An NIA-sponsored study has shown that treatment with a repurposed drug can help mice to lose weight and improve metabolic functioning. This drug, disulfiram, is normally prescribed to treat alcohol addiction, but was investigated in the current study as an off-label means of treating obesity and metabolic dysregulation in mice. Researchers fed middle-aged mice a high-fat diet across a period of 12 weeks, which induced obesity and metabolic dysfunction. Then, they divided the mice into four treatment groups, including: (1) a standard diet group; (2) a high-fat diet group; (3) a high-fat diet + low disulfiram dose group; and (4) a high-fat diet + high disulfiram dose group. Mice in the high-fat diet group continued to gain weight and experience metabolic dysregulation, while those who switched to the standard diet eventually lost weight and saw a return of normal metabolic function. Mice in the two disulfiram groups, however, showed more dramatic weight loss and a near reversal of metabolic damage, including restoration of insulin sensitivity. The research team hypothesized that these benefits may be due to the anti-inflammatory properties of disulfiram, which appeared to protect the mice from the harmful effects of the high-fat diet. The researchers noted that treatment with disulfiram could represent a potential therapy for obesity and related metabolic dysfunction in humans, should clinical trial evidence support it. This study was published in Cell Metabolism.
Friends of NIA submitted it’s request letter to the House Appropriations Committee on March 23, 2020.
The letter attached below, requests asks that federal resources be dedicated to sustain and enhance the timely and promising aging research at NIA and across the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Specifically, FoNIA requests:
- $44.7 billion – a $3 billion increase – in FY 2021 for total spending at NIH, which aligns with the overall recommendation of the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research;
- Within this amount, an increase of least $500 million specifically dedicated to support cross-Institute aging research at the NIH, including but not limited to biomedical, behavioral and social sciences aging research;
- A minimum increase of $354 million specific to research on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD). The NIA is the primary federal agency supporting and conducting Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias research.
Message from Dr. Richard Hodes, Director of National Institute on Aging
I deeply regret to inform you that NIA has canceled the 2020 National Research Summit on Care, Services, and Supports for Persons with Dementia and Their Caregivers.
Throughout this rapidly evolving public health situation involving COVID-19, NIH is committed to ensuring the safety and health of our staff and community, including encouraging staff to telework to the fullest extent possible. We also understand that new and/or changing commitments, both at work and at home, may prohibit many presenters and attendees from joining us in a live two-day virtual event next week. We want to be respectful of the needs of individuals living with dementia who were planning to participate, and we recognize that a virtual summit could present unique challenges for this group. For these reasons, NIA will not proceed with hosting the event in-person or virtually on March 24-25, 2020.
Though we are disappointed, we are working diligently to identify alternate ways to engage participants in discussions about the state of care, services and supports research, in a manner that respects the needs of all members of our community. We will share next steps on the summit website at a later date. All registered participants will also receive updates via email when available.
We extend a special thanks to the Summit Steering Committee, led by Jennifer Wolff (Johns Hopkins University), David Reuben (University of California, Los Angeles), Elena Fazio, Courtney Wallin, and Chandra Keller (NIA), and many stakeholder groups for the countless hours and commitment they dedicated to the planning of this summit. Their work provided us with a substantial foundation to plan next steps for addressing the gaps and opportunities for research to benefit those living with dementia and their caregivers.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Richard J. Hodes, M.D.
National Institute on Aging
National Institutes of Health
NIH has identified short-term administrative flexibilities to assist applicants with managing administrative, financial management and audit requirements under the Uniform Guidance “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards” – which are implemented in HHS regulation at 45 CFR Part 75 – without compromising their accountability requirements.
These flexibilities are applicable to NIH applicants and recipients where the entity is conducting research activities related to or affected by COVID-19. Affected entities are those that have been closed, or business activities have been hindered due to COVID-19 precautionary measures and/or illnesses. Entities that are affected will be asked to provide documentation to NIH describing the effects, and how long their facility and NIH related research, clinical practices, or instruction was and/or will be affected.
Recipients should contact their assigned grants management specialist and program official to provide documentation demonstrating the effect of COVID-19. The funding institute or center will work with the recipient to address the impact on the NIH grant.
NIH issued a separate Notice related to Late Application flexibilities and published COVID-19 Flexibilities for Applicants and Recipients FAQs for additional guidance.
UPDATE: NIH Dementia Care & Caregiving Summit March 24-25 to be Videocast Only
As you know, there is an expanding outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2. The disease itself is referred to as COVID-19. Most cases and most person-to-person spread of the novel virus have occurred in mainland China, but clusters of affected persons have been increasingly detected outside of China, including in the US. The immediate risk to most Americans remains low, but the potential global public health threat posed by this virus is high. This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment for people in the US may change.
In support of the Office of Personnel Management guidance to strengthen efforts to protect the federal workforce to ensure continuity of operations, NIH leadership has encouraged staff coordinating large meetings within the next 30 days to consider alternate options. After careful deliberation and consideration for the health of all attendees and for the tremendous amount of effort that has gone into planning for this important event, we have decided to hold the National Research Summit on Care, Services, and Supports for Persons with Dementia and Their Caregivers scheduled for March 24-25, 2020 as a virtual meeting only. In other words, there will not be an in-person option.
The goal of the summit is to bring together individuals with a variety of backgrounds to identify evidence-based programs, strategies, approaches, and other research that can be used to improve the care, services, and supports of persons with dementia and their caregivers.
If you have already registered for in-person or videocast you do not need to do anything. All registrants will receive updates and instructions for the virtual meeting. If you are not already registered and would like to receive email updates, please register for a videocast ticket here.