• August 14, 2013

    The Request for Applications (RFA-RM-13-012), “Demonstration Projects for Pragmatic Clinical Trials Focusing on Multiple Chronic Conditions,” has been published in the NIH Guide. The purpose of this RFA is to solicit applications for cooperative agreements for demonstration projects for efficient, large-scale, pragmatic clinical trials focused on management of patients with multiple chronic conditions. Trials must be conducted across two or more health care systems (HCS) and must be conducted as part of the NIH HCS Research Collaboratory supported through the NIH Common Fund (see

    Awards made through this RFA will initially support a one-year milestone-driven planning phase (UH2), with possible rapid transition to the implementation phase (UH3) for a pragmatic trial demonstration project. UH3s will be awarded after administrative review of eligible UH2s that have met the scientific milestone and feasibility requirements necessary for the UH3 implementation phase, depending on the availability of funds. The UH2/UH3 application must be submitted as a single application; applicants should particularly note the specific instructions for each phase in this RFA. The deadline for applications is December 2, 2013

    The RFA can be found at:

  • August 14, 2013

    Cartoon of four people in conversation.The NIA has funding available for junior faculty clinician-researchers in medical and surgical specialties. These grants can help early career physicians establish a track record in aging research. Please apply, and share this opportunity with others. Sue Zieman, a Medical Officer in NIA's Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology is the program officer for this funding, and she explains more about this opportunity in a new blog post.

    Read the full blog post: Funding opportunity for medical and surgical specialists to establish a track record in aging research

    The NIA blog publishes weekly with information on grants and funding policy, research priorities, scientific meetings, and topics of interest to researchers and others in the scientific community. Subscribe to get it weekly in your email inbox, or grab the RSS feed.


  • August 7, 2013

    Cartoon of four people in conversation.Have you come across a compound or treatment in your own research that you think might promote healthy aging? Now is the time to propose it be tested! An NIA program is accepting proposals for candidate interventions for testing in a genetically heterogeneous mouse model. The next deadline is September 20. Nancy Nadon, Program Officer of the Biological Resources Program and Chief of Biological Resources Branch in NIA's Division of Aging Biology explains this opportunity in a new blog post.

    Read the full blog post: Interventions Testing Program—upcoming deadline for candidate interventions

    The NIA blog publishes weekly with information on grants and funding policy, research priorities, scientific meetings, and topics of interest to researchers and others in the scientific community. Subscribe to get it weekly in your email inbox, or grab the RSS feed.

  • August 8, 2013

    Resveratrol, a compound in nuts, grapes, and wine, has been previously found to slow age-related health decline in mice on a standard diet and improve health and longevity of overweight, aged mice on a high fat diet. In a new study of non-human primates, researchers have found that resveratrol counters some of the negative effects of a high fat/high sugar diet on the pancreas, protecting these primates from developing diabetes.

    A healthy pancreas responds to an increase in blood sugar (after a meal, for instance) by activating β-cells in the part of pancreas called the islets.  These β-cells produce, store and release insulin helping to break down the sugar and restore the blood to normal levels. A long-term high fat/high sugar diet can cause diabetes, a condition in which the body cannot regulate its blood sugar.

    Rhesus monkeys were fed either a standard diet, a high fat diet/high sugar diet with a placebo, or a high fat/high sugar diet with resveratrol for 24 months. Researchers found that the islets of monkeys on a high fat/high sugar diet supplemented with resveratrol were similar to those of monkeys on a standard diet. The compound also helped to maintain the β-cell numbers and function in these monkeys, compared to those on a high fat/high sugar diet without resveratrol. Researchers suggest that their findings may have future implications for treatments for people with insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, and diabetes.

    Reference: Fiori JL, et al. Resveratrol Prevents β–cell Dedifferentiation in Non-Human Primates Given a High Fat/High Sugar Diet. Diabetes. Published online July 24, 2013; doi: 10.2337/db13-0266

  • August 5, 2013

    The protein topoisomerase is considered the “magician of the DNA world.” It stabilizes DNA’s double helix structure during replication and repair, enabling DNA to unwind and then rewind without breaking.

    Topoisomerase, was thought not to have a role in RNA—a single stranded genetic structure. In an important new study, however, researchers at the National Institute on Aging at NIH have discovered the first RNA topoisomerase, Top3β, in animal cells and determined it to be crucial for normal neurodevelopment in mice and fruit flies. Specifically, the scientists found Top3β genetically interacts with protein FMRP (fragile X mental retardation protein) to promote healthy brain function and protect against mental disorders.

    Furthermore, they report that some mutations in FMRP that cause Fragile X syndrome, the leading cause of autism and strongly associated with schizophrenia in humans, also disrupt the interaction between FMRP and Top3β.  These findings are reported in the August 4, 2013, online issue of Nature Neuroscience.  

    In the same issue of Nature Neuroscience is a paper linking Top3β deletion in a Finnish population to schizophrenia and/or intellectual disability.  This suggests a likely human application for the companion finding in animal models.  Researchers propose that these new reports might point the way to targets for future therapy for patients with these mental disorders.

