PHOTO: SARAH KIEWEL
SENIOR CITIZENS PARTICIPATING AT THE HEALTH GAMES RESEARCH
Innovative ideas aiming to improve
or the past several decades, Dr. Michael Marsiske has
been studying cognitive changes associated with ag-
ing and interventions to improve them. Marsiske is an
Associate Professor in Clinical and Health
Psychology at University of Florida's Col-
lege of Public Health and Health Profes-
sions (PHHP), and recruitment core leader
in the UF Pepper Center.
"A key interest has been in the ev-
eryday functional consequences of late
life mental changes," reports Marsiske. M. MARSISKE,PHD
Marsiske and College of Nursing faculty
member Ann Horgas, along with colleagues at six other
institutions nationally, just received renewed funding for
the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vi-
tal Elders (ACTIVE) study.
Funded by the National Institute on Aging and the
National Institute of Nursing Research, ACTIVE will explore
the ten-year maintenance of cognitive training in a racial-
ly and ethnically diverse cohort that initially included
2,802 adults aged 65 and older. "In the initial study period,
There is an adage claiming that the number
of"senior moments"we experience increas-
es as we age. In reality, these experiences
are part of an aging process
that begins as early as in our
thirties and may be the re-
sult of memory loss, but
they may also be caused by
our diminished ability to or-
ganize information in an ef-
and educators at the UF In- MARCOPAHOR,MD
stitute on Aging and the VA
Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Cen-
ter (GRECC) are pursuing both behavioral and
pharmacological interventions which focus on
maintaining our memory as we age, while im-
proving the quality of life.
This issue features some of our latest re-
search, which ranges from studying nutritional
supplements (such as CoQ10), to employing be-
havioral strategies designed to improve atten-
tion, with an eye towards ameliorating mem-
ory and preserving cognition. This has been
achieved through collaboration with several col-
leges at the UF Health Science Center, including
Nursing, Public Health and Health Professions,
To pursue nutritional interventions, we
have also partnered with other entities includ-
ing the McKnight Brain Institute and the UF In-
stitute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS).
Disseminating this information to the public
through seminars and community meetings is
one of our main goals.
For a list of seminars presenting our re-
search and more, please visit our website at:
Continued on page 2
Innovative ideas aiming to
improve seniors' independence
Continued fom page 1
we found that participants who received up
to ten sessions of train-
ing in memory, reasoning,
ing and speed maintained
for at least five years after
the training period. Par-
P. BELCHIOR,OT ticipants who received ad-
ditional booster training
experienced even larger gains. In addition,
participants who received training reported
having fewer limitations in certain activities
of daily living, a finding that reached signifi-
cance for our reasoning training group," said
The newly funded follow-up study will
examine whether performance benefits of
training might persist beyond the five-year
mark. Marsiske was recently awarded a grant
in collaboration with Patricia Belchior and
William Mann (with the Department of Oc-
cupational Therapy, PHHP) from the Robert
Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Part of
RWJF's Pioneer Portfolio, the "Health Games
Research" initiative is a national program of
the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that
funds research to enhance the quality and
impact of interactive games that are used to
The UF investigators' new study
will examine the ability of an action-vid-
eo game to improve visual attention in
older adults. "Research has shown that
visual attention is important to late life
mobility, including driving," said Marsiske.
"We are therefore interested in finding ef-
fective, low-cost treatments that seniors
can use in their homes that may translate to
improved everyday independence". f1
Study on cognitive function during
calorically restricted regimen
By Steve Anton, PhD
Calorie restriction has been shown to extend lifespan and
reduce age-related diseases in numerous species, and may
also increase longevity in humans. In recent human stud-
ies, caloric restriction (25% energy deficit forlsix months) produced
physiological changes that are thought to increase lifespan, such
as lowered fasting insulin levels and lowered 24-hour body tem-
Members of our research team (Christiaan Leeuwenburgh,
PhD, Stephen Anton, PhD, and Bhaskar Malayappan, PhD), recent-
ly found that prolonged caloric restriction (20% energy deficit for
one year) decreased damage to DNA and RNA in human white
blood cells. Although these findings suggest that
caloric restriction may be beneficial to humans,
research is just beginning to explore the potential
effects caloric restriction has on human health.
A very important area of research is explor-
ing the effect caloric restriction has on cognitive
functioning, including learning and memory. Based on animal
studies, caloric restriction appears to im-
prove cognitive functioning and reduce
age-related cognitive decline; however,
some human studies indicate caloric re-
striction may adversely affect cognitive
functioning. To date, most human stud-
ies have involved self-reported dieters
who may have experienced decreased cognitive functioning due
to increased thoughts about food and body weight, rather than
the negative effect of caloric restriction itself. Additionally, the
methods these individuals used to restrict calories may also im-
pact cognitive functioning.
To further explore the potential role caloric restriction has on
cognitive functioning, Dr. Anton was involved in the first random-
ized controlled trial to test the effects of six months of caloric re-
striction on cognitive functioning in healthy men and women (age
25 to 50) who did not report dieting before entering the study.
Findings from this study indicated caloric restriction did not ad-
versely affect memory or cognitive functioning;
performance on all tests was similar to a healthy
diet control group. This suggests caloric restric-
tion does not have negative effects on cognitive
and memory functioning in humans, but future
studies with larger sample sizes are needed to
confirm these results. #
Living with chronic health
Eufortyn may be helpful for people with chronic
By Jinze Xu, PhD
DARYA VOROBYEVA, JINZE XU, PHD AND CHRISTIAAN LEEUWENBURGH, PHD
WORKING ON THE EUFORTYN STUDY IN THE BIOLOGY OF AGING LABORATORIES
With the progression of age, the susceptibility to
free radicals increases, and the decline of skeletal
muscle fibers and strength becomes inevitable;
this often enables stereotyping older persons as fragile.
