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aged are concerned, than they were a generation ago. There is a serious need for programs of "action research,” through which it can be learned how to bring this knowledge to bear upon what is done in business, industry, and public institutions. Carefully planned and adequately súbsidized demonstration programs of various types would perhaps be most effective for this purpose. [The present gap between scientific knowledge resulting from research and conventional attitudes and practices in the community leaves the door open for the emergence of various partial or specious plans for alleviating the plight of the aged person.) With regard to question 9, what is suggested here is not a plan for social welfare research in the narrow sense, but for the more effective utilization of recently developed knowledge in all areas relating to aging and the aged.-William H. Harlan.
There is need for special attention in both financing and encouragement for researchers in this field, not only because it is a new and emerging area, but also because it involves special problems. Research in the field of aging is of necessity expensive because as one studies aging in any animal, there is inevitably a high loss of subjects, and as I have indicated before, many of the problems of aging and gerontology involve long-term commitments-aging, in man, begins at birth, not at 70.–Harry F. Harlow.
Special attention needs to be given to the training of new researchers in the field of aging, and also to their recruiting. Perhaps a series of 5-year grants might be made to newer workers, to provide them with enough money to employ assistance and to free half of their time for aging research. They might be working alone, or in an institution with other people already at work in gerontology.-Robert J. Havighurst.
I do not believe it necessary to give special attention to enlisting of researchers in aging research. Those who are interested will participate. Support of this type of research (med-biological) should be available to worthy investigators. It is my opinion that considerable more would be accomplished in aging research if it were possible for those engaged in it to devote a greater proportion of their time to it. This perhaps could be accomplished in part if it were permissible to include in grant funds à certain amount to be used for the purpose of enlisting on a temporary basis personnel (perhaps graduate students or instructors) to assist the researcher in his teaching responsibilities. In many instances this arrangement would permit the staff of institutions to concentrate more fully on their research interest. Such an arrangement would permit more individuals to carry on their research program in a very active fashion rather than concentrate their efforts for a few months out of each year.-Edgar P. Jayne.
Aging is such a broad problem that it would be almost impossible to train people specifically in this area. I think there is a greater demand to train specialists in research and have them apply their techniques and information to the problem of aging.–Robert B. Johnston.
The answer is "yes.” Evidence for the recency of research on aging will be found in the essay by Clark Tibbitts in the volume noted earlier, pages 5 and 6. — Max Kaplan.
Encouragement of research in this field needs special attention because studies on the biochemical aspects of aging are of considerable importance. As outlined in my additional comments, available methods and technical equipment now make it possible to conduct rather extensive research on the metabolic patterns of various tissues obtained from young and old individuals.—John E. Kirk.
It is not so much that aging is a new field of research that makes it so heavily dependent upon governmental support, but rather because aging research is interdisciplinary in nature and therefore does not enjoy the support of any single professional or scientific group. Thus the gerontologist may be primarily a physiolo, ist, physician, social scientist, or some other professionally trained person. This being the case, there are relatively few people whose basic commitment is to the field of gerontology; therefore, there are relatively few to speak for the primary interests of gerontology in scientific councils. While the number of people with commitments to the field of gerontology is increasing, diversity of background will remain the salient characteristic of this group. Because of this interdisciplinary character of gerontology, professional advancement and other identification become serious problems for workers in this field. Because of this, it is exceedingly important that workers in this area be given some kind of longrange assurance that their election of this necessarily hybrid field of specialization does not represent for them a professional cul-de-sac. For this reason, the probelm of long-term research support is much more essential in gerontology than in the more basic sciences. When this reason is associated with the essential long-term characteristics of good geronotological work, it is easy to see that lengthy research commitments are so vitally essential in this important area of research.- Robert W. Kleemeier.
In regard to your specific questions, I feel that I can comment constructively only on items 7 and 10. Gerontology is such a new field that attention should be drawn to its problems and possibilities for research in various institutions, particularly the medical schools. Students should be given lectures on aging problems and the aging processes should be emphasized in conferences and clinics. Such a program will result in more and better researchers in aging and in better appreciation of the problems of older people by those who deal with them. This could be brought about by grants to universities to support lecturers in gerontology and geriatrics, to support clinic work in problems of aging, and possibly to supply research fellowships for students who want to work on such problems. Such grant funds would have to be very clearly earmarked for work in aging per se rather than for peripheral problems.—Robert R. Kohn.
