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amount of research money approved for funding in this Older Americans Act. This is a figure derived from the Gerontological Society.

Also it seems the administration on aging for the most part is doing RFP grants, requests for proposal kinds of grants. We feel that regularly submitted research grants by academic and other institutions should be considered and funded as well under this Older Ameri. cans Act because after all there are a number of us around the country thinking about the problems of aging and I think inputs from our large and heterogeneous groups of thinkers will provide the strongest kinds of national programs in the field of aging.

Second, I feel we have to support training in the field of aging, both long-term and short-term training. The Gerontological Society proposed raising from $3 to $12 million the sum allocated for this kind of research.

Third, there is no support for multidisciplinary centers involved in the bill. Some of the Members such as Congresswoman Chisholm have supported the multidisciplinary concept and I think it should be supported with money as well as with rhetoric,

Finally, the National Institute of Aging has not received any appropriation up to this time. We have grants that are submitted that have been approved on their scientific merit, but they have no funds to support them. I realize that the National Institute of Aging does not come under the purview of this committee, but you, as Members of Congress, certainìy vote on these appropriations and I hope you will all push to get the National Institute of Aging to have funds appropriated for it.

I think we have to plan for the future as well as for present generations of older Americans and for long-term research and training. This is one way we can improve the quality of life for generations of elderly today as well as generations of elderly tomorrow. Thank you very much.

. [The prepared statement follows:]




My name is Diana Woodruff. I am an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Research Associate at the Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center at the University of Southern California, and I am here today to talk about research in gerontology from the perspective of a researcher and teacher. My training at the University of Southern California was supported by a NICHD traineeship in gerontology, I did postdoctoral research at UCLA on a federally funded grant, and I am currently funded by an AOA research and development grant to the Andrus Center. Thus, my training and research are products of federal government support, primarily in the field of aging, but unfortunately I am one of a small minority who have been funded in this manner.

Gerontology, the scientific study of aging, is coming of age, and one of the settings where this phenomenon is most apparent is the Andrus Gerontology Center. Under the leadership of Dr. James Birren, the Andrus Center houses programs of research, training, and community service. The Andrus Center is multidisciplinary, spanning the academic disciplines from biology to social work. Until now, the training function of the Center has been at a graduate level to provide researchers and teachers in various academic disciplines with a specialty in gerontology, but now we are also about to open our doors to undergraduate students who want to learn to provide direct services to the elderly. The Leonard Davis School of Gerontology will open in the fall of 1975 and will offer certificates and bachelor and masters degrees in Gerontology. In this man

ner we are greatly expanding that aspect of our program which involves the direct application of knowledge and services to the aged.

A rapidly expanding multidisciplinary program of research and training has been established in the ten years since the inception of the Center, bringing it national and international recognition for its work in the field of aging. An outline of ongoing research programs at the Andrus Center therefore provides a general perspective of the prospects and progress of gerontological research.

Research emphasis at the Andrus Center is on improving the quality of life for the aged.

The newly constructed home of the Center was made possible through private donations totalling over $2,000,000 and ranging from $1 to $100,000 given for the most part by members of The American Association of Retired Persons and The National Retired Teachers Association. These are old people who believe in the potential of research to affect their lives and the lives of future generations of aged. Backed with this personal commitment on the part of old people and inspired by their continued interest and support of our work, we, as research gerontologists, are in rather a unique position as academics in that we are constantly in contact with those who stand to benefit from our work. We are compelled to make our research relevant, and our research reflects this perspective both for short and long range outcomes.

Projects at the Andrus Center range from training individuals to directly serving the elderly to organizing programs for older volunteers to studying basic biological processes of aging in mice. Researchers at the Center include planners, architects, social workers, public administrators, political scientists, economists, communication experts, exercise physiologists, sociologists, psychologists and biologists. While the following outline of research programs does not exhaust the activities undertaken at the Andrus Center, it does present the flavor of our work.

