NIA Program Officer positions in the Division of Behavioral and Social Research posted

The official job announcements for Program Officer positions in the Division of Behavioral and Social Research have been posted on www.usajobs.gov. For your reference, direct links to the job announcements are included below.  Please see the attached flyers for more information about these positions. Applications must be submitted through the website by January 30, 2020, to be considered. Applicants must be US citizens.

For the Population and Social Processes Branch Health Systems Program Officer position, please apply through:

Delegated Examining (Open to the Public)

Merit Promotion (Open to Status Candidates)

For the Individual Behavioral Processes Branch Chief position, please apply through:

Delegated Examining (Open to the Public)

Merit Promotion (Open to Status Candidates)

For the Individual Behavioral Processes Program Officer for Psychological Development and Integrative Science position, please apply through:

Delegated Examining (Open to the Public)

Merit Promotion (Open to Status Candidates)

Letter to HHS, CDC, and NIH on Alzheimer’s Disease Research

House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-Ore.), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), and Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Michael Burgess, MD (R-Texas) sent a January 16 letter to Director of the NIH’s National Institute on Aging (NIA) Richard J. Hodes, MD, requesting information on how NIA is cultivating innovation in research to advance Alzheimer’s Disease treatments and cures. The lawmakers sent similar letters to Health and Human Services (HHS) Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation Brenda Destro, and Director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Robert R. Redfield, MD.

Blood Pressure Control and Decreased Risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Recently published NIA research revealed an association between blood pressure control and a decreased risk of both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  Investigators pooled data from six longitudinal studies and over 31,000 participants in order to evaluate associations between the use of antihypertensive drugs and incident dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  For individuals diagnosed with high blood pressure, taking antihypertensive medications was associated with a 12% reduction in dementia risk and a 16% reduction in Alzheimer’s disease risk.  There was no association between antihypertensive use and disease risk among participants with normal blood pressure.  Taken together, these results help to reinforce the findings from the SPRINT-MIND trial and highlight the important role that antihypertensive drugs may play in helping to prevent dementia and AD among those who have high blood pressure. These findings were published in the Lancet Neurology.

Frequent Social Contact in Midlife May Reduce Dementia Risk

A retrospective analysis of the Whitehall II cohort study found that frequent social contact in midlife may reduce dementia risk.  Data collected over 28 years reveal that adults who reported frequent social contact (regularly seeing friends and family) in middle age were less likely to receive a dementia diagnosis. The researchers also reported that this effect seemed stronger for participants who reported frequent interactions with friends than for those who reported social contact only with family members. The authors suggest that being socially engaged may require greater activity in areas of the brain that contribute to language and memory, which in turn may account for better cognitive health. This research, published in PLOS Medicine, was funded in part by the NIA.

NIA Recent Change to Review Process for Program Projects

Dr. Robin Barr, Director of the NIA Division of Extramural Activities, blogged about a recent change to the NIA’s review process for program projects.  Beginning with the January 25, 2020 submission deadline, NIA will suspend the second-stage review.  Second-stage review is not gone – it remains an option for NIA – but a new pattern of scoring in initial review panels suggests that the second stage may not be necessary.  NIA also has a new funding announcement for program projects: some important changes include that NIA now allows these grants on all three submission deadlines of the year and has increased the amount allowable without preclearance.