    Reference: Xu D., et al. Top3β is an RNA topoisomerase that works with fragile X syndrome protein to promote synapse formation. Nature Neuroscience. Published online August 4, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nn.3479

  • August 8, 2013 - Built with you in mindMaintaining your vision as you get older is vital to health and wellbeing. Even if you enjoy good vision now, it’s important to practice good eye healthcare to make sure your vision is as good as it can be as you age.

    To learn about ways to keep your eyes healthy, visit the new Healthy Eyes topic on NIHSeniorHealth for information about:

    • maintaining your vision
    • tips for healthy eyes
    • the comprehensive dilated eye exam
    • visiting Your eye care professional

    Healthy Eyes was developed by the National Eye Institute (NEI) at NIH.

    For more about healthy vision, see the new tip sheet “Protect Your Eyes When you Exercise” (PDF, 299K) from Go4Life®, the exercise and physical activity campaign from the National Institute on Aging.

    To find more health and wellness information for older adults from the National Institutes of Health, go to NIHSeniorHealth is a senior-friendly website from the National Institute on Aging and the National Library of Medicine, both part of the National Institutes of Health.

  • July 31, 2013

    Cartoon of four people in conversation.As most applicants for NIH grants know, reviewers assess research grant applications using five criteria. Every applicant wants great scores, and we want to help you understand how you’ll be scored, and why. Robin Barr, Director of the NIA's Division of Extramural Activities, has a new blog post discussing scores. He writes, "You may have heard that the Approach criterion score is highly correlated with the final impact score assigned to a grant application. Let’s get into the details of that."

    Read the full blog post: The Approach criterion: why does it matter so much in peer review?

    The NIA blog publishes weekly with information on grants and funding policy, research priorities, scientific meetings, and topics of interest to researchers and others in the scientific community. Subscribe to get it weekly in your email inbox, or grab the RSS feed.

  • July 30, 2013

    Deposits of a hormone called amylin in the brain may indicate risk for developing dementia and type 2 diabetes, according to a study published online in the Annals of Neurology. The analysis by researchers at the NIA-funded Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the University of California, Davis, is the first to identify amylin deposits in post-mortem brain tissue from older people who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia and diabetes. The findings also indicated that amylin may play a similar role in the Alzheimer’s disease process as amyloid protein, a hallmark of the disorder.

    Amylin (also known as islet amyloid polypeptide) is a hormone expressed and secreted with insulin. It influences blood sugar levels; when too much is secreted, risk for developing diabetes increases. These new findings show that amylin deposits can also build up and form plaques in the brain, similar to amyloid plaques found in Alzheimer’s disease.

    The researchers examined post-mortem brain tissue from three groups of volunteers older than 70 years: those who had diabetes and dementia (vascular dementia or Alzheimer’s), those who had Alzheimer’s but no diabetes, and those free of these disorders. Investigators found significant amylin deposits in the brain tissue of people with both dementia and diabetes. Surprisingly, they also found amylin in people with Alzheimer’s but without diabetes—perhaps because these individuals had undiagnosed insulin resistance. The healthy controls had few amylin deposits.

    The study, led by Dr. Florin Despa, may explain why people with diabetes are at risk for dementia. Like amyloid, amylin circulates in the blood and, during the disease process, is overproduced and not cleared normally, building up in the brain. Over time, both proteins lead to the loss of brain cells and brain damage. Amylin buildup in the brain’s blood vessels may also play a role in amyloid buildup and contribute to risk for Alzheimer’s, the study found.

    Reference: Jackson K, et al. Amylin deposition in the brain: A second amyloid in Alzheimer’s disease? Annals of Neurology. Published online June 22, 2013; DOI: 10.1002/ana.23956.

  • October 16, 2014

    On May 22, 2013, the National Institute on Aging (NIA), NIH, in collaboration with the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and the Association for Psychological Science (APS), convened a meeting of eminent scientists from the fields of psychology and behavioral economics to highlight the potential for social and behavioral research to play a more influential role in the service of public policy, discuss strategies for bringing important research findings to the attention of policy makers, and identify lessons that can be learned from approaches undertaken in the United Kingdom Cabinet Office Behavioural Insights Team to leverage behavioral research findings, a great deal of which has been from research conducted in the United States. While NIA does not support policy research per se, findings from the basic behavioral and social science research that it does support are an important resource for informing policies that address the multiple causes of the U.S. health disadvantage. The meeting summary (PDF, 849K) and speaker biographies (MS Word, 2.0M) are now available on the BSR workshops page.

  • July 24, 2013

    Cartoon of four people in conversation.

    The NIA summer training program builds the pipeline for the future biomedical research workforce. Our Summer Institute, just renamed the Butler-Williams Scholars Program, provides early to mid-career scientists with a unique opportunity to interact with leaders in the field of aging and health disparities research. Scientists who attend learn how to design strong projects and put together competitive grant applications, as well as develop relationships and networks that often continue long after the week-end goodbyes. In a new blog post, NIA Deputy Director Marie Bernard describes how the training works its magic and how you or your trainees can apply to attend.

    Read the full blog post: Preparing the next generation: announcing the Butler-Williams Scholars Program

    The NIA blog publishes weekly with information on grants and funding policy, research priorities, scientific meetings, and topics of interest to researchers and others in the scientific community. Subscribe to get it weekly in your email inbox, or grab the RSS feed.