This BSR-supported exploratory meeting of Neuroeconomics of Aging RFA grantees was held in conjunction with the 2009 Society for Neuroeconomics Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. NIA grantees in neuroeconomics and decision science presented findings from their research at Northwestern Kellogg School of Finance. The purposes of the meeting were (1) to share preliminary findings from NIA-funded research in neuroeconomics and decision science; (2) to discuss directions for future research, encourage collaborations, and identify obstacles to progress; (3) to discuss network, training, and other infrastructure needs/opportunities for developing aging-relevant research in these areas. (For more information, contact: Dr. Lis Nielsen, BSR, Ph: 301-402-4156.)
This BSR-supported exploratory meeting was held in Bethesda, MD, to further NIA’s work with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to develop a program focusing on (1) changes in motivation and emotion with addiction and aging, (2) changes in cognitive control and decision-making with addiction and aging, and (3) future directions – applying emotion and motivation findings to aging and addiction treatment and policy. (For more information, contact: Dr. Lis Nielsen, BSR, Ph: 301-402-4156.)
This BSR-supported exploratory meeting brought together a group of experts, including applied and theoretical economists to better understand the nature of financial risks that are faced by the elderly in later life. The agenda focused on the following questions: (1) What are promising research paths for private and public sector entities interested in enhancing design and presentation of financial options for retirees?; (2) How can questions of retirement finance be used to stimulate new research paths for microeconomic theorists, experimentalists, and survey designers?; and (3) What are promising new ideas, methods, and possible data sources that can be used to better understand choices among retirement financial options, responses to incentives to work, and the extent of financial planning? Future directions will entail development of models and measures of economic risks at old age with the potential for developing interventions to insure against these risks. (For more information, contact: Dr. Partha Bhattacharyya, BSR, Ph: 301-496-3138.)
In the fall of 2007, NIA and the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH), through a generous gift from the McKnight Brain Research Foundation, organized and sponsored the Cognitive Aging Summit. This highly successful advisory conference galvanized the field of cognitive aging research. One of the recommendations from that meeting was to hold a second Cognitive Aging Summit in order to maintain momentum in the field. Given the personal, economic, and social cost of age-related cognitive decline and dementing illnesses, and the NIH mandate to examine means of maintaining cognitive health, a second Cognitive Aging Summit meeting has been proposed for the fall of 2010 that seeks to advance and integrate knowledge bases, methods, and perspectives on aging and cognition. In order to adequately prepare and organize for the second Summit, a one day planning meeting was held on November 13, 2009, in Bethesda, MD, to design meeting structure and content and to develop speaker and participant lists. A group of 20 participants, consisting of extramural investigators and federal staff, convened the meeting. The planning meeting was very productive in moving forward with the organization for the second Cognitive Aging Summit. (For further information, contact: Dr. Molly Wagster, DN, Ph: 301-496-9350; firstname.lastname@example.org , or Dr. Jonathan King, DBSR, Ph: 301-496-3136, email@example.com .)
NIA sponsored this exploratory meeting through Interagency Agreement funds to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Committee on National Statics (CNSTAT). The CNSTAT appointed a planning committee of experts to organize and conduct a public workshop to identify research that can improve models for projecting healthcare costs for the population aged 65 and older and, more broadly, address factors that drive healthcare spending. Given the substantial growth in the Medicare population, fueled by the aging of the baby boomers and rising life expectancy at age 65, and the continued increases in Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurance spending, the availability of well-specified models and analyses that can provide useful information on the likely cost implications of healthcare policy alternatives is critical for public and private sector policy planning. Current models for healthcare cost estimation range from simple rules of thumb (projected rate of GDP increase plus a specified percentage) to dynamic microsimulation models that “age” population cohorts over time to computational general equilibrium models of the healthcare sector of the economy and long-term healthcare spending. The workshop considered the uses and limitations of alternative approaches and suggested priorities for behavioral and economic research that could support improved projection models. The product of the workshop will be a separately authored summary of the discussions; commissioned papers will be made available as part of the summary or separately on the Internet. (For more information, contact: Dr. Richard Suzman, BSR, Ph: 301-496-3131.)
