Dr. Karen Fingerman, U-Texas CAPS Co-Director, has shown that people who are more socially integrated are also more active physically. “Being sedentary kills you,” she said. “You have to get up and move to be with the people you run into when exercising.” Consequential strangers also help your brain, she said, because “conversations are more stimulating than with people you know well.”

Marie A. Bernard, Deputy Director, NIA writes about the new crop of cleared research concepts for potential future funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) approved at the National Advisory Council on Aging (NACA) meeting.

NACA’s cleared concepts provide information along the lines of the centuries-old Farmer’s Almanac for planning purposes but with much greater accuracy. Smart researchers take note and start thinking about how they can plant the best ideas that could take root and flourish as a successful application. Read the full blog post.

“A study co-authored by Tyson Brown of Duke has found COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting people of color in the United States.  

Researchers found that the difference between how COVID-19 affects older, white communities versus their Black and Latinx counterparts is stark.  

The study, “The Color of COVID-19: Structural Racism and the Pandemic’s Disproportionate Impact on Older Black and Latinx Adults,”  is published in the Journals of Gerontology.  Brown co-authored the study with  Patricia Homan of Flordia State University, Marc Garcia  and Catherine Garcia of the University of Nebraska.  

While drawing data from the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, academic literature and  news  sources, the study found that the COVID-19 death rate amongst Black adults age 65 and older is about three times the death rate compared to whites  in the same age group. Latinx persons 65 years or older are two times more likely than their white cohorts to die from the novel coronavirus. ”


CDHA is looking to fill multiple post-doctoral positions starting as early as September 2020. For full descriptions, see the links below, and direct any questions to Jason Fletcher (jason.fletcher@wisc.edu) and/or Sherry Huhn (shuhn@wisc.edu).

Promoting Diversity in Health-Related Research Post-Doctoral Fellow

Post-Doctoral Research Associate – Multiple Positions

CDHA Initiative in Social Genomics Post-Doctoral Fellow

Phase 2.5 Open until Thursday, Sept. 3

Contribute to the PhenX COVID-19 Crowdsourcing Effort by participating in a short, anonymous survey. This activity should take you 5 to 10 minutes to complete. Your response will help PhenX create collections of recommended measurement protocols for COVID-19 research. 

Click here to begin!

With thanks to all who participated topic grouping in Phase 2, here is a preview of the results! 

Top Group Categories For Researchers:
1. Race, Ethnicity and Demographics
2. Socioeconomic Impacts
3. Personal Risk Factors
4. Mental Health
5. COVID-19 Information and Sources
6. Treatment, Outcomes and Medical history

Top Group Categories for Non-researchers:
1.    Treatment, Outcomes and Diagnosis
2.    Race, Demographics and Socioeconomic Impacts
3.    Mental and Physical Health
4.    Personal Choice and Information

Collaborators in the PhenX COVID-19 project include the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the National Library of Medicine (NLM), and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). Disaster Research Response (DR2) serves as a repository for disaster-related data collection tools, including COVID-19 surveys. The PhenX Toolkit is a catalog of recommended measurement protocols suitable for use in a variety of research study designs involving human participants. 
PhenX is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genomic Resource Grant (U41HG007050) from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) with current or prior funding support from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), and the Tobacco Regulatory Science Program (TRSP).

The Population Reference Bureau: The United States doesn’t have the world’s oldest population, but relatively high levels of age-related disease could affect the proportion of Americans who become critically ill because of COVID-19.

Some health experts believe that such impacts might even leave certain people more susceptible to infection by the coronavirus.

“No other country in the world is experiencing population aging on the same scale as China. The United Nations projects that there will be 366 million older Chinese adults by 2050, which is substantially larger than the current total U.S. population (331 million). By that time, China’s share of adults ages 65 and older will have risen from just 12% to a projected 26%. This rapid population aging-driven by recent declines in fertility and mortality-raises concerns about the health and well-being of older Chinese adults and will create considerable challenges for the health care system.”

Read all about it in Issue #39 of Today’s Research on Aging from the Population Reference Bureau.

SEATTLE – Seeing a physician or other health specialist for low back and neck pain? You’re not alone, according to a new scientific study.

Americans in 2016 spent an estimated $380 billion on low back and neck pain, as well as on joint and limb pain, and other musculoskeletal disorders.

In total, $3.1 trillion – or $9,655 per person, about 17.9% of the US GDP – was spent on health care by a combination of individuals and public and private insurance. In 1996, that percentage was 13.3% of GDP, with a total amount of $1.4 trillion, or $5,259 per person.

“The vast costs associated with health care represent one of the most important and contentious issues facing Americans today,” said Dr. Joseph Dieleman of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine and lead author of the study. “Our study provides comprehensive estimates over a 20-year period that highlight how health care and prescription drugs are paid for, what they are spent on, and how such payments have changed over time.”

Among 154 conditions included in today’s study, low back and neck pain generated the highest expenditures at $134.5 billion. When combined with all other musculoskeletal disorders, such as joint and limb pain, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis, the total exceeds $380 billion, or 14.1% of the $2.7 trillion included in this study for 2016.

Other health conditions with substantial spending in 2016 were diabetes ($111.2 billion), ischemic heart disease ($89.3 billion), and falls ($87.4 billion).

The National Institute on Aging-funded Stress Measurement Network, in collaboration with Gateway to Global Aging Data has recently completed the harmonization of psychosocial stress variables across nine longitudinal studies on aging from around the world.

To foster the utilization of this rich resource, the Stress Measurement Network will support five exemplar projects that examine cross-national relationships between stress and aging with mentorship from senior faculty, priority access to the harmonized data and the lead data programmer, statistical consulting, and an honorarium of $2,500.

Applicants must be early career researchers. Graduate students and post-docs funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or other fellowships are not eligible to be the primary PI though may apply in collaboration with a mentor. Preference will be given to applicants with prior experience analyzing cross-national datasets. Two-page proposals (excluding references) will be accepted until February 21, 2020.