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Keep up-to-date with the latest news from the Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife.

Research Study Sheds New Light on Relationship Between Genes and Bone Fracture Risk

Boston—A paper titled “Assessment of the genetic and clinical determinants of fracture risk: genome wide association and mendelian randomization study” appeared today in the British Medical Journal. The paper reports findings from a large international collaboration that identified 15 variations in the genome that are related to the risk of suffering bone fractures, which are a major healthcare problem affecting more than 9 million persons worldwide every year.

Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) establishes new center for clinical trials and interventional studies.

BOSTON — Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research has announced the establishment of the Interventional Studies in Aging Center (ISAC), the mission of which will be to develop and support clinical trials and intervention studies preserving and improving the health and quality of life of older individuals.

Proxies who watch advanced care planning video are more likely to withhold feeding tubes in end stage dementia

BOSTON — Researchers from Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have discovered that nursing home residents with advanced dementia are more likely to have advance directives that indicate they did should not get feeding tubes after their proxies viewed a 12-minute video on advance care planning. In addition, when proxies stated comfort was the goal of care, residents were more likely to have advance directives aligned with that goal.

Weight changes associated with reduced bone strength.

BOSTON — Researchers from Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research, Boston University, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and University of Calgary have found evidence that weight loss can result in worsening bone density, bone architecture and bone strength. The results were published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

Study shows proxies are less likely to use burdensome interventions when they believe patients with advanced dementia are nearing end of life.

BOSTON — Researchers from Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) have discovered that to begin with, proxies are a fairly accurate judge of the length of life left for their loved one with advanced dementia. Secondly, when proxies have judged that their loved one has less than 6 months to live they are more likely to have discussed goals of care with the health care team, and less likely to agree to burdensome interventions.

The results of this study were published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine (JAMA IM).

One third of people aged 40-59 have evidence of degenerative disc disease.

BOSTON — Researchers from Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research, and Boston Medical Center have reported that one-third of people 40-59 years have image-based evidence of moderate to severe degenerative disc disease and more than half had moderate to severe spinal osteoarthritis. Beyond that, the prevalence of disc height narrowing and joint osteoarthritis increased 2 to 4 fold in those aged 60-69 and 70-89 respectively. Furthermore, scientists observed that progression of these conditions occurred 40 – 70% more frequently in women than men.

Patients and families who experience delirium report more distress than those who do not.

BOSTON — Researchers from Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Brown University, and Yale School of Nursing have reported that patients who develop delirium (an acute decline of cognitive functioning) during or after a hospital stay report more distress than those who do not. The same goes for family members of patients who have experienced delirium – they also report more distress than family members of patients who have not experienced delirium.

Nursing home residents with advanced dementia are less likely to die after hip fracture if they choose surgery.

BOSTON — Researchers from Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research and Brown University have conducted the first study to examine outcomes in nursing home residents with advanced dementia and hip fracture. They discovered that advanced dementia residents have a lower mortality rate after 6 months, if they undergo surgical repair. Those advanced dementia patients managed with surgery also reported less pain and fewer pressure ulcers than those whose proxies chose a palliative care approach in lieu of surgery.

Hebrew SeniorLife’s Dr. Elizabeth Samelson selected as Advisor for Harvard Catalyst Grant Review and Support Program (GRASP)

BOSTON — Elizabeth Samelson, Ph.D., Associate Scientist at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research, was recently selected to join the GRASP leadership team as an Advisor. In this role, Dr. Samelson will support junior faculty in their efforts to obtain independent research funding through educational programs, project management techniques, and small group and individual grant writing guidance.

Age-related decline in mid-back and low back muscle mass and quality is not associated with kyphosis progression.

BOSTON — Researchers from Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute’s Framingham Heart Study and Boston University have found that poor back muscle quality is not associated with worsening kyphosis (forward curvature or “hunch” of the upper spine) in older adults. The study was published today in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.

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