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia among older adults at the age of 65 or above. Currently, there is no cure for AD; early detection of the disease is primarily based on neuropsychological assessment. In the past two decades or so, studies have begun to suggest that changes in sensory and/or motor function are associated with AD, in particular at the early or even pre-symptomatic stages, and that examining sensory and motor changes in the context of AD may provide us with fresh perspectives regarding the etiology, early detection, assessment, and treatment of AD and other age-related neurodegenerative diseases. The Division of Neuroscience plans to hold an exploratory workshop in Bethesda, MD, in February 2010 to assess the potential of changes in sensory and/or motor function as possible predictors for the development of cognitive dysfunction and dementia. Participants will include experts from the fields of sensory systems, motor systems, cognitive aging, and dementia research. Topics of interest will include: (1) sensory or motor modalities that would be suitable for development as appropriate early biomarkers for cognitive dysfunction and dementia; (2) molecular, cellular, and physiological mechanisms that underlie the associations of sensory or motor changes with cognitive impairment and dementia; (3) technologies appropriate for early detection of sensory or motor changes related to cognitive impairment and dementia; and (4) early intervention strategies aimed at preserving the sensory and/or motor function in the hope that this would delay the onset of and/or the progression to cognitive dysfunction and dementia. (For further information, contact: Dr. Wen G. Chen, DN, Ph: 301-496-9350; firstname.lastname@example.org ).
The Division of Neuroscience (DN), NIA, will sponsor this advisory meeting in March 2010, in Bethesda, MD, whose goal is to further develop, prioritize, and formulate an implementation plan for the recommendations emanating from the meeting of the AD Translational Research Advisory Panel. To this end, the meeting will convene leading therapy development experts from academia, biopharma, and disease-focused foundations to consider the following recommendations: (1) to establish a new public-private partnership consortium that will leverage and build upon existing government, industry, and disease foundation resources and coordinate the strategic planning for future development of AD therapeutics; (2) to establish an external advisory/oversight committee that would review progress of funded preclinical (U01) programs and provide guidance to NIA-funded investigators and advice to NIA program staff; (3) to improve translation of preclinical animal model efficacy to the clinic by defining guidelines and standard methods for use of animal models in AD therapy development; and (4) to provide formal education on topics germane to AD therapy development to potential applicants, funded-investigators, NIH program staff, and reviewers. (For further information, contact: Dr. Neil Buckholtz, DN, Ph: 301-496-9350; email@example.com ).
Measurement of cognition is critical for diagnosis, monitoring disease progression, and conducting clinical trials in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Until recently, most measures used in AD research have been designed to evaluate later stages of the disease. The AD field is moving toward much earlier diagnosis and thus, more sensitive measures that assess different cognitive domains are needed. The Division of Neuroscience, NIA, will sponsor an exploratory meeting in Bethesda, MD, in January 2010 to address these issues, with the purpose of : (1) exploring a range of computerized cognitive assessments and determining gaps and opportunities for further development with respect to understanding the earliest stages of AD and (2) evaluating novel methods and domains (e.g., spatial orientation, prospective memory, etc.) for assessing cognition and looking at the sensitivity/utility of methods and domains that have been used in other populations (college students, normal elderly) to determine which individuals are most likely to develop AD or other dementias. (For more information, contact: Dr. Nina Silverberg, DN, Ph: 301-594-0733, firstname.lastname@example.org ; or Dr. Jonathan King, BSR, Ph: 301-496-3136.)
