NIA Showcases Research Advances

The Friends of the National Institute of Aging (FoNIA), of which FABBS is a member, hosted an event with Dr. Richard Hodes, Director of NIA, on Friday, February 9th.  The agency’s division directors presented academic research that their offices helped support over the past two years.  These presentations delved into such topics as the detection of and treatment for dementia-related issues (especially Alzheimer’s). The event was well attended and included a Q&A at the conclusion of each presentation. 

Dr. Lis Nielsen, Director of the Division of Behavioral and Social Research (BSR), shared a series of peer reviewed articles on age-related health issues.  The research examined how socioeconomic and racial inequalities contribute to the prevalence of dementia, how technology can help detect undiagnosed cognitive impairments, the role that sedentary behavior has on older adults developing dementia, and the prevalence of aging caregivers.  She also explained how adults with Alzheimer’s are at increased financial risk.    

Dr. Eliezer Masliah, Director of the Division of Neuroscience, discussed research pertaining to understanding both the “dementias of old age” and also the “behavioral processes associated with the normally aging brain” in his presentation.  Of particular note, one research project included an important breakthrough in the sciences of the mind and brain – an NIH-developed multidimensional MRI method that can detect hard-to-see brain injuries.  This method renders previously invisible neurological conditions visible, which has positive implications for treating brain injury, disease, and the effects of aging.  

Dr. Hodes gave an overview of research-related milestones from the past year. He explained the FDA’s recent approval of “Lecanemab,” a drug that was shown to moderately slow down dementia symptoms in the early stages of cognitive decline. The FDA is also in the process of reviewing “Donanemab,” which pertains to delaying Early Alzheimer’s Disease.   Dr. Hodes then reviewed some of NIA’s priorities.  He emphasized NIA’s continued commitment to diversity, equity, and exclusion by highlighting the agency’s participation in the NIH UNITE Initiative, which seeks to end structural racism in biomedical research. 

friends of niaaa, NIA