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Answers to an age-old question

UTHSCSA researcher will determine what factors cause us to "slow down" with age

Memory loss, arthritis, osteoporosis — all have the potential to slow us down in our later years. But why do some people suffer the debilitating effects of aging more than others? The National Institutes on Aging awarded Ray Palmer, Ph.D., a $500,000 grant to find out.

Dr. Palmer is an assistant professor at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) and a health-behavior disease-prevention methodologist. He will analyze data from local and national aging studies to determine which behavioral, social and environmental factors determine age-related function and decline.

"The ultimate goal of this work is to increase our understanding of the aging process so that we might improve the quality of late life and reduce the health care costs associated with aging," Dr. Palmer said. "The data I will analyze represents cross cultural information and includes African Americans, Caucasians and Hispanics, as well as comparisons of the varied economic impacts on aging."

Dr. Palmer is collaborating with Toni Miles, M.D., Ph.D.; Helen Hazuda, Ph.D; and Donald Royall, M.D., of the UTHSCSA, and Kokos Markides, Ph.D., from The University of Texas Medical Branch. The study will last five years, with preliminary results due in a year.

Contact: Amanda Gallagher or Aileen Salinas