NIA and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) will organize an exploratory meeting to assess the state of the science on Elder Mistreatment. It has been seven years since NIA sponsored an NAS Panel resulting in the landmark publication Elder Mistreatment: Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation in an Aging America. Since then NIA has funded nine projects resulting from Elder Mistreatment RFAs, funded several unsolicited projects on this topic, and worked with other funders (e.g., Department of Justice/National Institute on Justice). The resulting funded research addresses problems identified by the NAS panel on Elder Mistreatment. It is time to assess the scientific knowledge gained in that interval and further clarify the direction of future research on Elder Mistreatment. NIA has requested brief state-of-the-science papers intended to assess scientific progress and knowledge gaps remaining after the collective investment of these various agencies in Elder Mistreatment research, from 14 extramural investigators and 9 agency representatives (Administration on Aging, Department of Justice, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation/DHHS, American Bar Association, and the Wilson Center). (For more information, contact: Dr. Sidney M. Stahl, BSR, Ph: 301/402-4156.)
One important aspect of population aging on which NIA has not yet devoted focused attention is the older worker, and the interaction between work and the aging process. NIA cosponsored with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) a 2004 Institute of Medicine (IOM) Panel and National Research Council (NRC) volume on Health and Safety Needs of Older Workers, and as part of our 2008 NACA Review we began to think about a variety of initiatives in this area. An exploratory workshop is proposed to focus our program development efforts. Recently NIA was approached by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which has an interest and growing portfolio on America’s aging work force and issues facing employers of older workers; they are interested in collaborating on a workshop and may be interested in collaborating on a future initiative. (For more information, contact: Ms. Georgeanne Patmios, BSR, Ph: 301-496-3136.)
Epigenetics/epigenomics is an emerging field of science that involves the study of changes in the regulation of gene activity and expression that are not dependent on gene sequence. One of the major take home messages from a recent NIA workshop entitled “Epigenetics of Aging and Age-related Diseases” was that an integrated genetic-epigenetic approach holds great promise for understanding the etiology of complex diseases of aging. With this in mind and in order to further leverage the Roadmap investment in epigenomics and maximize NIA's investment in the genetics of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the Division of Neuroscience, NIA, will convene an exploratory workshop in Bethesda, MD, that will bring together ADGC (AD Genetics Consortium) investigators funded through the Roadmap Epigenomics RFA, other leading epigenomics experts working on related diseases and conditions, and NIA’s leading geneticists involved in the major AD genetics initiatives such as LOAD (Late Onset AD Family study). The purpose of this workshop is to explore synergies between these two approaches and to facilitate interactions between leading experts in AD genetics and leading epigenomics experts, and to review the current state of AD genetics and the emerging epigenetic approach to AD. (For further information, contact: Dr. Suzana Petanceska, DN, Ph: 301-496-9350; email@example.com .)
This exploratory, NIA-supported, Second Annual Behavioral Economics Conference will be held at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Approximately 90 behavioral economists have been invited and are expected to attend, making this the largest meeting of its kind in an area of high program relevance to the Behavioral and Social Research Division. It is anticipated that the conference organizers will be submitting a multi-year R13 conference grant to support the meeting in future years. (For more information contact: Dr. Jonathan King, BSR, Ph: 301-402-4156.)
In conjunction with the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Association for Psychological Science in Boston, MA, the Behavioral and Social Research Division proposes to sponsor an exploratory meeting focusing on opportunities for psychology-economics collaborations. The meeting would highlight emerging findings around a wide range of psychological variables that increasingly come to figure in discussions about "economic behavior" and “behavior change” including: self-control, impulsivity, risk taking, altruism, cooperation, competition, contagion, emotion regulation. (For more information contact: Dr. Lis Nielsen, BSR, Ph: 301-402-4156.)
An exploratory Workshop on Technology to Monitor Physiologic Functional Problems in Older Adults will be held in the summer of 2010. The meeting, co-sponsored by the NIA Divisions of Behavioral and Social Research, Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology, and Neuroscience, and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, will explore ways in which new and improved sensor technologies can be used to monitor ambulatory patients inside and outside of their homes and help them maintain independence longer. (For further information, contact: Ms. Winifred K. Rossi, DGCG, Ph: 301-496-3836, firstname.lastname@example.org .)