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Research Resources

Use the NIA Research Resources database to find NIA-supported scientific resources, datasets, informatics resources, and more. Search by keyword, resource type, or NIA Division or IRP. 

Health Databases

The Japanese Study of Aging and Retirement (JSTAR)

In order to establish a sustainable social security system in Japan, whose population is aging ahead of other developed countries, it is crucial to make available micro-data on the diverse aspects of the lives of elderly people. Extensive surveys have been conducted on elderly people in many other countries, and the resulting data have been utilized not only for academic and research purposes, but also as a valuable input for real-world policymaking. Despite the rapid aging of the Japanese population, no statistical survey that could properly capture the diversity of the elderly population from various viewpoints had been carried out in Japan until recently.

Against this backdrop, RIETI and Hitotsubashi University jointly launched a comprehensive survey of elderly people in 2007 to collect panel data on their lives and health, with the University of Tokyo joining from 2009 onward. The data collected in this survey include diverse information on the economic, social, and health conditions of elderly people. In addition, the survey is designed to ensure, to the maximum extent possible, comparability with preceding surveys such as the Health and Retirement Study in the United States, the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe in continental Europe, and the English Longitudinal Study of Aging in the United Kingdom. Therefore, by analyzing JSTAR data, researchers can track the characteristics of the Japanese elderly population in terms of both their specificity and universality in the world. In this sense, JSTAR is Japan's first-ever globally comparable panel data survey of elderly people.


The Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS)

The Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS) started as a prospective panel study of health and aging in Mexico. The MHAS study will design, field, and disseminate the data to achieve research goals that include: examining the aging processes and its disease and disability burden in a large representative panel of older Mexicans; evaluating the effects of individual behaviors, early life circumstances, migration and economic history, community characteristics, and family transfer systems on multiple health outcomes; comparing the health dynamics of older Mexicans with comparably aged Mexican-born migrants in the U.S. and second-generation Mexican-Americans using similar data from the U.S. population (for example the biennial Health and Retirement Study) to assess the durability of the migrant health advantage; assess the health of all components of the population from which migrants are selectively recruited; and considering ways in which intergenerational transfer systems affect old-age health dynamics in a country where migration is commonplace and remittances may repay prior investments or ensure against uncertainty in old age.


Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging

The Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging (VETSA) is a large-scale investigation of cognitive aging from middle to later age. The intended sample was recruited from the Vietnam Era Twin Registry (VETR), a registry of middle-aged male-male twin pairs who both served in the United States military during the Vietnam conflict (1965-1975). VETSA employs a multitrait, multimethod approach to cognitive assessment to focus on the genetic and environmental contributions to cognitive processes over time, as well as the relative contributions to cognitive aging from health, social, personality, and other contextual factors.


Wisconsin Longitudinal Study

The Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS) is a long-term study of a random sample of 10,317 men and women who graduated from Wisconsin high schools in 1957. The WLS provides an opportunity to study the life course, intergenerational transfers and relationships, family functioning, physical and mental health and well-being, and morbidity and mortality from late adolescence through 2008. WLS data also cover social background, youthful aspirations, schooling, military service, labor market experiences, family characteristics and events, social participation, psychological.


Informatics

ANOVA

NIA Array Analysis tool is a free on-line software for statistical analysis of gene expression data (microarrays or RNA-seq). The tool uses ANOVA to evaluate the statistical significance (p-value and FDR) of differential gene expression on log-scale. Results are visualized using log-ratio plots and scatter-plots. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) is used to identify major patterns of variability in gene expression, and then clusters of genes correlated with each PC are delineated. Additional tools include finding genes whose expression matches a given pattern, plotting the dendrogram for individual replications, the error function (SD vs. expression level), and displaying the correlation matrix. Input data is uploaded as tab-delimited text together with annotation file for microarray platform.

To learn more about ANOVA and download the tool for use, click here.


Complex LCR Detector and Analyzer

The program LCRSimulationAnalysis was created by Alexander Maltsev at the Laboratory of Cardiovascular Science at the National Institute of Aging, National Institutes of Health. The program detects and analyses complex Local Ca Releases in numerical simulations of intracellular Ca dynamics in cardiac pacemaker cells (sinoatrial node cells) using Stern et al. model published in 2014 in Journal of General Physiology 2014 May;143(5):577-604.


MitoAnalyzer

mitoAnalyzer is a software package that provides a general approach for the analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in next-generation sequencing studies, using whole-genome sequencing data. It has two components:

  • mitoCaller -- an algorithm designed specifically to identify mtDNA variants (i.e., homoplasmies and heteroplasmies)
  • mitoCaller incorporates sequencing error rates at each base in a likelihood calculation and allows allele fractions at a variant site to differ among individuals. It relies on a genotype likelihood calculation, described below: 
  • Genotype Likelihood Calculation:Genotype Likelihood Calculation
  • mitoCalc and fastMitoCalc -- programs to estimate mtDNA copy number in a cell directly from sequencing data
  • mitoCalc and fastMitoCalc estimate mtDNA copy number based on the observed ratios of sequence coverages between mtDNA and autosomal DNA.
  • The most recent update, fastMitoCalc is a program that can estimate mtDNA copy number highly accurately but is more than 100 times faster than mitoCalc.
  • fastMitoCalc can rapidly analyze hundreds of thousands of genomes, thereby facilitating association studies of mtDNA copy number with quantitative traits or nuclear variants.

Click here for more information, including download and use instructions for MitoAnalyzer


Pancreas++

Pancreas++ is a novel algorithm that facilitates the fully-automated, non-biased, and highly reproducible investigation of islet area and alpha- and beta-cell quantity, as well as position within the islet for either single or large batches of fluorescent images. The algorithm uses active contour models to quantify images accurately and quickly, resulting in an output of an easy-to-read tabular format. Pancreas++ can distinguish between relevant pixels and noise, process multiple islets within the same image, and function without the aid of user interaction. Read more about Pancreas++


Plurigon

Plurigon is a data visualization and classification tool for the integration of high-dimensionality visualization algorithms with a user-friendly, interactive graphical interface. Plurigon processes a series of floating-point numbers into a deformable 3D object with a visible topography using spiral spacing, convex hulls, and laplacian smoothing of polygonal meshes. Plurigon contains an easy-to-use keyboard layout for axial drawing, zooming, rotating, importing, and exporting. Read more about Plurigon and download the tool.


Clinical Research Resources

Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB)

The Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) is an objective assessment tool for evaluating lower extremity functioning in older persons. It was developed by the National Institute on Aging and is available for use without permission or royalty fees. This site will allow you to download the contents of a training CD that includes comprehensive instructions on the administration of the battery, safety tips, a scoring sheet and background information on publications that support the methodology. These files may be used on your computer or written to a CD. A cover for the CD case is also available for downloading and printing.

Download the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) tool here.