Beginning at a biochemical and molecular level, research in the laboratory of Dr. Caleb Finch involves, for the most part, studies of aging in the brains of mice. Since age changes in mouse brains involve brain sites affected by Parkinson's disease in humans, it is clear that there are significant implications from this research for human aging. Dr. Finch is particularly interested in aging of the neuroendocrine system and the effects of developmental changes in hormone levels. Why does the brain turn off ovarian function in females? What are the implications of changing hormone levels in old age? Such questions have resulted in applications such as estrogen therapy for postmenopausal women, and the implications of this work may affect the health and vigor of future generations of elderly. The biology research team is also investigating blood vessels in the brains of aging mice to learn if age changes in brain cells are caused by or independent of damaged and diseased arteries. In a country in which the number one cause of death is cardiovascular disease, such studies may have dramatic impact.

Another line of research in Finch's laboratories involves the chemicals used by brain cells to transmit information. Neuro-transmitter substances may change with age, and this could be the key to hormone regulation. Memory changes may also be implicated by changes in these critical chemical substances in the brain. Studies of hormone production and of gene activity in brain cells are also an ongoing project of this active laboratory. In addition to providing an under. standing of basic aging processes, this research may improve the quality of life in later years as well as lead to the prevention of some of the diseases (such as Parkinson's disease) of old age.

Human studies in Dr. Hubert de Vries' physiology of exercise laboratory hare already affected the lives of a group of older men (aged 55–80) living at Leisure World in Laguna Hills, California, and the results of this work documented in Vigor Regained, a book for lay readers, promise to affect the lives of thousands of older individuals. Dr. de Vrines speculated that much of the loss observed in physiological capacity and energy level in older people might result from an increasing sedentary life style or disuse rather than from what was assumed to be part of the normal aging process. While most exercise physiologists argued that beginning an exercise program in old age could not have beneficial effects and indeed might be dangerous, de Vries speculated that it's never too late to undertake a physical fitness program. He devised a modified exercise program for older adults and found encouraging improvements in the physical capacity and vigor of older men. Dr. de Vries' work demonstrates that aging need not be the picture of physiological decrement that we normally envision and that physical capacity can be regained to some extent through exercise_even at very late stages in the life span. While strenuous exercise may be contraindicated in some cases, de Vries found that a modified program could even be beneficial for individuals with mild cardiovascular disease. This work is currently being extended using female subjects, and Dr. deVires is continuing his attempt to explore and extend the limits of physicological capacity in older people.

In the psycholophysiology laboratory with my own work, I, too, am interested in exploring the limits to which physiological and behavioral decline in aging can be reversed. We are working with electrical activity in the brain the electroncephalogram (EEG)—or brain waves. One of the best documented findings in the EEG literature is the slowing of the dominant brain wave rhythm, the alpha rhythm, with age. Since slower brain wave rhythms are associated with states of lower alertness, fatigue, and pathology, it has been assumed that alpha slowing was deleterious. On a behavioral level, slowing of the alpha rhythm has been associated with slowing of reaction time. We have been working with a technique called biofeedback with which we have had some success in training older people to produce more fast brain waves, and this change in brain wave frequency has affected reaction time. When subjects produce fast brain waves they can move more quickly. We are in the process of replicating this work and looking at the implications for more complex behavior. Can we affect attention and information processing capacity in old people? Can we make them more alert and help them to think more quickly by teaching them to produce faster brain waves? These are the questions we hope to answer within the next several years, and our goal is to devise techniques to help older people to function at an optimal level in old age. Clearly, if successful, such research could alter prevailing stereotypes of old people which imply inevitable senility.

The biofeedback technique has also been used to train individuals to lower their blood pressure, and indeed, many physiological rhythms and processes can be changed with biofeedback. Since hypertension has been associated with intellectual decline and higher mortality rates in old people, using biofeedback to reduce blood pressure may prove to be an effective therapy and one which would obviate the use of drugs. With may colleague, Dr. Larry Thompson, I plan to explore the physiological limits of various systems in the aging human in an attempt to maximize potential in older individuals. For too long we have accepted the model of biological decline as the norm for aging without attempting to determine if capacity was truly lost or if it was just unused. While there is undoubltedly physiological decline in aging systems, I believe that there is some untapped residual capacity in the aging organism which we can amplify and maximize.

