The mission of the University of Florida Older Americans Independence Center (OAIC) is to assess the risk factors of physical disability in older adults, develop and test effective prevention therapies, and train new investigators in research on aging and disability, while developing their leadership qualities. Our strategy is to attract studies and investigators from diverse behavioral, clinical, and basic science disciplines towards research on aging that is focused on a common research theme, and this, in turn, allows us to accomplish our mission. The theme, "sarcopenia and prevention of disability", is pursued using an interdisciplinary approach that traverses the entire spectrum of biomedical investigation, including molecular biology, animal studies, clinical research, behavioral sciences, and epidemiology. This research theme addresses the general goal of the OAIC program, namely, to increase scientific knowledge that leads to better ways to maintain or restore independence of older persons. Our research objectives are to (1) assess, using translational research (between basic and clinical disciplines) multiple factors such as biological, co-morbid, psychosocial, and behavioral that contribute to sarcopenia, physical function decline, and progression to disability and (2) develop and reliably test in clinical and pre-clinical studies interventions that target sarcopenia, in order to prevent, delay or recover the age-related declines in physical function and the progression to disability. To address these objectives the proposed OAIC includes the following integrated cores, which support investigators. Junior Scholars, infrastructure, and services: the Leadership and Administrative Core, the Research Career Development Core, the Pilot / Exploratory Studies Core, the Clinical Translational Research Core, the Metabolism and Biomarkers Core, the Biostatistics and Data Management Core, and the Recruitment, Adherence and Retention Core. We train Junior Scholars and support external studies, research development projects, and pilot/exploratory studies. A major strength of the proposed OAIC is the concerted action of the interdisciplinary cores, projects and investigators that address one common research theme to be explored through the whole spectrum of biomedical investigation.
Better knowledge of the etiologic factors leading to disability and developing efficacious and effective interventions to avert disability will have a major impact on practicing evidence based geriatric medicine and public health.
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