Philosophical Society of Washington

Growing Older

Challenges and Opportunities in Aging

Richard Hodes
Director, National Institute on Aging

2208th Meeting Abstract
Friday, September 15, 2006 at 8:15 PM


The trend toward increased life expectancy over the last century has been remarkable, resulting in an “age boom” of profound implications for individuals, families, and society. This lecture will cover insights from research on the factors affecting health and well being as we grow older.

Richard J. Hodes

About the Author:

Richard J. Hodes, MD, directs the research program of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health. A leading immunologist, he was named director of the NIA in 1993, to oversee studies of the basic, clinical, epidemiological and social aspects of aging. Under his stewardship, the NIA budget has surpassed $1 billion, reflecting increased public interest in aging as America and the world grow older. He has devoted his tenure to the development of a strong, diverse, and balanced research program, focusing on the genetics and biology of aging, basic and clinical studies aimed at reducing disease and disability, including Alzheimer's disease and age-related cognitive change, and investigation of the behavioral and social aspects of aging. Ultimately, these efforts have one goal–improving the health and quality of life for older people and their families.

In the past decade, the NIA has worked in new and innovative ways to conduct research and to translate research findings into practical interventions and public information. In Alzheimer's disease (AD), new initiatives to find genes involved in AD and to identify biomarkers are expected to considerably reduce the length and cost of clinical trials, thereby speeding up the testing of new therapies. In biology, research conducted and supported by the NIA examines the genetic and other factors influencing lifespan and age related diseases and conditions. Research in geriatrics is uncovering new ways to combat frailty with age, and social and demographic research is deepening understanding of the individual behaviors and societal decisions that affect well-being.

Richard Hodes is a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine. In 1995, he was elected as a member of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives; in 1997, he was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; and in 1999, he was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

He is a graduate of Yale University and received his M.D., from Harvard Medical School. As an author of more than 200 research papers, he is an influential scientist in and contributor to the field of immunology.

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