Additional work in the psychophysiology laboratory which Dr. Thompson and I are undertaking with Dr. David Smith involves the exploration and description of patterns of brain activity, as measured by event related potentials, which are computer averaged measures of EEG activity. Previous research implicates the central nervous system as the primary causal site for age changes in behavior, and we hope to more clearly isolate the nature and location of these changes. Our research in this project will also involved the attempt to modify brain activity once we have isolated change associated with poor performance. We also hope to answer some of the questions which have been raised regarding the Integration of central and autonomic nervous system activity in old age. Some evidence suggests that the older nervous system may not function in a coordinated manner and may be desynchronized and therefore less efficient. By simultaneously measuring biochemical and bioelectric signals we hope to resolve some of the questions regarding integration in the older nervous system.

In addition to providing a better understanding of brain behavior relationships in old age, the psychophysiological research in our laboratories may lead us to devising therapies to intervene in what have heretofore been considered inevitable age changes. We may be able to maximize the physiological efficiency of old people and help them to remain more alert, move more quickly, and hope. fully feel better as well. An additional perspective which we feel is important is to look at physiology and behavior over the life span. By taking this perspective we can think about preventive strategies in addition to the more short-ranged interventions at the end of the life span.

A life span orientation to developmental psychology has led Dr. K. Warner Schaie to conclude that the intellectual decline which was thought to accompany old age is a myth. In an extensive series of studies Schaie has convincingly demonstrated the impact of cultural change and generational differences on intelligence test scores. It's not that we lose intelligence with age but rather when we compare contemporary generations of old people (who have been out of school for 50–60 years and who have on the average four to six years less formal education than contemporary young generations) to young people, we find that the young score higher. When we follow people over long periods of their life span, we find that they do not decline in intellectual performance. These data have led Schaie to state that the aged are obsolete and they need to be "updated" by returning to school. Indeed, James Birren, Director of the Andrus Center since its inception, has suggested that we will observe a “greying" of our educational institutions as more and more individuals return to school in mid and later life. The aged can profit from education in a number of dimensions and with the slowing of the birth rate and shrinking numbers of younger cohorts, educational institutions more and more will be turning to the old to fill their enrollments.

Sociologists, political scientists and public administrators at the Center are also focusing on the impact the expanding proportion of elderly in the popula. tion will have on policy makers. What are the attitudes of policy makers toward the aged? Can these attitudes be changed? How can we effectively carry out "consciousness raising" strategies to attune legislators to the problems of the elderly? Dr. Neal Cutler and Dr. Paul Kerschner are seeking the answers to such questions in field studies and in projects designed to be undertaken with state legislators.

The impact of cultural and ethnic variables on human aging is another focus of research activity. Dr. Vern Bengtson heads a project which involves the study of black and Chicano elderly. What are the special needs of these subgroups of aged? What is unique and what is universal about the experience of human aging? Answers to such questions may affect the nature of policy with respect to these groups, and the results of these projects have clear and direct implications for action.

These, then, are a few of the issues to which we have addressed ourselves at the Andrus Center. While many of the research questions we ask are basic, there are clear applications of this information which can be directly applied to the lives of the aged. The questions we ask and the answers we are getting have implications for the elderly at many levels. It is essential for the population of today's aged and for the aged of tomorrow that we continue to ask questions, search for answers and apply and disseminate the results of our work. Old people themselves see the import of this research and have pledged their time and money to support such endeavors.

Unfortunately, the federal government has not been as enthusiastic in committing funds to gerontological research and training. Indeed, only $7 million is requested for research in the Budget for the proposed legislation—a figure which reflects no increase over earlier requests. Additionally. Congress has yet to appropriate research funds for the National Institute on Aging. Thus, we have submitted research proposals which have been evaluated for their scientific merit and approved as sound, yet there is no money appropriated to fund the work. In this light, I urge the members of this committee to:

1. Expand federal support for research in gerontology.
2. Expand federal support for training in gerontology.
3. Provide support for multidisciplinary centers in gerontology.
4. Press for appropriation of funds to the National Institute of Aging.

The current state of funding for research in aging is a sad commentary on the lack of foresight in planning for the elderly. Research is often viewed as a frill and of secondary importance to direct services, but the potential of research to present physical and mental deterioration which in turn is costly to society is typically overlooked. Elimination of some of the problems of aging is the great potential of gerontological research, and we must invest both in the short term programs of service delivery and in the long term potential of research in order to:truly improve the quality of life for contemporary and future generations of older Americans.


