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Leading Aging Care Since 1995

Welcome

The Sealy Center on Aging (SCoA) focuses on improving the health and well-being of the elderly through interdisciplinary research, education, and community service by integrating the resources and activities relevant to aging at UTMB.

The Center also implements our research findings in hospitals and clinics, bringing excellence and visibility to our health care system, and improving the health of our seniors.

Center Director:
Elena Volpi, MD, PhD, Daisy Emery Allen Distinguished Chair in Geriatric Medicine and Professor in the Departments of Internal Medicine - Geriatrics, Neuroscience & Cell Biology and Nutrition & Metabolism.

News

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Adoue NIA Award

Ritchie Adoue named 2019 Freedom School Hero Award Recipient

By SCoA | August 5, 2019

photo of womanThe Sealy Center on Aging is proud to announce that RSVP Program of Galveston County Director Ritchie Adoue has been selected to be honored as a 2019 Freedom School Hero Award recipient by the NIA Cultural CDF Freedom School.

40 Under 40

Summer Chapman Honored in the Galveston Daily News 40 under 40

By Galv Daily News | July 24, 2019

red and gray grid graphic with photos of peopleThe Sealy Center on Aging is proud to announce that Clinical Research Nurse Coordinator Summer Chapman, RN, MSN has been selected to be honored as one of the Galveston Daily News 40 under 40, the best and brightest young professionals.

Opioids & Cannabis Law

Lower rates of opioid prescriptions in states that implemented medical cannabis use laws

By UTMB Newsroom | June 11, 2019

graphic molecules and chemistryGALVESTON, Texas – Using data from privately-insured adults, new findings from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston revealed that there is a lower level of opioids prescribed in states that have allowed the use of medical marijuana. The findings are currently available in Preventive Medicine.

“We found that the overall prescription opioid use increased by age, which we expected,” said senior author Mukaila Raji, UTMB professor and director, Division of Geriatrics Medicine. “But, when we looked at the results within different age groups, opioid prescription rates varied depending on the stringency of state cannabis laws. In particular, states that implemented medical cannabis laws had lower rates of opioid prescription in people aged 18 to 54.”

Read more at the UTMB Newsroom.

Meet & Greet

SCoA hosts community for informational session about aging research initiatives

By SCoA | May 30, 2019

photo of groupThe Sealy Center on Aging recently hosted over a dozen representatives from local area nursing, long term care, rehabilitation, skilled home health and personal assistance home care organizations. Dr. Volpi, director of the Center and leading aging researcher presented information about current research initiatives at UTMB.

If you are interested in learning more about opportunities to become involved in research, email aging.research@utmb.edu or call 1-800-298-7015.

Dr. Raji on Opioids

Study finds persistently high rate of long-term opioid prescribing for older cancer survivors

By Galveston Daily News | May 14, 2019

photo of manUsing Medicare data, new findings show for the first time that the rates of long term opiate therapy - a 90-day or more supply of opioids per year - for older cancer survivors remain high for at least five years in cancer survivors. The study also showed that cancer survivors diagnosed after 2004 had higher rates of opioid prescribing compared with those diagnosed earlier than 2004. Read the article, "Long-Term Opioid Therapy in Older Cancer Survivors: A Retrospective Cohort Study," by senior author Mukaila Raji, MD, MS, FACP in The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

HCAP Data Release

Announcing Public Data Release: Healthy Cognitive Aging Project

By Inside NIA Blog | May 8, 2019

photo of womanAnnouncing the first public release of data from the Healthy Cognitive Aging Project (HCAP), a nationally representative study that will help shed light on how and when cognitive decline progresses in older adults. Longitudinal studies like the MHAS Cognitive Aging Ancillary Study (Mex-Cog), part of the HCAP, are important in providing prospective data on complex diseases.

Rebeca Wong, PhD is Principal Investigator of the MHAS and Associate Director of the Sealy Center on Aging. Read more: Two More Waves Of Longitudinal Study On Aging Will Be Collected.

PhD Student Journal Cover

Camille Brightwell Publishes Cover of Translational Sports Medicine

By SCoA | May 1, 2019

TSM Cover and link to issueA microscopic image of muscle by PhD Student Camille Brightwell and colleagues was selected as cover image for the journal Translational Sports Medicine, April 2019. The cover image is based on the Original Article Moderate‐intensity aerobic exercise improves skeletal muscle quality in older adults by Camille R. Brightwell et al., DOI: 10.1002/tsm2.70. Camille is a current trainee in the Pre and Postdoctoral Training T32 - Health of Older Minorities program at SCoA. She is also a member of the CeRPAN Muscle Biology Laboratory.

Pepper Annual Meeting

Researchers from UTMB attend Annual Pepper OAIC Meeting

By SCoA | April 26, 2019

photo of groupResearchers from the Sealy Center on Aging attended the annual Claude D. Pepper Older American Independence Center meeting April 25-26, 2019. Pictured left to right: Monique Pappadis, Yong-Fang Kuo, Kimberly Hreha, Brian Downer, Rachel Deer with son, Ken Ottenbacher, Elena Volpi, Blake Rasmussen and Rafael Samper-Ternent.

