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Diet and Aging--Exploring the Link

By Rosalie Marion Bliss
June 6, 2003

Eating right as you get older, among other diet-related aging issues, will be discussed during a scientific meeting that begins today in Baltimore, Md. Experts from a variety of academic, professional and private organizations will speak today through June 9 at the 32nd Annual Meeting of the American Aging Association (AGE).

Among the speakers are eight from the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University (HNRCA), at Boston, Mass. The HNRCA is funded by the Agricultural Research Service, the chief scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The HNRCA scientists, many of whom have published seminal works on diet-related aging issues, will speak on a variety of individual topics. Organizer James Joseph, who heads the HNRCA's Neuroscience Laboratory, arranged many session topics addressing the theme of "Nutritional Modulation of Aging and Age-Related Diseases."

Joseph, a neuroscientist who is also the current AGE president, will provide opening remarks on Saturday, June 7, at 8 a.m. to kick off the sessions. He will also speak about the role of polyphenols--a group of beneficial compounds found in many fruits and vegetables--in brain aging.

Technical themes include beneficial and harmful fats in foods, such as omega-3 and trans fatty acids; desirable chemical properties of fruits and vegetables, such as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents; and cellular oxidative stress affected by lifestyle habits, such as diet.

Other important topics that will be presented include molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in diet and insulin resistance; genomics research as applied to diet and aging, called nutrigenomics; the possible neuro- and cardio-protective roles of green tea polyphenols; and beneficial synergy between vitamins and phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables.

More information about the meeting, including the speakers and their topics, may be obtained from Rosalie Marion Bliss of ARS (phone 301-504-4318, and from AGE's electronic program on the World Wide Web:

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