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Profile of Gerontological Institutions: The Institute for Ageing and Health, University of Newcastle
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Professor Jim Edwardson
Professor Thomas Kirkwood CBE
Edwardson JA; Kirkwood TBL
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The Institute For Ageing And Health (IAH) is the largest cross-disciplinary research grouping within Newcastle University's Faculty of Medicine, which recently obtained the highest 5 or 5∗ ratings in all fields evaluated in the UK Research Assessment Exercise 2001. The IAH was set up in 1994 to bring together clinical, basic and social scientists in partnership with colleagues in the National Health Service. It builds upon a long tradition of outstanding clinical research on age-related disorders, particularly in the field of dementia where the pioneering studies of Tomlinson and Roth in the 1960s first showed Alzheimer's disease to be the commonest cause of cognitive decline in later life. The clinical research of the IAH now extends to both neurodegenerative and vascular dementia in a joint Medical Research Council-University Development for Clinical Brain Ageing, and to studies in many other areas including depression in later life, falls and neurovascular instability, stroke and ischaemic brain disease, and health services research on the medical and social care of older people. These diverse areas of clinical investigation are now complemented by strong research on the basic biology of ageing within the new Department of Gerontology with its programmes on the genetics of ageing and longevity; molecular mechanisms of cellular ageing, including oxidative stress, DNA damage and genomic instability, telomere reduction and regulation, mitochondrial DNA mutations, and accumulation of aberrant proteins; and theoretical models of the ageing process. An ambitious strategy for future research on ageing and age-related disorders is based on the synergy between these complementary approaches.
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