Home » Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (OAIC)

Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (OAIC)

To understand and optimize reserve and resilience

Pepper OAIC Meeting-2019-4 pix-4×3 format
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The overall goal of the Duke Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (Duke OAIC) is to support research and training that improves the independence of older Americans. Our primary focus is understanding and optimizing reserve and resilience. Our approach is founded on the insight that independence in older adults is related to an individual’s ability to withstand or recover from functional decline following acute or chronic health stressors. Our overall strategy for the OAIC is to serve as a sustained resource to our investigators through a broad range of training and research studies; the goal will be to address knowledge gaps in our focus with an emphasis on translational and interdisciplinary research. We recruit and develop early stage investigators in aging research related to our focus and utilize the substantial strengths of the Duke academic and health system environment to advance our focus.

Our goals are accomplished through the synergistic activities of the Leadership and Administration Core (LAC), Research Education Component (REC), Pilot/Exploratory Studies Core (PESC), and 3 Resource Cores: Molecular Measures Core (MMC), Physical Measures Core (PMC), and Analysis Core (AC).

AIMS of the Duke Pepper Center
  1. To better understand and optimize reserve and resilience in older adults through an integrated research program.
  2. To develop and evaluate new methods that advance the study of reserve and resilience.
  3. To identify and develop the next generation of researchers who will become leaders in aging and geriatrics research related to the Duke OAIC focus.
  4. To support pilot studies through the PESC that acquire information needed to select or design successful, more definitive research studies related to the Duke OAIC focus.
Pilot Study Of Exercise Training For Older Vets with PTSD Shows Clinical Improvement Following Supervised Group-Based Exercise In New Findings By Duke Pepper Research Team
Katherine S. Hall, PhD, and her colleagues published the results of the Warrior Wellness Study, a randomized controlled exercise trial for older veterans with PTSD. Clinically significant improvements in PTSD and related conditions were observed following exercise. This group-based exercise program could be expanded and implemented into clinical practice to improve post-traumatic resilience and achieve physical and psychological outcomes in older veterans.

[PubMed]

[Institutional access]

Pepper OAIC Cross-Center Collaborative Funding Opportunity Announced for Pilot and Exploratory Studies - Letter of Intent deadline August 14th, 2019
The OAIC National Coordinating Center has released a 2019 Research Program Funding Announcement to encourage cross-center collaborations within the OAIC network. Funds will be awarded for Pilot and Exploratory studies that by their nature require meaningful contributions – of expertise, capabilities, and specimens participants – from 2 or more OAICs.

[RFA Summary and Submission Process]

New York Times Features Duke Pepper Center Researchers and 10-Year Legacy Effects of Exercise on Cardio-Metabolic Health Parameters
Duke Pepper researchers William Kraus, MD and Kim Huffman, MD, PhD, from the Molecular Measures Core, are among the authors of a study that looked at the legacy effects of exercise training interventions in participants from the STRRIDE (Studies Targeting Risk Reduction Interventions through Defined Exercise) protocol. Their research appears in the April issue of Frontiers of Physiology and was recently featured in the New York Times. Researchers found that vigorous intensity groups experienced less of a decrement in cardiorespiratory fitness than control or moderate intensity groups, and moderate intensity group members experienced the greatest 10-year reduction in fasting insulin and had greater reductions in mean arterial pressure. Their findings highlight the critical need to better understand the sustained legacy health effects of exercise training interventions.

[NY Times Article link]

[Frontiers in Physiology Article link]

[OVID link to original STRRIDE protocol]

Meaningful Change Estimates for the Late-Life Function and Disability Instrument (LLFDI) in Older Adults: An Exploratory Study
A team of university and VA GRECC researchers performed a secondary analysis of the Boston Rehabilitative Impairment Study of the Elderly (RISE) in order to estimate the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) of the Late-Life Function and Disability Instrument-Function Component (LLFDI-FC) and its subscales among community-dwelling older adults with mobility limitations. The LLFDI-FC is a patient-reported measure of function. The MCID for each LLFDI-FC scale over 1 year of follow-up was estimated by a variety of methods. These estimates can assist clinicians and researchers of functional disability in the elderly.

[Journal link]

Duke Pepper Center Researchers Investigate Quantitative Muscle Ultrasound (QMUS) as an Alternative Reliable, Inexpensive Method to Measure Muscle Health
Muscle health is recognized for its critical role in the functionality and well-being of older adults. Duke Pepper researchers Lisa Hobson-Webb, MD and Amy M. Pastva, PT, PhD, along with the director of the Michael W. Krzyzewski Human Performance Lab, Timothy Sell, PT, PhD, examined the reliability of quantitative muscle ultrasound (QMUS), standard electrical impedance myography (sEIM), and handheld electrical impedance myography (hEIM) measures of anterior thigh musculature in the December 2018 Special Issue of Geriatrics: Geriatric Assessment: Multidimensional, Multidisciplinary and Comprehensive. Multiple correlations with measures of strength and body composition were noted for each method. These point-of-care technologies may provide an alternative means of measuring health compared with more expensive traditional scan technologies.