  • Rachel Deer, PhD presented, "Comparison of Malnutrition Screening Tools for Use in Hospitalized Older Adults."
  • Brian Downer, PhD presented, "Temporal Relationship between Physical and Cognitive Impairment and the Association with Mortality among Older Mexican Adults."
  • Rafael Samper-Ternent, MD, PhD presented, "Health Disparities in Medical Care and Social Support of Adults with Dementia."
  • Blake Rasmussen, PhD presented, “Role of Periodic mTORC1 Activation in the Prevention of Sarcopenia,” in a Biology of Aging breakout session moderated by Elena Volpi, MD, PhD.

Dr. Volpi on Protein

This is why you need to eat more protein as you age

By Considerable | April 25, 2019

photo of womanDr. Volpi was recently quoted about protein:

“The total dose that you eat may not matter as much as the dose you eat at a given meal,” said Dr. Elena Volpi, a professor of geriatrics and cell biology at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. “If I eat too little protein during a meal, I may not adequately stimulate the uptake of amino acids into skeletal muscle. If I eat too much, say from a large T-bone steak, I won’t be able to store all of it away.”

Based on her research, Volpi suggests that older adults eat 25 to 30 grams of protein per meal. Practically, that means rethinking what people eat at breakfast, when protein intake tends to be lowest. “Oatmeal or cereal with milk isn’t enough; people should think of adding a Greek yogurt, an egg, or a turkey sausage,” Volpi said.

Dr. Wong NIH Appointment

Dr. Wong Appointed to NIH Advisory Council

By Galveston Daily News | April 9, 2019

photo of womanDr. Rebeca Wong was appointed to the National Institutes of Health’s National Advisory Child Health and Human Development Council. The council is charged with advising, consulting with, and making recommendations to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development director on matters relating to research and research support activities and functions. Wong is director of the World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization Collaborating Center on Aging and Health, professor of Socio-medical Sciences in Preventive Medicine and Community Health, and a senior fellow and Associate Director of the Sealy Center on Aging. Dr. Wong is also the Research Education Component Director at the new Texas RCMAR.

Stopping Muscle Wasting

UTMB Researchers Seek to Block the Process of Muscle Wasting with Age

By SCoA | April 8, 2019

molecule graphicBy age of 60, 30% of US adults will suffer from sarcopenia, characterized by clinically recognizable chronic muscle degeneration manifesting as extreme fatigue, weakness, and greatly reduced physical activity. To combat this decline, UTMB investigators Drs. Stanley Watowich and Christopher Fry received funding for an innovative study of drugs to block the molecular processes involved. Read more about the new study, Development of NNMT inhibitors as novel interventions to activate quiescent muscle stem cells and improve age-related muscle degeneration.

Dr. Fry is a Core Investigator at SCoA and co-leader of the Metabolism and Biology Resource Core in the UTMB Pepper Center.

MHAS Visitors

MHAS Hosts Visitors from Mexico

By SCoA | April 5, 2019

photo of groupThe Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS) hosted data management experts from the National Institute of Statistics (INEGI) and National Institute of Geriatrics (INGER) in Mexico. The group interviewed international users of the data – both basic and sophisticated users – to understand better how to meet the needs of the MHAS data users. As the MHAS data becomes more complex, including biomarkers, anthropometric measures, and samples for genetic analyses, new tools will be developed to mine the data.

Pictured left to right: (back): Eduardo Rioja, INEGI; Brian Downer, UTMB – the expert, sophisticated data user that was being interviewed; Juan Carlos Gomez Verjan, INGER; Javier Morales Escalante, INGER; Mario Becerril, INEGI; Otto Hahn Herrera, INGER (front): Rebeca Wong, UTMB; Alejandra Michaels, UTMB; Ricardo Ramirez Aldana, INGER

Texas RCMAR

Texas RCMAR Website Now Online

By SCoA | April 5, 2019

photo of three people's hands clasped over table with earth colored patternsThe Texas Texas Resource Center on Minority Aging Research (RCMAR) website is now online. RCMAR provides mentorship to scholars with research focused on the health and aging in minority elderly populations with special emphasis on the Hispanic population in the United States and Mexico. The program is led by Kyriakos Markides, PhD, Yong Fan Kuo,PhD and Rebeca Wong, PhD. A call for pilot applications is due April 15, 2019.

Recovery from Hospitalization

UTMB Researchers Help Older Patients Recover Better

By SCoA | April 1, 2019

photo of woman A new paper, A Phase I Randomized Clinical Trial of Evidence-Based, Pragmatic Interventions to Improve Functional Recovery After Hospitalization in Geriatric Patients, in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences shows potential new ways to speed up recovery from the hospital. UTMB researchers, led by Elena Volpi, MD, PhD, tried different strategies to boost the function of older adults hospitalized for an acute illness. Read press release from Sealy Center on Aging.

This article was the result of a pilot study performed in the Acute Care for Elders Unit at UTMB.

Lead author Rachel R. Deer, PhD is an Assistant Professor, Division of Rehabilitation Sciences at UTMB. She also has appointments in the Division of Nutrition and Metabolism and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Deer is an RL5 Scholar in the UTMB Claude D. Pepper Older American Independence Center. Her research focuses on interventions to accelerate functional recovery from hospitalization in older adults.

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Site managed by UTMB Sealy Center on Aging • Date Updated: 2019