National Institute on Aging > Research > Research Programs (Extramural) > Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology
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Research Areas

The NIA Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology (DGCG) is comprised of three branches:

  • Geriatrics Branch
  • Clinical Gerontology Branch
  • Clinical Trials Branch

Geriatrics Branch

The Geriatrics Branch focuses primarily on health issues regarding the aged and addresses research on disease and disability in older persons, including both specific conditions and issues related to multiple morbidity. Examples of current research areas and future directions are:

  • Multifactorial geriatric syndromes (e.g., falls, frailty, and various types of disability)
  • Effects of comorbidity and polypharmacy
  • Effects of age-related changes on clinical or functional disease outcomes or treatment responses
  • Effects of physical activity on disease and disability in older persons
  • Elucidation, diagnosis, and treatment of previously unappreciated pathologic changes in old age (e.g., sarcopenia, vascular stiffening, diastolic dysfunction).

Clinical Gerontology Branch

The Clinical Gerontology Branch focuses primarily on clinically related issues regarding aging and addresses research on aging changes during the lifespan. A major focus is on the determinants of rates of progression of age-related changes that affect disease risk, particularly those affecting risk for multiple age-related conditions. Examples of current areas and future directions are:

  • Healthy aging across the lifespan, including exceptional longevity
  • Protective factors against multiple age-related conditions
  • Longitudinal studies of factors affecting aging changes at different points in the lifespan
  • Translational human research to follow-up findings from basic research on aging processes
  • Long-term effects of current or new interventions that may be administered during a large part of the lifespan (e.g., antihypertensives, statins)
  • Long-term effects of physical activity throughout the lifespan.

Clinical Trials Branch

The Clinical Trials Branch plans and administers clinical trials on age-related issues. Examples of current and possible future interventions for trials are:

  • Interventions to prevent or treat "geriatric syndromes," disability, and complications of comorbidity or polypharmacy
  • Trials to detect age- or comorbidity-related differences in responses to interventions against conditions found in middle age and old age
  • Interventions for problems associated with menopause and other mid- and late-life changes
  • Interventions that may affect rates of progression of age-related declines in function in early and midlife
  • Interventions with protective effects against multiple age-related conditions
  • Intervention studies on the effects of androgens in older men.

Researchers with interest in trials whose direct costs are less than $2 million per year are encouraged to contact the Clinical Trials Branch staff at Investigators wishing to advocate for an initiative by DGCG for a clinical trial or trials that exceed $2 million in direct costs in any year of funding should submit a concept proposal using the Initial Proposal Submission Form (MS Word, 39K). DGCG Clinical Trials Advisory Panel, a task force of the National Advisory Council on Aging (NACA), will evaluate the concept proposals in October – November of each Fiscal Year and will provide its recommendations to DGCG, NACA, and to the NIA Director on initiatives for large clinical trials. Concept proposals should:

  1. Provide a brief description of the topic area and current state of science indicating the need for a large scale clinical trial or trials to obtain definitive information about the benefits and/or risks of intervention or interventions in elderly in the topic area.
  2. Define the prospective study population and briefly discuss a potential intervention or interventions and any preliminary information supporting the need for testing such an intervention or interventions in a large scale trial in the proposed population. Drugs, devices, lifestyle modifications, and other interventions could be proposed.
  3. Provide a brief rationale for the selection of endpoints (clinical, functional, or surrogate). There is no need to propose specific outcome measures.
  4. Provide an estimate of sample size, duration and costs of trial(s).
  5. Provide any additional comments or suggestions that you think would be useful.

Page last updated Nov 03, 2008