Saturday, 2 April 2011

Geriatrics: ICMR takes up research on the biology and genetics of ageing

2011
Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, April 1: With life expectancy at birth for Indians steadily going up to touch the 75 years mark in the next 10 years, the Indian Council of Medical Research, for the first time ever begins to gather scientific evidence on the biology of ageing and the burden of the disease in the elderly.
The ICMR will also look into environmental, health, and economic implications as one grows old and the biological process of ageing sets in. Though there has been some research on ageing and geriatrics in the country, it is mostly confined to individual scientists and research institutions.
For the first time, the ICMR will take up a full-fledged study to unravel the mystery of ageing, the process associated with it in the brain and how to make old age free of disease burdens. The research will also throw light on the factors that trigger death in individuals.
The ICMR has thrown open the project to all scientists, the one coming out with the best proposal for research getting Rs 50 lakh fund. According to ICMR scientist Dr Geeta R Menon, "there's a need for focused research on the impact of social, economic and family transitions on the lives of the aged and to understand the biology and genetics of ageing".
The idea behind the project is to explore new areas of research through amalgamation of biomedical and social approaches using quantitative and qualitative methods. This will help the government address challenges and
opportunities of the ageing in India.
The scientific priorities will be on longevity, brain ageing and neuro-degeneration, effect of age-related diseases, genetic studies and mental health, besides the nutritional needs and assessment of nutritional status in the elderly population.

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