In the news / Aging

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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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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.
 
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A team led by The BIO5 Institute's Roberta Diaz Brinton, PhD, director of the Center for Innovation in Brain Science, received the multi-million dollar grant from the National Institute on Aging. The five-year grant will fund a national multi-site Phase 2 clinical trial to determine the effectiveness of allopregnanalone, or allo, as a treatment for individuals with early-stage Alzheimer’s who carry the genetic risk factor for the disease. This award supports the goals of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act.
 
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A new study led by scientists at the UA has uncovered a potential new way to treat patients with ALS, a debilitating neurodegenerative disease. “The fact that we uncovered a compensatory mechanism surprised me,” says UA Molecular and Cellular Biology professor and BIO5 researcher Dr. Daniela Zarnescu. “These desperate, degenerating neurons showed incredible resilience. It is an example of how amazing cells are at dealing with stress.”
 
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A team of UA researchers including Director of the Evelyn F Mcknight Brain Institute Dr. Carol Barnes, and UA Physiology professor Dr. Meredith Hay, both BIO5 faculty, have proposed a precision aging model designed to help researchers better understand and treat age-related cognitive decline on an individual level.
 
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Every 65 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's. "And once it begins, it's something that unfortunately we can't stop," said Dr. Matt Grilli, director at University of Arizona's Human Memory Lab. Now scientists are starting to get a clearer picture of the disease.
 
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To understand our ability to remember changes as we age in hopes of improving it, and preventing Alzheimer's disease and dementia, researchers including Dr. Carol Barnes, Director of the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute and BIO5 faculty member, envision a field of "precision aging.”
 
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By studying a rare form of dementia along with scientists at University of Toronto's Baycrest Health Sciences Centre, a team lead by UA Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences Assistant Professor and BIO5 Member Dr. Aneta Kielar, might have found an early detection method for some forms of dementia.
 
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Arizona researchers including the BIO5 Institute's Dr. Eric Reiman, Executive Director of Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Phoenix, contributed to a recent study of former pro football players in an effort to diagnose a degenerative brain disease in living patients.
 
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BIO5's Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton, an internationally recognized expert on Alzheimer’s disease and Inaugural Director of the Center for Innovation in Brain Science at UAHS, has received a five-year, $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health Institute on Aging. With the funding, Brinton will develop a unique training program to cultivate a diverse pool of highly trained scientists from diverse fields who can effectively address the nation’s Alzheimer’s research needs.
 
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Dr. Gene Alexander, UA Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and BIO5 member, is researching the use of neuroimaging, or brain scans, to investigate who is likely to develop Alzheimer's disease.
 
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Within the next 10 years, precision medicine - treatment based on an individual's genetics, lifestyle and environment - could help health-care providers better treat all diseases. BIO5 Faculty Dr. Kenneth Ramos, an internationally recognized expert on genetics and genomic medicine, will deliver the conference keynote address for the 17th Annual Living Healthy With Arthritis Conference.
 
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Women tend to have more youthful brains than their male counterparts — at least when it comes to metabolism. The finding is "great news for many women," says BIO5's Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton, the Director of the UA Center for Innovation in Brain Science, but she cautions that even though women's brain metabolism is higher overall, some women's brains experience a dramatic metabolic decline around menopause, leaving them vulnerable to Alzheimer's.
 
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Imaging and genomic technologies have dramatically increased the amount of information generated and used to make clinical decisions for diseases like Alzheimer's. “There is an untapped opportunity to leverage existing data from longitudinal cohorts, from the postmortem human brain, and from clinical trials to help the field advance our shared goals more effectively than we otherwise could,” said BIO5 member Dr. Eric Reiman, Executive Director of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute.