April 5, 2016

Ladson Hinton

The National Institute on Aging (NIA)-funded UC Davis Latino Aging Research Resource Center (LARRC) and Alzheimer’s Disease Center hosted an all-day conference on March 16, 2016 on “Cognitive Aging and Diversity: Progress and Future Challenges." The conference highlighted NIA-funded research in Northern California associated with UC Davis and UC San Francisco, and brought together leading national experts from across the country. Approximately 80 participants attended.

The LARRC is a Resource Center for Minority Aging Research (RCMAR), funded by the NIA to increase the number of researchers addressing health disparities among the elderly. It is the only RCMAR focused on aging and Hispanic health. LARRC Director Ladson Hinton opened the conference by highlighting the integration and collaboration across the LARRC and Alzheimer's Center. Carl V. Hill, director of special populations at the NIA, provided the opening keynote on “NIA Updates on Cognitive Disparities Research,” discussing a broad overview of the field and a framework for disparities research.

Following the keynote, Dan Mungas, UC Davis professor of neurology, addressed “Critical Issues in Understanding Cognitive Aging Research.” Other morning speakers included:

  • Maria Glymour, UC San Francisco associate professor of epidemiology with expertise on the social determinants of aging;
  • UC San Francisco Professor of the Institute for Health and Aging, an expert in community-based choir programs to promote health for diverse older adults;
  • Rachel Whitmer, a Kaiser Permanente Northern California investigator researching metabolic, cardiovascular and inflammatory predictors of cognitive aging and dementia in diverse populations.

The afternoon session featured work by junior scientists supported by NIA-funded training programs at UC Davis and UC San Francisco, and addressed the role of a variety of factors — including education, genetics, neighborhoods, life-course experiences, positive affect and idea density — on cognitive decline in diverse populations.

In the afternoon, Mungas moderated a panel discussion of future directions to advance the field that included:

  • Jennifer Manly, associate professor of psychology, Columbia University;
  • Mary Haan, UC San Francisco professor of epidemiology and biostatistics;
  • Lisa Barnes, associate professor and neuroscientist at Rush University;
  • Anna Napoles, professor and epidemiologist at UC San Francisco.

The event was sponsored by the LARRC and Alzheimer's Disease Center, the UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center, and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis. To view the entire conference, visit the Latino Aging Research Resource Center website and the Alzheimer's Disease Center website.

The UC Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center is one of only 27 research centers designated by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Aging. The center's goal is to translate research advances into improved diagnosis and treatment for patients while focusing on the long-term goal of finding a way to prevent or cure Alzheimer's disease. Also funded by the state of California, the center allows researchers to study the effects of the disease on a uniquely diverse population. For more information, visit alzheimer.ucdavis.edu.