In the news / Aging

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Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a neurodegenerative disorder that affects an estimated 5.8 million Americans, disproportionately affects women. The Women's Alzheimer's Movement (WAM), a nonprofit founded by Maria Shriver, is at the forefront in taking action to help find solutions to the disease. $500,000 in grant funding for women-based Alzheimer’s disease research to many researchers including Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton, University of Arizona Center for Innovation in Brain Science director and BIO5 member, who is using her grant to study Type 2 diabetes therapies and associated risks of Alzheimer’s in women.
 
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A UArizona Health Sciences research project called Saguaro Study, is designed to identify issues unique to University employees who are at least 50 years old and then test ways to help address or mitigate those concerns among the 5,700 employees in that age group. The team led by BIO5 member and chair of the Department Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the College of Public Health Dr. Zhao Chen, are examining the balance of keep stress in check during the pandemic, while also maintaining physical activity and retaining social connections.
 
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Drawing upon inspiration from an orphanage in Romania, Dr. Katalin Gothard aims to understand how the physical and social aspects of touch translate to emotion within the brain.
 
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Dr. Purnima Madhivanan, UArizona Zuckerman College of Public Health associate professor and BIO5 member, will lead a National Institute on Aging funded study on the effects of Senior Yoga practice on health among elderly populations in low-income communities. Her research seeks to adapt an evidence-based yoga lifestyle program for primary care settings in India, and implement it in the future with local populations in Tucson
 
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University of Arizona Health Sciences researchers are moving closer to conducting clinical trials on what would be the first therapeutic drug for vascular cognitive impairment and dementia (VCID), the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. Research by Meredith Hay, PhD, a UArizona professor of physiology, and member of the BIO5 Institute and the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute, may offer a remedy for vascular dementia. To date, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved any drugs that specifically treat vascular dementia, which involves cognitive impairment caused by injuries – often stroke related – to the vessels supplying blood to the brain.
 
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Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton, director of UArizona Center for Innovation in Brain Science and BIO5 member, is testing whether a drug called allopregnanolone is a safe and effective way to restore cognitive function in Alzheimer's patients. If the results are good, she’ll be one step closer to bringing the world’s first regenerative therapeutic for Alzheimer’s to the millions of people living with the disease.
 
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New findings by UArizona researchers and BIO5 members Drs. Wolfgang Peti and Rebecca Page provide a start to better understanding Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Peti and Dr. Page have been using NMR spectrometers to explore the interaction between two proteins that are implicated in these neurological diseases.
 
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COVID-19 has presented many challenges for universities as they assess the risks of reopening for the health of older faculty and staff. Dr. Zhao Chen, UArizona Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics chair and BIO5 member, will lead an internal study to assess risk perception, risk mitigation strategies, and overall wellness for UArizona employees aged 50+ during the reopening process.
 
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Wolfgang Peti, a University of Arizona professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has been investigating the interaction between two proteins implicated in Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease for nearly 10 years. Past technological limitations have prevented researchers from determining the precise physical relationship between the two proteins. Peti teamed up with Rebecca Page, professor and interim associate head of research and faculty affairs in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, to address the research question through a new approach .
 
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With only five available drugs approved by the U.S. FDA to treat Alzheimer's disease, the National Institute on Aging has awarded a $6.1 million grant to the UArizona Center for Innovation in Brain Science to investigate a novel approach to treat the disease. The center is led by a top neuroscientist and BIO5 member, Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton.
 
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As we get older, we tend to forget things – where we left our keys, our neighbor’s name or the word for a common household item. While forgetfulness is a normal sign of age, declining memory function can accelerate and lead to irreversible brain damage.
 
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A UArizona study involving Dr. Meredith Hay, a Department of Physiology professor and BIO5 member, aims to start a comprehensive investigation of the effects of coronavirus on the brain. The UArizona Center for Innovation in Brain Science funded study, will follow subjects over several years to study changes as they age. The center's director and BIO5 member Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton looks forward to continuing to support these critical research endeavors as researchers work to understand the novel virus.
 
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The American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) and the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research announced the 2019 Research Grants for Junior Faculty recipients - one of whom is a BIO5 member. Dr.

 
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Dr. Janko Nikolich-Zugich, an internationally noted immunologist, co-director of the UArizona Center on Aging at the College of Medicine - Tucson, and BIO5 member received a $4.5 million grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Using the funding from this grant, his lab will study how common infectious, psychological and physical stressors affect our immunity, lifespan and the aging processes.
 
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UArizona researchers led by Dr. Nicholas Delamere, professor and head of the Department of Physiology at UA COM-T, are studying potential reasons behind pressure build up in the eye, that may help us understand and develop future treatments for glaucoma and other diseases.
 
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Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton, the director of the UA Center for Innovation in Brain Science whose work, alongside many other researchers, shows an association between menopause and an earlier emergence of Alzheimer’s in the female brain compared with the male brain.
 
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Our genes can have the effect of increasing our risk for certain diseases, or at it turns out, sometimes they can protect us from them. This has turned out to be the case with a Colombian woman in her 70s who should have developed Alzheimer’s disease by her mid-40s, but has an identified a mutation in her genes that is keeping her from not experiencing dementia.
 
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In an interview with MD Magazine, Dr. Monica Kraft, Department of Medicine chair at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, detailed her session on interpreting gender sex differences in lung disease, and what clinicians need to know when monitoring and caring for women at risk of asthma.