[Journal link]

Data Integration Working Group (DIWG) Semi-monthly (2nd and 4th Thursdays) NOTE: No meetings in August
The Duke Pepper Data Integration Working Group meets the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month. The DIWG is open to members of the Duke community and is a wonderful inlet for individuals who want to learn more about the resources and opportunities of the Duke Pepper Center.
When: Thursday Sept 12th, 9:30-11:00am
Where: Conference Room 3512 Blue Zone, Duke Clinics
Topic: 1st half: Tony Sung 2nd half: Discussion of status of current projects and publications
Looking Ahead: Sept 26th: Diehl lab (Liver injury & repair): Raquel Diaz & Jeongeun Hyun
Charlotte Observer Article Features Duke Pepper Center Research in MURDOCK Study
The Charlotte Observer recently featured the Duke Pepper Center’s PALS (Physical Performance Across the Life-Span) study in an in-depth article about the broader MURDOCK Study and the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, NC. A video accompanying the article illustrates some of the physical skills tests for participants and features a 97-year old woman who did 11 sit-to-stands in 30 seconds!

[Read more]

Duke Pepper Center Researcher Stresses the Importance of Stored Biospecimen Research As Complementary Investigative Path With Long-Term Clinical Trials on Human Healthspan
Duke Pepper researcher Daniel Belsky, PhD and Amal Harrati, PhD, a Stanford researcher, discuss the relevance of biospecimen research in their article, To the freezers! Stored biospecimens from human randomized trials are an important new direction for studies of biological aging, in the January 2019 issue of The Journals of Gerontology, Biological Sciences & Medical Sciences. Clinical trials testing effects on healthspan-relevant endpoints, like age-at-onset of chronic disease or disability, require many years or even decades of follow-up. While the field awaits a new generation of human trials of geroprotective therapies, analysis of stored biospecimens from now-completed studies can help test candidate surrogate endpoints in briefer research timeframes.

[Article link]

Duke Pepper Center Researchers Find Correlation Between Physical Activity and Physical Function in Persons 50 and Older Living With HIV/AIDS
Researchers from the Duke Pepper Center and the Duke Center for AIDS Research found that higher levels of physical activity were associated with better physical function in an older population of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS. This is believed to be the first study to examine these variables in this cohort. The researchers recommend that providers promote physical activity to improve physical performance in this population.

[Read more]

Duke Pepper Center Molecular Measures Core Co-Leader Receives Honorary Doctorate
Virginia Kraus, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Orthopedic Surgery, was awarded an honorary doctorate of the Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences at the University of Tampere in Finland in August 2018. Dr Kraus also received a special hat and sword to protect the truth of science.
A rheumatologist, Dr Kraus leads large-scale research projects that are investigating the mechanisms of osteoarthritis, predicting the progression of the disease, and drug responses. Her research focuses on the early treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) before serious damage occurs.
Dr Kraus was also recognized for her mentorship to the next generation of researchers. She knows a few words in Finnish as a result of spending time in Finland as an exchange student.

[Read more]

Duke Pepper Center Researchers Investigate Relationships of SES and Physical Functioning
Duke Pepper researchers, led by Grace Noppert, PhD, examined associations between multiple early and late life SES indicators with physical function. The research team discovered higher participant education and household income were associated with increased physical function. In an age-stratified analysis, SES disparities widened with increasing age among those in the two younger strata: lower SES was associated with worse physical function. Their findings highlight the significance of considering multiple dimensions of the social environment as important correlates of physical functioning over the life course.

[Article link]

Duke Pepper Center Physical Measures Core Co-Leader Investigates Benefits of Exercise in Older Vets with PTSD
Katherine S. Hall, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Division of Geriatrics, is launching a pilot study to learn if increased physical activity among older Vets with PTSD will help ease their symptoms. Veterans with PTSD have been shown to have low rates of exercise, and many report that they don’t work out at all. The heart of the study is a supervised 12-week exercise plan called the “Warrior Wellness” program. It consists of activities focusing on strength, flexibility, balance, and endurance training. Part of what makes the program special is its extensive exercise battery that can be adapted to individual musculoskeletal ailments.

[Read more]

Duke Pepper Center Researcher Receives K23 Funding
Richard Lee, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine in Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Nutrition, and a former Duke Pepper Center Scholar, received an award (1K23-AG058797-01) from the National Institutes of Health for a project entitled “Metabolomic & Radiographic Markers of Fracture Risk among Older Adults with Diabetes.” Total funding, announced in April 2018, will be $541,667.
Duke Pepper Center hosts Spring 2018 workshop: Physical Function Assessment in Older Adults
The Duke Pepper Physical Measures Core hosted a half-day workshop in May which highlighted functional assessments that can be utilized across the continuum of functional ability and implemented across a variety of settings (e.g., resource-rich vs. resource-limited, outpatient vs. inpatient). Participants came from several departments within the School of Medicine and the Health System to gain more knowledge and practical expertise in the implementation of performance-based measures of physical function in research.