Yes. Researchers in aging do require special attention to keep them in a field which hitherto has not been particularly rich in experimental findings and in which difficulties are encountered as great as, if not greater than, those occurring in cancer research.-C. J. Leblond.
A major type of encouragement which is needed for research in the field of gerontology is stimulation of interest among social science graduate students, particularly those in economics. I believe this needs special attention since gerontology itself is not an established academic discipline and students from the traditional disciplines need to be encouraged to develop the knowledge, research skills, and interests which are necessary if the number of social scientists working in the field is to be increased. In the case of economists, gerontology is very much a fringe subject, and, in the absence of special efforts, interest in gerontology on the part of economists is not likely to increase.-J. W. McConnell and Fred Slavick.
I do not think that aging research is such a special field that it requires special attention. Aging starts before birth, and a biologist who neglects the time factor is defective. The same is true, I believe, of clinical research workers.
There is at present a great flurry of interest in problems of aging, and I think that it is somewhat analogous to the interest in child welfare in the 1920's and early 1930's. I remember the enthusiasm which I shared for large-scale research in that area. Long-term projects were started for the study of physical and psychological development of children. Some of them have dragged on until recently, and sponsoring agencies, looking at the enormous sums invested, have found it difficult to drop them. Some departments and institutions devoted themselves specifically to such projects; but, looking back over the past 30 years, I find little evidence of significant contributions from them. I am inclined to attribute the improvement in child health largely to better social and economic conditions, to better general hygiene, and, in the medical field, to the research efforts of people like biochemists and microbiologists who were not primarily concerned with child health.
I question, therefore, the need for special attention to financing and encouragement for researchers in the field of aging. Particularly, I am hesitant about financial inducements to attract people to a particular field of research.-Donald Mainland.
I believe that the research in the field of aging can no longer be considered new, and financing and encouragement of research workers is progressing in a satisfactory manner. The problem is to train a larger number of research workers in this field in medical schools and in schools of public health.—Ross A. McFarland.
Aging research is new. I am not sure how well or fast it is emerging. I doubt if it can be fostered to any important extent by money. What is needed is, first, a conviction on the part of researchers that aging is an area where there are attractive problems in their disciplines that can be worked out, and, second, that their careers will be furthered by so doing. Money does not create brains or ideas, though it can implement them where they are found.—Robert T. Monroe.
Research on aging is not "a new and emerging area,” although it is receiving much more attention now than it has had before. It needs special attention now, mostly because the problems are becoming acute. Up to now there has been some excellent biological research and much mediocrity. The various papers on aging that I have read, with notable exceptions, are notoriously poor. I therefore believe that encouragement and financing of research would greatly improve the present status, provided that competent study groups scrupulously review the competence and
the zeal of the prospective investigators, as well as the merits of the program.—William Montagna.
The problems of aging have received relatively little attention in the United States of America compared with, for example, the Scandinavian countries Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and only in very recent years has the significance of the present need for the study of the aging and certainly the infinitely greater importance of the problems of aging during the decades to come, emerged. Because of the emergent nature of this interest, the sums of money allocated for such research have been inadequate.—Matthew T. Moore.
Would prefer strengthening of all our medical, biological resources over specific support of aging studies. Scientists are needed above all. Few are recruited initially for the specific study of any particular disease. Specific interests and application follow learning of basic knowledge and awareness of the gaps in knowledge needed for specific programs such as aging.--Robert W. Mowry.
It's not new, but little experimental work has been done because of the difficulty of finding aged animals of known age.—Elizabeth Moyer.
Yes; this is quite apparent from the history of the field of gerontology and the lack of special attention by private foundations evidenced in the results of the attached study. Certainly the competition of other well subsidized and supported areas of research which in many cases are more traditional and well established requires special attention to aging.-Harold L. Orbach.
Although the activities of the various National Institutes of Health relate to a greater or less extent to gerontological problems, a National Institute of Gerontology would be worthwhile if it:
(a) Could encourage training in medico-biological aspects of aging;
(6) Would, through the above-mentioned study centers, finance the longterm programs indicated; and
(c) Would afford support to those specific critical projects of special consequence to aging research wherever such projects may arise. —Dr. Gregory Pincus.
Research problems dealing with aging of cells, tissues, organs and individuals is not a new area although increased interest and awareness of many problems as contributing to an understanding of aging, are developing. I believe that researchers in this field do not need any special encouragement and much of the financing as now established, is supporting research in aging.–Dorothy Price.
