New institute focuses on aging issues

3:31:58 PM CDT - Thursday, April 19, 2007

By Amy Geiszler-Jones

More than 20 researchers at WSU conduct some type of research related to aging. But with aging Baby Boomers, along with the fact that the 85-and-older set are America’s fastest growing population group, more research in the field of aging is needed.

The aging population is one of the reasons WSU has formed the Regional Institute on Aging, which will help coordinate and foster partnerships between community groups, government agencies and WSU researchers focused on doing research in the field of aging

Some of the ongoing research deals with reducing cumulative exposure and injuries in the aging aircraft work force; another project involves looking at reading materials and reading strategies of older adults; yet another is studying the health screening of older adults in rural Kansas.

“All of this work is already going on,” noted Teresa Radebaugh, who was introduced as the institute’s director earlier this month at a news conference that included poster presentations from the current researchers. “What the institute will do is help investigators expand and enhance their research into new areas of research and with new partnerships.”

Radebaugh had worked for 11 years with the National Institutes of Health, nine years with the National Institute for Aging and two years with the National Institute for Nursing Research.

In addition to hiring someone with a career in aging and research issues, WSU has secured Larksfield Place, a retirement community, as a co-sponsor in the institute. The institute will be part of WSU’s Division of Academic Affairs and Research and its Office of Research Administration.

Understanding age- and aging-related issues is important, considering that more than 35 million Americans are age 65 and older, according to the U.S. Bureau of Census. In Radebaugh’s comments at the announcement, she noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider aging to be a public health issue.

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