(Diana S. Woodruff, University of Southern California) In a discussion of scientific creativity, Lord Adrian, the famous biologist stated, “New ideas in science are induced by new discoveries, and at the present time it seems to me that the most potent factor in promoting new discoveries has been

the introduction of some new technique, some new tool that can be used for exploring natural phenomena.” (Adrian, 1961). Biofeedback easily qualifies as the kind of promising new technique of which Lord Adrian was speaking.

The basic mechanism employed in feedback training is an electronic system which serves to amplify and inform an individual about the ongoing activity of selected physiological processes. The actual feedback is a signal or stimulus presented to the subject contingent upon the presence of a certain physiological state. For example, if a subject is being trained to produce brain waves in the alpha frequency (8–12 cycles per second), the feedback might be a tone sounded whenever the subject produced an alpha wave.

The biofeedback technique is based on the fundamental learning principle that a response is learned when an individual receives reinforcement (feedback) when he makes a correct response. While natural feedback loops exist for some systems in the body (eg. kinesthetic receptors provide information about position, movement and tension), we normally do not receive feedback information concerning the functioning of our internal organs. Hence, we usually are unaware if our brain waves are in the alpha range, if our heart rate is fast or slow or if our blood pressure is high or low. In this sense biofeedback serves as an artificial receptor which provides information about the state of our internal organs.

Biofeedback is a relatively new research tool which has been developed in the last five or six years. In the late 1960's researchers asked the question : If a subject is given information (biofeedback) that tells him that his electroencephalographic (EEG) brain waves are within the alpha range, that his heart is beating slowly, or that his blood pressure is low, will he learn to prolong the occurrence of alpha rhythm, or to keep his heart rate slow, or to maintain a low level of blood pressure? A number of investigations have provided an affirmative answer to this question.

Research in the area of the EEG brain waves which has received its primary imputes from Kamiya (1962, 1968, 1969) has led to the demonstration that subjects can learn to voluntarily control their EEG alpha rhythm. Electronic circuitry is arranged so that subjecis hear a tone whenever the alpha rhythm is present. When instructed to keep the tone on, subjects learn to increase the time they spend in the alpha brain wave state, and conversely, when told to turn off the tone, they decrease the time spent in alpha. To accomplish the task of producing alpha rhythm, subjects report that they maintain a subjective state of tranquility and a "blank mind.” Hence, control over subjective states or mental events which are associated with physiological events seem to lead to control over internal physiological events.

Heart rate and blood pressure are other physiological functions which have been demonstrated to come under voluntary control with the biofeedback technique. Shapiro and associates (1969, 1970a) monitored blood pressure with a conventional blood pressure cuff and reinforced one group of subjects for increasing and another group for decreasing systolic pressure. Pressure levels became differentiated between the two groups in a relatively short period of training (thirty minutes). The Shapiro group (1970b) also used biofeedback techniques to train subjects to increase and decrease heart rate, and significant heart rate conditioning occurred in a single training session. Engel and Melmon (1968) had some success in treating cardiac arrythmias with biofeedback. Budzynski, Stoyva and Adler (1970) used biofeedback to relieve tension headaches, and Randt and his colleagues have had encouraging results in training epileptic patients to suppress paroxysmal spikes in their brain waves (Barber, 1971). Other researchers have been applying biofeedback techniques to various psychosomatic disorders. Working with animals, Miller (1969) and his associates demonstrated learned control of heart rate, blood pressure, localized blood flow, urine secretion and stomach and intestinal contractions.

The implications and potential applications for biofeedback in the fields of gerontology and geriatrics are almost totally unexplored. The descriptive literature of gerontology contains numerous examples of deleterious physiological changes which occur with age, but little attempt has been made to explore the extent to which these changes are reversible. Phenomena such as the increase in blood pressure and slowing of the dominant brain wave rhythm are commonly accepted as concomitants of normal aging, but investigators have directed their research toward explanation of these age functional relationships rather than attempting to modify the changes. With biofeedback it may be possible to train aged subjects to lower blood pressure and to speed the dominant brain wave frequency hence reversing age changes which may be deleterious. In this manner

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