Yes; individuals who are interested in aging research should be given special encouragement and financing. In the past, biological aging research has been rather unpopular because of the long-term nature of the studies. Results in
many instances have been related directly to the length of time the project has been under way.
Unless generous support is provided to start a study and unless adequate support is continued, there can be little return for the investment of both time and money. Also, in the past, much of the aging research has been a byproduct of other studies rather than the main line of study. This situation could be corrected if adequate long-term funds were provided to support the work.- Ernest Retzlaff.
Yes; due to the tremendous rise in the interest in the nature of aging process, especially in view of the ever-increasing number of Americans over 65 years of age and the concommitment increase in medical (as well as socioeconomic) problems of the aging and aged in this country. Only through fundamental research on the nature of agining, can we hope to attack effectively such problems of the oldsters of this country.-Morris Rockstein.
Yes.-James B. Rogers.
Your question answers itself: social research on aging is a new area, and hence financing and encouragement for researchers does need special attention.—Arnold M. Rose.
Aging research has often been erroneously characterized as “deficit” research and as such seems to be shunned by a majority of young scientists. There is a possibility that encouragement in the nature of specially designated research fellowships might be helpful.-K. Warner Schaie.
While aging research is not a new field there is no doubt that expansion of projects directly concerned with aging is of recent date. The complexity and difficulties of the problems require special attention in financing and encouragement of researchers. To the latter it may be added that most of the principal investigators in extramural research have other obligations such as direction of laboratories or teaching, etc. Most of these men work without compensation for themselves on these projects and should be encouraged in any way possible. In addition, it may be essential to create properly paid, full-time research positions for accomplished investigators in medical and other sciences to work on the problem of aging.--Henry P. Schwarz.
Yes. The National Institutes of Health has been responsive to the needs and opportunities in this area through expansion of both intramural and extramural programs.
NIH has established two intramural research programs in aging, the Gerontology Branch of the National Heart Institute, and the Section on Aging in the National Institute of Mental Health. The Center for Aging Research, in the Division of General Medical Sciences, focuses attention on programming in aging in the extramural research and training grant area.
The Center for Aging Research also assists investigators in establishing large-scale interdisciplinary research approaches to problems of aging. - James A. Shannon.
Research on longevity and aging is not a recent field of studies. Since the books by Easton and Hufeland published about the end of the 18th century noteworthy biological and medical contributions based on controlled studies were made by prominent biologists and pathologists during the past half century. Notwithstanding these facts research on aging should be encouraged and supported. Special attention should be paid to gerontological studies of new kinds carried out with modern methods. Such investigations should be directed toward the establishment of new facts rather than the confirmation of known data with new methods. Unfortunately, the latter type of work is not uncommon. Martin Silberberg.
Yes, the financial encouragement is needed for researchers in this field both on the investigator level and on the technical level. I have personally had difficulty in hiring good technicians in competition with industry and with cancer research. I have also had difficulty in finding researchers on the faculty level because of budgetary limitations.-Henry S. Simms.
Is aging research such a new and emerging area that financing and encouragement for researchers in this field need special attention?
It is true that research in the aging field is a new and emerging area, and encouragement for the development of competent professionals in this field is needed. However, it is my personal belief that such research people can best be developed by working with experienced, enthusiastic, and dedicated senior research people. Where such programs are going on, encouragement should be given also to enlisting the interest of graduate students, medical students, and residents in training in the field. This will increase the cost of certain projects, since a considerable amount of supervision is needed for such students, but they can learn in no better way than by doing.–Alexander Simon.
If this is the case, why isn't there more interest in research on aging? There are actually a number of reasons. Our knowledge of aging is not quite to a point where the prestige biochemists and biologists, who establish trends in research, have ever considered this a hot field. On the other hand, aging research has always attracted more than its share of crackpots and cranks, and for at least 4,000 years men have laughed at those who have sought a fountain of youth. Because of lack of interest, lack of prestige, and sometimes lack of talent, we have institutes of cancer, heart disease, arthtitis and metabolic disease, mental illness, and blindness, but no aging institute. In the past, other people got there first and these people will naturally defend the status quo.-F. Marott Sinex.
I believe so.-Durwood'J. Smith.
Is aging research such a new and emerging area that financing and encouragement for researchers in this field need special attention?
As indicated above, aging research needs to be progressively expanded, in a planned way aimed at achieving greater coordination and a sharper focus.Jeremiah Stamler.