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NIH Releases Alzheimer’s Disease Bypass Budget Proposal for FY 2017

On July 27, National Institutes of Health (NIH) director Francis Collins released the first Professional Judgement Budget, also known as the Bypass Budget, for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related dementias, Bypass Budget Proposal for Fiscal Year 2017—Reaching for a Cure: Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Research at NIH. The bypass budget was mandated by Congress in the National Alzheimer’s Project Act enacted in 2011 (P.L. 111-375).

The fiscal year (FY) 2017 bypass budget outlines the “optimal approach NIH would take in an ideal world unconstrained by fiscal limitations.” It concludes that NIH could “significantly accelerate progress against Alzheimer’s disease with an additional investment of $323 million in FY 2017 above the agency’s base appropriation.” The NIH will update the plan through FY 2025, the target date set by the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease for developing effective modes of treatment and prevention. (more…)

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Posted in Issue 15 (August 11), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

NCHS Releases Health, United States, 2014

The National Centers for Health Statistics (NCHS) has released the 2014 edition of its annual report, Health, United States, which compiles data on Americans’ health, including life expectancy, fertility, disease prevalence, use of health care, and health expenditures. The 2014 edition includes a special feature on adults aged 55-64—baby boomers who are about to become eligible for Medicare, and whose aging is expected to have a significant impact on the U.S. health care system.

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Posted in Issue 9 (May 19), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

White House Seeks Input on Using Science and Technology to Improve the Lives of Older Americans

In preparation for the 2015 White House Conference on Aging, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Domestic Policy Council are seeking input on science and technology initiatives that can improve the quality of life for older Americans. Examples of such activities might include:

  • Expanded university and industry research and development to address challenges associated with aging
  • Educational programs that help designers create “person-centered” products and services for older Americans
  • Efforts to promote an “innovation ecosystem” for older Americans, which might involve accelerators, incubators, well-designed incentive prizes, and mechanisms for researchers and entrepreneurs to get rapid feedback on their proposed solutions
  • The identification of one or more Grand Challenges around aging – ambitious but achievable goals that would significantly improve the health, independence, and quality of life for older Americans.

More information about the request for input is available here. Responses can be submitted through this form by May 22.

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Posted in Issue 8 (May 5), Update, Volume 34 (2015)

NIH: Family and Interpersonal Relationships in an Aging Context

The National Institute of Aging (NIA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking applications designed to expand understanding of the role and impact of families and interpersonal relations on health and well-being in midlife and older age. (more…)

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Posted in Issue 22 (December 5), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

Aging and Mental Health Institutes Seek Comments on Draft Strategic Plans

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are seeking public comment on the development of the Institutes’ strategic plans. The plans will guide the Institutes’ research priorities.

National Institute on Aging

The NIA recently released a request for information (RFI) seeking guidance on its strategic plan, Aging Well in the 21st Century: Strategic Directions for Research on Aging. The draft plan outlines NIA’s broad strategic directions for the Institute and “provides a point of reference for setting priorities and a framework for systematically analyzing the Institute’s scientific portfolio and assessing progress.” Its goals falls into three categories: understanding the dynamics of the aging process; improving health, well-being, and independence of adults as they age; and supporting the research enterprise.

The goals include:

  1. Better understand the biology of gaining and its impact on prevention, progression, and prognosis of disease and disability.
  2. Better understand the effects of personal and societal factors on aging, including the mechanisms through which these factors exert their effects.
  3. Develop effective interventions to maintain health and function and prevent or reduce the burden of age-related diseases, disorders, and disabilities.
  4. Improve our understanding of the aging brain, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. Develop interventions to address Alzheimer’s and other age-related neurological conditions.
  5. Improve our understanding of the consequences of an aging society to inform intervention development and policy decisions.
  6. Understand health differences and develop strategies to improve the health status of older adults in diverse populations
  7. Support the infrastructure and resources needed to promote high quality research.
  8. Disseminate information to the public, medical and scientific communities, and policy makers about research and interventions.

Specifically, NIA would like feedback regarding (1) research needs and opportunities that should be added to the plan and (2) emerging research needs and future opportunities that should be included in the plan.

Responses will be accepted until December 15, 2014 and must be submitted via email to the NIA Office of Planning, Analysis and Evaluation at niaplanning@nia.nih.gov.

National Institute of Mental Health

The National Institute of Mental Health’s revised Strategic Plan is intended to guide its priorities from 2015–2020. Accordingly, NIMH is inviting public comment and is specifically interested in receiving ideas for “scientific advancements, new technical capabilities or tools, or major challenge topics that promise substantial change to mental health research if pursued.” NIMH is the largest funding agency for mental health research.

In his message, NIMH director Tom Insel notes “that some scientists reject the concept of ‘directed science,’ believing that science rarely follows a plan.” Conversely, Insel noted, a strategic plan “can identify the most important problems and identify areas of traction.”

The 2015–2020 plan revises the original four high-level Strategic Objectives which are intended to serve as a “broad roadmap” for NIMH’s priorities.

These objectives include:

  1. Define the biological basis of complex behaviors;
  2. Chart mental illness trajectories to determine when, where, and how to intervene;
  3. Strive for prevention and cures; and
  4. Strengthen the public health impact of NIMH-supported research.

According to the revised draft plan, the Institute’s funding strategy is “to support a broad spectrum of investigator-initiated research in fundamental science, with increasing use of Institute-solicited initiatives for applied research where public health impact is a short-term measure of success.”

The revised plan also includes cross-cutting themes that are relevant to each of the objectives. These themes include: transforming diagnostics, accelerating therapeutics, the growing digital enterprise, transforming the trajectory of mental illnesses through preemptive medicine, global mental health, mental health disparities, partnerships, and training future research scientists.

Responses to the draft plan are due by December 11, 2014and can be submitted to: NIMHSTRATPLAN@mail.nih.gov. Additional information is available here.

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Posted in Issue 21 (November 17), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

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