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Developing Informed Animal Models of Social Aging

The National Institute on Aging’s Division of Behavioral and Social Research commissioned the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Science of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine to convene an expert meeting on May 8-9, 2017, titled “Developing Informed Animal Models of Social Aging.” The meeting included presentations that addressed lessons from comparative studies of animals and humans, insights into human social relationships that can be gained from studies of animals, and gaps in human studies that could be investigated through animal studies. The presentations were followed by moderated discussions on the involvement of possible mechanisms in associations between social relationships, health, and behavior; ways to leverage animal studies to gain insights into the association between social connections and health; and the extent to which micro-level social processes can provide insight into relationships, health, and psychological well-being. The meeting also considered new approaches and methods that might be used to address outstanding questions in the field, and in breakout sessions, participants developed study designs using animal models to advance the understanding of the psychological and social factors that influence health and well-being in mid- and older life. A meeting summary, including agenda, (PDF, 797K) is available.