November 15, 2006
Contact: Jerry Carey
Phone: (856) 566-6171
Researchers Reveal Findings on Aging during UMDNJ Conference
STRATFORD — Educators, researchers and clinicians from throughout the area gathered at the UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine campus in Stratford today to discuss “Advances and Challenges in Aging” during UMDNJ’s first annual research symposium
“Today’s symposium is an exciting representation of where we want to be as a university,” said Dr. Bruce C. Vladeck, interim president of UMDNJ. “The inherently collaborative nature of research is essential to our initiative to improve cooperation and synergy across all of our schools. Research at UMDNJ continues to grow. Across the nation, NIH funding for research is stagnant, but at UMDNJ that funding has increased by more than nine percent.”
The daylong research symposium featured some of New Jersey’s most renowned researchers in the field of aging, who presented their latest findings on topics that included the physiology of age-related disease, health disparities and the aging experience, and the potential for extraordinary longevity in humans.
“The goal of aging research is not merely to understand how to treat diseases in the elderly,” said Dr. Thomas Cavalieri, the interim dean of the UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine and the director of the New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging (NJISA). “Consistent with the goals of the NIH, aging research strives to improve the health and quality of life of older Americans. UMDNJ researchers at NJISA are committed to making discoveries through biomedical and psycho-social research that will enable the elderly to age successfully.”
Among the researchers who presented their findings at the conference included:
Dr. Robert Nagele, of the New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging (NJISA), who presented research on the “blood/brain barrier” as it relates to Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Nagele’s research indicates that autoantibodies related to the amyloid plaque deposits in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients first appear in the blood before penetrating the walls of blood vessels and entering the brain. His research could one day lead to a blood test that predicts an individual’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease, opening the door for early intervention and for new therapeutic agents that can slow or eradicate the disease.
Dr. Vicki Freedman, of the UMDNJ-School of Public Health, discussed her findings on the impact of late-life disability and effective prevention strategies. Each year, about one-third of people aged 65 or older experience falls, and almost a quarter of those individuals suffer severe injuries from those falls. Dr. Freedman’ s research suggests that prevention efforts aimed at frail adults could significantly cut the risk of falling and related injuries.
Dr. Rachel Pruchno, director of research at NJISA, reported on her research involving end-of-life treatment preference of patients with end stage renal disease. Dr. Pruchno’s research revealed that spouses were consistently more likely to indicate a preference for the patients to remain on dialysis than were the patients themselves.
A complete list of the topics presented at today’s research symposium is available online at http://som.umdnj.edu/research/symposium.
UMDNJ is the nation's largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,500 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health, on five campuses. Last year, there were more than two million patient visits to UMDNJ facilities and faculty at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a mental health and addiction services network.