According to recent research findings, it appears
that many age-associated changes may be caused by the
failure of the mitochondria, the cellular power plants. As
a result, the cells do not receive adequate adenosine tri-
phosphate (ATP), the essential fuel for cellular energy, from
the mitochondria. Coenzyme Q10, an essential ATP gener-
ating component of the cell, has long been prescribed for
chronic fatigue syndrome patients. Most importantly, it
appears that naturally occurring CoQ10 declines with ad-
Dr. Jinze Xu, working in the laboratory of Dr. Leeu-
wenburgh, is using an animal model of aging to examine
how Eufortyn, a novel form of this supplement, affects sev-
eral crucial markers of age-related deficits, including mi-
tochondria function, physical and cognitive performance,
and nucleic acid oxidative damage.
These results could determine the precise mecha-
nisms by which Eufortyn mitigates skeletal muscle aging
and how it improves mitochondrial energy production.
Following these pre-clinical studies, future clinical studies
will investigate whether this new compound may improve
strength, fatigue resistance and independence in elderly
Promotions: Emanuele Marzetti, MD, PhD, has been pro-
moted to the faculty position of Lecturer with the Division of Bi-
ology of Aging. 0 Silvia Giovannini, MD, has been appointed as
a Post Doctoral Associate with the Division of Biology of Aging.
Honors and awards: Michael Marsiske, PhD, Associ-
ate Professor, is the recipient of the Audrey Schumacher Award
forTeaching Excellence, Department of Clinical and Health Psy-
chology, University of Florida. I Andrea M. Boyd, RN, MA, MSN-
CNS, successfully defended her PhD in Nursing Science with a
Minor in Exercise Physiology April 2008. She received the"Out-
standing Student Award" for the graduating doctoral Class of
2008. M Constance R. Uphold, PhD, ARNP, FAAN, was elected
Chair of the VA Nursing Research Advisory Group (NRAG);
she will have a major leadership role in guiding the nation-
al nursing research agenda throughout the VA Healthcare
System. i Two GRECC associate health trainees have won the
2008 Outstanding GRECC Poster Awards: Best GRECC Research
Poster for Kameron Carden, Speech Pathology Trainee; and Best
Clinical/Education Poster for Ryan Patel, Optometry Trainee.
* The Biology of Aging trainees Darya Vorobyeva and Alex
Nguyen were approved as recipients of the USB scholarship
Grants: Christy Carter, PhD, was awarded a NIH/NIA Ad-
ministrative Supplement to ACE Inhibition and Physical Per-
formance in Aged Rats the goal of the project is to expand
our examination of the mechanisms by which Enalapril
treatment may improve skeletal muscle quality and func-
tion. 0 Michael Marsiske, PhD, was awarded the NIH/NIA
ACTIVE Phase III: UF/WSU Field Site the major goals are to
investigate the long-term effects of training in basic intel-
lectual aptitudes on older adults'abilities to perform tasks
of daily living. Dr. Marsiske was also awarded the NIH/NIA
- Physical, Cognitive and Mental Health in Social Context
grant this training grant is designed to instruct new gen-
erations of multi-disciplinary researchers in aging. m Nihal
Tumer, PhD, Philip Scarpace, PhD, and Christy Carter, PhD,
were awarded a VA Rehab R&D grant entitled "Obesity
and Age Impaired Physical Performance; Gene Therapy
Interventions". i Constance Uphold, PhD, ARNP, FAAN, Ron
Shorr, MD, MS, and Rebecca Beyth, MD, MSc, were awarded a
Veterans Affairs Health Services R&D QUERI Service Directed
grant entitled "Web-Based Informational Materials for Care-
givers of Veterans Post Stroke".
Ganevil, IFL! 32610[
w wwagn .uflledu
SA Institute on
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Institute on Aging
Marco Pahor, M.D.
Elena Andresen, Ph.D.
Henry V. Baker, Ph.D.
Kenneth I. Berns, M.D., Ph.D.
Rebecca J. Beyth, M.D., M.Sc
Christy S. Carter, Ph.D.
Robert J. Cousins, Ph.D
Lauren E. Crump, MPH
Michael J. Daniels, Sc.D.
Paul Hoffman, M.D.
Ann L. Horgas, R.N., Ph.D.
Steven A. Kautz, Ph.D.
Christiaan Leeuwenburgh, Ph.D.
Michael Marsiske, Ph.D.
John Meuleman, M.D.
Troy Munn, MPA
Michael G. Perri, Ph.D.
Scott K. Powers, Ph.D.
Beverly Roberts, Ph.D.
Philip J. Scarpace, Ph.D.
Ronald I. Shorr, M.D., M.S.
Elizabeth A. Shenkman, Ph.D.
Marco Pahor, IOA Director
Christy Carter, UF IOA,VA GRECC
Louise Perras, UF IOA
Peggy Smith, UF IOA
Constance Uphold, UF IOA,VA GRECC
Camelia Pascu, UF IOA
research is the key to unlocking new discoveries that help us
age more healthily and maintain a higher level of physical
and cognitive independence. At the UF Institute on Aging, our
scientists are intensely committed to better understanding the
mechanisms of aging, to identify how we can mitigate its harmful
effects and help individuals live life with good health and high
Through the support of alumni and friends, the Institute on
Aging can sustain current research and take it into new phases,
create new research endeavors ranging from identifying new
discoveries at the cellular level to developing preventive and
rehabilitation methods in clinical studies, and generate resources
for the committed scientists needed to conduct the research
now and in the future.
To learn more about how you can invest in a healthier and
more independent tomorrow for us all, please contact Troy
Munn, director of development, at (352) 224-8537 or tmunn@