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National Institute on Aging (NIA)

Division of Behavioral and Social Science (DBSR)
A. Development and translation of behavioral economics approaches (incentives or disincentives) to motivate sustainable behavior change to improve health and well-being. a. Increasing levels of physical activity or promoting treatment adherence b. Addressing biases such as loss aversion, errors in affective forecasting, present bias, ambiguity effect, base-rate neglect, and susceptibility to framing effects in health and financial decision making c. Using information, or the mode of data presentation to systematically improve decision making (e.g., through ?nudges,? policies, or practices that constrain choices)
B. Development of robotics applications to aid elderly
a. Socially assistive robots allowing elderly to remain independent in their homes. Technology could support machine cognition, language understanding and production, human-robot interaction (cognition, perception, action control, linguistics, and developmental science), perception, and systems.
b. Use of robots to promote social interaction and engagement and reduce loneliness among the elderly;
c. Use of robots to motivate elderly to exercise.
C. Development of cognitive training applications/intervention to improve cognitive function in elderly
a. Rapidly develop novel, engaging computer-based cognitive training programs that are based on efficacious approaches and which use cognitive training to target a specific neural system/functional domain.
b. Augment existing computerized cognitive interventions to be personalized, engaging, adaptive, sufficiently challenging, and optimal for maximizing real world functional improvements.
D. Development of blood-spot technology for biological data collection:
a. Development of multiple and reliable assays for limited blood-spot specimens for large surveys.
Division of Biology of Aging
A. Effects of metabolism on the aging process, e.g., how metabolic regulation influences longevity, and the development of anti-oxidants or other interventions to reduce oxidative or other stresses and aging-related diseases.
B. Development of minimally-perturbing techniques for collecting blood from mice, rats, and other animals several times a day in sufficient quantities for measurement of hormone levels and other circulating factors in young and old non-human animals, or development of non-invasive research and test methods for use in non-human animals.
C. Development of interventions that improve the immune response to foreign molecules or reduce the response to self or suppress age-induced inflammation.
D. Development of novel strategies for treating age-related renal, pulmonary, urology, reproductive disorders, and age-related changes in hormone production and function, including devices, pharmacological targets and their validation, small molecules and other approaches to treat these disorders in the elderly; early-stage pharmacological validation of novel targets and accompanying pre-therapeutic leads for these age-related diseases are encouraged.
E. Development of novel methodology for treating osteoarthritis, including devices, processes and pharmacological agents with the potential to: (1) slow the rate of joint deterioration, (2) promote the remodeling of damaged joints, (3) reduce the likelihood of progression to osteoarthritis, and/or (4) improve outcomes for patients with active osteoarthritis.
F. Development of interventions that reduce the level of damage to nucleic acids, proteins and lipids and the macromolecular complexes formed from these molecules, and improve the damage surveillance and repair potential of cells.
G. Development of tools and resources in genetics and genomics to study molecular mechanisms of normal aging or aging-related diseases.
Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology
A. Development of clinical decision-support tools able to broadly integrate into the electronic health record to help physicians/providers caring for patients with multiple (3 or more) chronic conditions prioritize, coordinate, and deliver the interventions that are most beneficial and relevant within the context of these patients? lives and the health-care-delivery system.
B. Projects focusing on translation/development of new therapeutic interventions to promote wound healing, improve vaccine response/immune function, and for physical functional problems in old age
C. Development of assistive technologies/robotics to enable and support older persons to live independently and safely at home; socially-assistive robots; robots for caregiver and mobility assistance; robots for exercise and rehabilitation assistance.
D. Development of technologies/robotics to assist in the improvement of physical function and mobility in older persons prior to (prehabilitation) or following (rehabilitation) elective/planned surgery.
E. Development and validation of improved approaches for evaluation, monitoring or treatment of diastolic dysfunction in older adults
F. Development of improved instrumentation/ imaging and sensor technology for measuring ambulation and biomechanics of movement including balance, sway, gait, and postural control to identify stable and unstable patterns of movement during activities of daily living
G. Development of methods and technology to accurately determine the renal glomerular filtration rate (GFR) in older persons and patients with chronic kidney disease; new methods and technology should accommodate the effects of age-related changes in muscle mass, levels of serum creatinine, renal blood flow and renal concentrating ability.
H. Development and validation of non-invasive methods of examining bone quality (density, architecture, and strength of bone).
I. Development and validation of instruments and/or methods to evaluate fatiguability?the level of fatigue related to the intensity, duration, and/or frequency of activity (in contrast to measures of fatigue), particularly in adults with or at-risk of developing age-related conditions or diseases leading to physical disability.
J. Development and validation of innovative approaches to pain control that considers age-related physiologic changes such as gastrointestinal absorption, cutaneous integrity, and musculoskeletal structure and function.
K. Development and validation of new technology such as non-invasive methods to examine blood-flow velocity in arteries, individual coronary arteries, renal arteries, and cerebral arteries
Division of Neuroscience (DN)
A. Development of new and/or validation of existing sensitive, specific and standardized tests for diagnostic screening of MCI and dementia; for example, the development of novel neuropsychological, biochemical, and neuroimaging technology and/or methods or the validation of existing measures/methods/technology for the early detection of cognitive impairment and MCI and the early diagnosis of AD and other dementias, and development of new technology and tests for detection of pre-clinical AD and other dementias of aging.
B. Discovery, development, and/or evaluation of compunds, drugs, biological or natural products, including central-nervous-system delivery systems to remediate age-related cognitive decline, and to treat the cognitive impairment and/or behavioral symptoms associated with MCI, AD, and other dementias of aging as well as to slow and/or reverse the course of the disease or to prevent it entirely.
C. The development of practical applications using innovative technologies (e.g. hand-held, internet,
telemedicine GPS, robotics, social networking and communications technologies) to support and improve quality of life, well-being, and the ability of people with with age-related cognitive decline, MCI, AD or other dementias of aging to live independently and safely at home for an extended period of time; examples include systems and devices to: evaluate, monitor and improve or adapt to changes in cognition; improve health service delivery; support independent living and the conduct of everyday tasks at home; provide information to health care providers and family members with which to evaluate the need for intervention; and promote communication and interaction between individuals living in the community or in institutional settings and their health care providers, friends and family members.
D. Testing in clinical trials of drug, nutritional, behavioral, cognitive or other types of interventions to remediate age-related cognitive decline, and to treat cognitive impairment and/or behavioral symptoms associated with MCI, AD, and other dementias of aging as well as to slow and/or reverse the course of disease or to prevent the onset of disease.
E. Biosensors and prosthetic devices, technologies, and related software development to aid in the assessment, diagnosis, and remediation of age-related cognitive decline or sensory dysfunction (including pain, age-related vision loss, and age-related hearing loss), motor dysfunction (including Parkinson?s disease and other motor disorders of aging), or age-related changes in balance, postural control, and gait.
F. Development of novel markers of normal age-dependent cognitive decline or sensory and/or motor system changes at the molecular cellular, circuitry, physiological or behavioral level in humans or relevant animal models.
G. Improved technology for the analysis of structural and functional brain connectivity at the cell, neural circuitry and global network levels to define the normal trajectory of brain structure and function over the adult lifespan.
H. Development of technology, including non-invasive methods and novel probes, to monitor and manipulate the plasticity of neural circuits in the adult and aged nervous system.
I. Development of novel markers of neural stem cell function (proliferation, migration, and differentiation) as well as methods to assess the integration and function of stem cells in the nervous system.
J. Novel approaches for analysis of next-generation sequence data.

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