your email inbox, or grab the RSS feed.

  • June 18, 2014

    Cartoon of four people in conversation.

    A new scientific resource—genetics data on 78,000 participants—is now available to qualified researchers. Scientists studying diseases and conditions such as heart disease, cancer, osteoarthritis, diabetes, insomnia, depression, and certain eye diseases may be interested in applying for access to these data. Dr. Winnie Rossi, deputy director of the NIA Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology, has a new blog post explaining what's available and its value. "I think the data provide researchers with an unparalleled research resource," she writes.

    Read the full blog post: Genetics data available for secondary analysis

    The NIA blog publishes weekly with information on grants and funding policy, research priorities, scientific meetings, and topics of interest to researchers and others in the scientific community. Subscribe to get it weekly in your email inbox, or grab the RSS feed.

  • June 17, 2014

    Scientists have discovered gene variants that affect the function of immune cells in young, healthy people. Interestingly, many of these same gene variants are known risk factors for diseases that occur later in life, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. This linking of known gene risk factors for age-related neurological disorders to immune system functions, such as inflammation, offers new insights into Alzheimer’s and other disorders and may one day lead to promising therapies.

    Funded in part by NIH, a study by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, and colleagues appeared May 2, 2014 in Science. The work of lead author Dr. Towfique Raj was supported by an NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award. This program helps ensure a diverse pool of highly trained scientists are available in appropriate scientific disciplines to address the Nation's biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs.

    The researchers studied T-cells and monocytes, two types of immune cells in blood samples donated by 461 young, healthy volunteers of diverse ancestry living in Boston. They profiled the cells to measure the expression of more than 19,000 genes found in each cell type. They then identified how gene variants in the samples influenced the function of the immune cells.

    They found that gene variants that confer risk for certain diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, also controlled the activity of T-cells. T-cells are specialized in that they adapt to environmental triggers and can respond to specific allergens and viruses. In contrast, known gene risk factors for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases influenced the function of monocytes. Monocytes are associated with innate immunity and are more generalized in their function to fight infections and help clear away dead cells and cellular debris.

    While more research is needed, the study advances our understanding of the complex interplay between disease-related genetic variations and the immune system. For the Alzheimer’s research community, the findings offer an intriguing possibility of developing interventions that enlist immune cells in delaying or preventing the onset of the disease.

    Reference: Towfique R, et al. Polarization of the Effects of Autoimmune and Neurodegenerative Risk Alleles in Leukocytes. Science. May 2, 2014. doi:10.1126/science.1249547

  • June 13, 2014

    Cartoon of four people in conversation.

    Over the past year, more than 25 staff members from the National Institute on Aging have shared their insights on the Inside NIA blog for researchers. This is a great time to catch up on our most popular posts. Want to see a particular topic on the blog? Please get in touch by submitting a blog comment if there are topics of interest to scientists that we could consider. Comment and let us know.

    Read the full blog post: Popular posts of year 1

    The NIA blog publishes weekly with information on grants and funding policy, research priorities, scientific meetings, and topics of interest to researchers and others in the scientific community. Subscribe to get it weekly in your email inbox, or grab the RSS feed.

  • June 11, 2014

    Talking with your doctor powerpoint presentationCheck out the new Talking With Your Doctor Presentation Toolkit from the National Institute on Aging at NIH. It’s an easy-to-use speaker’s guide—no prior knowledge or special training on the topic required. What’s more, the resource is completely free.

    The toolkit centers around a 45-minute presentation (with speaker script) that features tips to help older adults make the most of their medical appointments, including how to:

    • Get ready for a doctor’s visit
    • Effectively talk with a clinician about health concerns
    • Make collaborative decisions about treatment
    • Remember what was discussed following the appointment

    It also has handouts that elaborate on points made in the discussion and a checklist of items to consider when preparing for the presentation.

  • June 4, 2014

    Cartoon of four people in conversation.

    The NIA and the NIH have noticed that fewer physicians with MD degrees are applying for certain kinds of grants: career development awards, or K awards. These career development grants provide funding, help scientists set aside time to dedicate to research, and offer an intense career development experience for researchers. A new blog post by Dr. Chyren Hunter, deputy director of the NIA Division of Extramural Activities, describes this trend and what the NIA is doing about it.

    Read the full blog post: MDs are not applying for K awards

    The NIA blog publishes weekly with information on grants and funding policy, research priorities, scientific meetings, and topics of interest to researchers and others in the scientific community. Subscribe to get it weekly in your email inbox, or grab the RSS feed.

  • June 3, 2014

    Register now for the June 4 webinar.

    Every year roughly one in three older Americans suffers a fall. Although evidence points to effective ways to prevent falls, rates of fall-related injury remain stubbornly high, making falls one of the most common causes of disability and loss of independence among older adults. Until now, no large-scale study has been undertaken to identify the most effective combination of falls prevention strategies to fit the needs of different individuals and different health care systems.

    On Wednesday, June 4, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) of the National Institutes of Health and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) will announce the selection of the research team that will carry out a major, five-year, $30 million patient-centered study of the effectiveness of individually tailored care plans to help older individuals avoid falls and related injuries.

    Details of the new national study will be shared at a one-hour public briefing via webinar/teleconference, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET Wednesday, June 4. Register at

    Participants include:

    • Bryan Luce, Ph.D., PCORI Chief Science Officer
    • Richard Hodes, M.D., NIA Director
    • Principal investigators of the research team
    • Patient, caregiver, and clinician representatives

    For more information, contact:

    Barbara Cire
    Senior Public Affairs Specialist
    National Institute on Aging
    National Institutes of Health

    Christine Stencel
    Associate Director for Media Relations
    Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
    202-827-7707 (office) or 202-560-9757 (mobile)