Millions of people live with glaucoma without knowing that they have the disease. There are many types of glaucoma, with most associated with elevated eye pressure that can damage the optic nerve and cause vision loss. That vision loss can usually be prevented with early detection and proper treatment/management. Unfortunately, the disease can progress silently without any noticeable symptoms, and for someone who doesn’t know they have it, they may end up with vision loss before they are ever diagnosed. And once the damage is done, it’s irreversible.
David Stipp is a prominent science writer who has focused on medicine, science, and aging for decades for publications like The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Slate, Science, and more. The Alliance for Aging Research was very fortunate to have Stipp author a whitepaper--The Transformative Promise of Aging Science--to help launch our Healthspan Campaign earlier this year.
Groups like the Alliance for Aging Research and the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) have long been calling attention to the looming crisis that we face with extreme current and projected shortages in our geriatric workforce. According to recent data from AGS there are currently only 7,029 certified geriatricians in the U.S. —half of what we currently need—and those numbers are in steep decline. Just imagine what these numbers will look like when our 65 and older population grows from 40.3 million now to 72.1 million in 2030.
We are very excited at the Alliance for Aging Research to announce that Linda Fried, MD, MPH, Dean of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, is the recipient of this year’s MetLife Foundation Silver Scholar Award. Dr. Fried is a well-respected and well-known scholar and was selected in honor of her innovative work contributing pragmatic solutions to address the rising cost of health care associated with the aging of our nation, preventive strategies aimed at keeping aging populations healthier longer, and thought leadership on the positive contributions that greater longevity brings to society.
TEDMED left its home in San Diego this year to debut at the Kennedy Center in DC, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The speaker line-up was full of big names like Francis Collins, Katie Couric, and Billie Jean King and the big ideas ranged from designing new DNA, to using mathematics to personalize cancer treatments, to the shift of the scientific method in the face of a data-dominated world. One particularly interesting talk came from our own President & CEO Daniel Perry, who spoke about whether or not “Cells Have a Mid-Life Crisis.”
Last Wednesday the Alliance for Aging Research released the 7th volume of The Silver Book series. This latest volume focuses on vision loss and was released in partnership with the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR) during their Decade of Vision: 2010-2020. This is the second vision loss volume and includes updated data on age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma—which along with cataract are the eye diseases that disproportionately impact older Americans. This new volume also highlights the exciting changes and discoveries in vision research and treatment from the past five years.
New air standards issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in December are expected to have far-reaching effects on both pollution and public health. The new standards fall under the Clean Air Act’s power to control pollutants from coal and oil-fired power plants, and slashes allowable emissions of all hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) including metals like mercury and arsenic, acid gases, and particulate matter. Power plants have 3 years to conform to the new requirements and once fully in effect, the EPA estimates that the standards will reduce mercury emissions alone by as much as 90%.
Older Americans make up 13% of our population but account for 34% of all prescription medication use and 30% of all over-the-counter (OTC) medication use. This is due in large part to the fact that 4 out of 5 older Americans has 1 or more chronic conditions—often requiring multiple medications at once.