December 2008 Volume 2, Number 11

A publication of the University of Utah Center on Aging

News and Events

Center on Aging has Moved

The Center on Aging, along with the Utah Commission on Aging, has moved from the College of Nursing to the Wilford W. and Dorothy P. Goodwill Humanitarian Building at the College of Social Work. Many thanks to Dean Jannah Mather, who graciously provided CoA with our new home. Dean Mather has also agreed to serve as Chair of CoA's Board of Directors.

SAVE THE DATE - Spring 2009 Research Retreat

The 2009 Center on Aging Research Retreat will be held on March 23 (afternoon) and 24 (morning). John Wilmoth, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Demography, and researcher in the Center on the Economics and Demography of Aging, University of California, Berkeley, will be our keynote speaker. A poster session and reception will occur on Monday afternoon. Tuesday morning's schedule will include presentations by recipients of the Center's 2008 pilot grants and Dr. Wilmoth's keynote address. Additional information regarding the plans for the retreat will follow in subsequent newsletter editions.

Center on Aging Faculty Member Spotlight: Rob Singleton

Drs. Rob Singleton and Gordon Smith have been awarded research grants from both the National Institute for Neurological Disease and Stroke and the American Diabetes Association to study aspects of neuropathy associated with diabetes and insulin resistance. Neuropathy is a progressive injury to the longest peripheral nerves that becomes increasingly common with age.

Peripheral nerves are capable of regeneration, a process that is constantly ongoing. Neuropathy can be regarded as a condition in which length dependent damage to nerve outstrips regenerative capacity. The American Diabetes Association study will compare nerve regenerative capacity in normal control subjects, patients with metabolic syndrome, and patients with diabetes both before and during a 12 month period of intensive diet and exercise. It is expected that patients with diabetes or insulin resistance will show slower nerve regeneration even in the absence of overt neuropathy, and that diet and exercise will improve regenerative capacity.

NINDS funding continues a 5 year study to compare methods for evaluation of neuropathy in patients with diabetes. In this phase of the study patients with diabetes but without overt neuropathy will be randomized to standard care, or receive diet and exercise counseling, and participate in scheduled, mentored exercise for a period of one year. Subjects will be followed to examine if these metabolic interventions alter cutaneous innervation or other measures of nerve function, and whether the treatment reduces progression to clinically overt neuropathy.

Bristlecone Pine

About our logo: The bristlecone pine tree (Pinus longaeva) the earth's oldest inhabitant with a life span of 4,000 years is found only in Utah and five other western states. Its extraordinary longevity and ability to adapt and survive in extremely harsh environmental conditions above 10,000 feet embodies the investigative spirit and mission of the Utah Center on Aging.

If you have questions about the University of Utah Center on Aging, please visit us online at http://aging.utah.edu 801-585-9540 or aging@hsc.utah.edu

Best,

Mark A. Supiano, MD
Executive Director - Center on Aging