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World’s older population grows dramatically

The world’s older population continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. Today, 8.5 percent of people worldwide (617 million) are aged 65 and over. According to a new report, “An Aging World: 2015,” this percentage is projected to jump to nearly 17 percent of the world’s population by 2050 (1.6 billion).

Does poor sleep raise risk for Alzheimer’s disease?

Are sleep disorders like sleep apnea a risk for Alzheimer’s and cognitive impairment? Research into the connection shows what happens in the brain and more.

NIH-supported trials test hormonal therapy in older men with low testosterone levels

A preliminary study of testosterone therapy in older men with low levels of the hormone and clinical conditions to which low testosterone might contribute found that restoring levels to those of healthy young men improved sexual function. Treatment had a smaller effect on other aspects of health, such as the ability to walk or the sense of vitality.

The big news of 2016 so far is the increase in the NIA budget. We’re very excited about the many opportunities in aging research that will be possible because of these extra funds. As we flesh out new funding opportunities and wait for applications in response to existing announcements, we thought we would reprise a few interesting posts from the last few months in case you missed them. If you missed a few, now is your chance to catch up.

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2016 Butler-Williams Scholars Program now accepting applications

Emerging researchers, including those with limited involvement in research on aging, are invited to apply for the next Butler-Williams Scholars Program, to be held July 25-29, 2016, at the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, MD.

Sponsored by NIA, the 5-day program will explore research design relative to aging, including issues relevant to racial/ethnic minorities and health disparities. The agenda will include:

Hypothermia and older adults

The cold truth about hypothermia is that Americans aged 65 years and older face this danger every winter. Older adults are especially vulnerable to hypothermia because their body's response to cold can be diminished by underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, some medicines including over-the-counter cold remedies, and aging itself. As a result, hypothermia can develop in older adults after even relatively mild exposure to cold weather or a small drop in temperature.

I’m very pleased to announce that the Trans-NIH GeroScience Interest Group (GSIG) and partners will host its second summit in 2016. The “Disease Drivers of Aging: 2016 Advances in Geroscience Summit” will take place on April 13–14 at the New York Academy of Sciences in New York City. Members of the Geroscience Interest Group from the NIH, with essential collaboration and support from the New York Academy of Sciences, the American Federation for Aging Research, and the Gerontological Society of America, have developed a theme and program for a second geroscience summit requested by the research community.

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Next week, NIA’s National Advisory Council on Aging (NACA) will hold its first meeting of 2016. The January 20 public session promises to be particularly interesting. NIA Director Dr. Richard Hodes will provide some general background information on the FY 2016 budget for NIH and NIA. The session will also include NIH updates on research policy, as well as new scientific findings.

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We all know that exercise and physical activity is good for us. Regular physical activity helps just about everything. But exactly how does exercise result in so many benefits? The answers may be found at the molecular level.

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Those of you who read part 1 of this post a couple of weeks ago will remember that I raised a question at the end of that post: Could a policy affecting all investigators (the NIH policy change to allow a single amended submission) have a singular effect on a sub-group of investigators—early-stage and other inexperienced researchers? This week, we have the answer!

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