In the news / Aging

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Despite slowdowns in research suffered by universities around the world due to the pandemic, the University of Arizona has experienced solid growth in the commercialization of university inventions. In the last fiscal year alone UArizona received 274 invention disclosures and launched 17 startups.
 
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Hormone therapy is the most effective treatment for the symptoms of menopause, which can include hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, weight gain, and depression. During the study, Dr. Roberta Brinton led a team to examine the effects of individual U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved hormone therapy medications, including estrogens and progestins, and combination therapies on neurodegenerative disease and found that using natural steroids estradiol or progesterone resulted in greater risk reduction than the use of synthetic hormones.
 
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Dr. Fei Yin, of the Center for Innovation in Brain Science, the institute headed by Dr. Roberta Brinton, has received a $1.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to determine the role of an Alzheimer’s risk-factor gene in regulating the brain energy production system.
 
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There is a new treatment for Alzheimer's, after 20 years, now approved by the FDA, a drug called Aducanumab. This drug targets beta-amyloid plaques in the brain and removes some of those plaques.
 
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The mentoring relationship between two University of Arizona faculty members is advancing research for patients with brain damage at any stage in life. One of those research leaders, Dr. Roberta Brinton, founding director of the UArizona Center for Innovation in Brain Science and BIO5 member, has discovered that regenerative therapeutics may help pediatric and aging populations. This research out of UArizona Health Sciences may help both premature babies and patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
 
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Dr. Roberta Brinton, the director of the Center for Innovation in Brain Science at the University of Arizona and BIO5 member discovered the disparities in how women are more likely to develop brain diseases and autoimmune conditions such as Alzheimer's and Multiple Sclerosis.
 
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Dr. Joanna Masel professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona and BIO5 member uses mathematical models to better understand evolutionary consequences in biochemistry, genetics, cellular biology, physiology, and ecology.

 
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By 2034, U.S. Census data show that the number of Americans age 65 and older will for the first time outnumber those under 18. By 2050, there will be an estimated 2.1 billion people in the world age 65 and older.
 
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Emily Merritt, who is pursuing a doctorate in immunobiology, was one of the first students to participate in the Infection and Inflammation as Drivers of Aging, a program funded by a National Institutes of Health T32 training grant, which supports four graduate or post-doctoral students annually. She and four other students presented their research virtually at the inaugural Infection and Inflammation as Drivers of Aging symposium in January. The research topics ranged from chronic inflammatory response to ischemic stroke and tracking antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in aging individuals. Merritt presented on Toxoplasma gondii, a single-celled parasite she studies under the guidance of Dr. Anita Koshy, professor of neurology and BIO5 member.
 
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Recognizing progress BIO5 researchers are making against this devastating neurodegenerative condition during Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month.
 
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We’re highlighting our researchers’ efforts against this major cause of death and disability in the United States during National Traumatic Brain Injury Month.
 
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During National Endometriosis Awareness Month, we’re highlighting our researchers’ efforts to tackle this common women’s health problem.
 
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In the College of Medicine – Tucson’s Department of Immunobiology, Department Head and Professor Dr. Janko Nikolich-Žugich, and Associate Professor Dr. Deepta Bhattacharya, PhD, both members of the BIO5 Institute, were well-prepared to study SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, and gave us head start in the development of one of the most accurate COVID-19 antibody tests in the country. When the inflammation response goes awry, especially as people age, many chronic diseases associated with aging are then made worse by chronic inflammation. Unique research focus on immunity, inflammation and aging is a UArizona Health Sciences strategic initiative being led by Dr. Nikolich-Žugich and an advisory team consisting of researchers including BIO5 faculty, Drs. Felicia Goodrum and Michael Johnson.
 
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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.