The Center on Aging and Health pursues creative approaches to solve the important health and health care problems for an aging population. Research in our center involves population-based and clinical studies of the causes, correlates, and consequences of aging-related conditions, including frailty, disability, and social isolation. We house four distinct research working groups: the Frailty and Multisystem Dysregulation Working Group; the Family and Social Resources Working Group; the Cognitive and Sensory Functions Working Group; and the Biostatistics, Design and Analysis Working Group. We provide key infrastructure, such as the statistical data core, that supports clinical- and population-based research and education with expertise in research with older adults.
Research in the Cynthia Boyd Lab concentrates on the clinical care of comorbid chronically ill and frail older adults, both chronically and during acute illnesses. Current projects focus on the treatment burden among older adults with multimorbidity, the importance of competing risks in decision-making for the elderly, the effects of guided care on the quality of care and the improvement of clinical practice guidelines for the elderly.
The Older Americans Independence Center (OAIC) studies frailty, an age-related condition in which older adults lose the capacity to cope with stressors and become vulnerable to functional decline, loss of independence and mortality. Since its original funding in 2003, the center has helped demonstrate that frailty is a syndrome caused by multiple biological mechanisms that are expressed through characteristics of decreased resiliency and reserve in older adults. The mission of OAIC is to provide a hypothesis-driven, frailty-focused, highly interdisciplinary center where supported investigators receive the expertise, resources and training necessary to make fundamental discoveries related to the origins and causes of frailty and then move these discoveries towards frailty-focused interventions.
The Pilot and Exploratory Studies Core supports pilot and exploratory studies related to developing effective prevention of and therapies for frailty in older adults. Our objective is to facilitate independence in older adults. We provide funding; access to biostatistical, biological and clinical research core resources; and mentoring and oversight to completion of pilot and exploratory studies.
The Qian Li Lab's primary area of statistical expertise is the development and application of statistical methods for: (1) handling the truncation of information on underlying or unobservable outcomes (e.g., disability) as a result of screening, (2) missing data, including outcome (e.g., frailty) censoring by a competing risk (e.g., mortality) and (3) trajectory analysis of multivariate outcomes. Other areas of methodologic research interests include multivariate, latent variable models.
The primary area of statistical expertise in the Qian-Li Xue Lab is the development and application of statistical methods for: (1) handling the truncation of information on underlying or unobservable outcomes (e.g., disability) as a result of screening, (2) missing data, including outcome (e.g., frailty) censoring by a competing risk (e.g., mortality) and (3) trajectory analysis of multivariate outcomes. Other areas of methodologic research interests include multivariate, latent variable models. In Women's Health and Aging Studies, we have closely collaborated with scientific investigators on the design and analysis of longitudinal data relating biomarkers of inflammation, hormonal dysregulation and micronutrient deficiencies to the development and progression of frailty and disability, as well as characterizing the natural history of change in cognitive and physical function over time.
The Sean Leng Lab studies the biology of healthy aging. Specific projects focus on chronic inflammation in late-life decline; immunosenescence and its relationship to the basic biological and physiological changes related to aging and frailty in the human immune system; and T-cell repertoire analysis.
The Swenor Research Group focuses on examining the interrelationship between vision loss and aging. This includes determining the effects of visual impairment and eye disease on physical and cognitive functioning in older adults, and identifying interventions that could enhance the health of older adults with visual impairment and eye disease.