The 2018 Sylvan M. Cohen Retreat: “Impact of Life Course Exposures on Aging: Longevity reflects our experiences from day to day”

051Last week, the Institute on Aging (IOA) at the University of Pennsylvania hosted its 2018 Sylvan M. Cohen Annual Retreat and Poster Session in partnership with Penn’s Population Aging Research Center (PARC). This year’s theme was “Impact of Life Course Exposures on Aging: Longevity reflects our experiences from day to day,” and featured a keynote presentation by Kenneth Langa, MD, PhD, Professor, Department of Internal Medicine and Health Management and Policy in the School of Public Health at University of Michigan.

Dr. Langa’s lecture discussed trends in brain health and dementia prevalence in the United States and around the world and whether or not the risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia is declining. Looking at Dr. Langa’s data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), between the years 2000 and 2012, while the prevalence of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and obesity increased, findings showed a significant decrease in dementia in ages 65+ with the biggest drop in ages 85 and older. Dr. Langa believes one of the most important contributing factors is the rapid increase in levels of education. In 1990, 53% of people ages 65+ finished high school. In 2010, that number increased to 80%. Similarly, in 1990 only 11% of people age 65+ finished college, with that growing to 23% by 2010.

Learn more about Dr. Langa’s research here:

*Dr. Langa’s full lecture can be accessed below.*

In addition to Dr. Langa’s lecture, the event also featured three Penn Presenters, Hans-Peter Kohler, PhD, Professor of Demography, Courtney Boen, PhD, Assistant Professor of Sociology, and Irma T. Elo, Director of PARC and Associate Chair and Professor of Sociology. The presentations covered various topics on aging trends and how experiences in our daily lives affect the ways in which we age. A link to the full lecture series is below.

Following the talks, the annual poster session and reception took place in the Smilow Center Lobby offering small bites and refreshments to guests as they browsed the 40+ research posters on display. Posters ranged in category from Basic Science to Clinical Research to Education, Community, & Other Research with a wide variety of aging-related topics and prizes were awarded to the best posters in each category. See the link below for a few brief video interviews with some of our presenters.

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To hear from some of our other poster presenters, click here.

To view the full lectures, click here.

Skip ahead to specific lectures using the table of contents below:
Table of contents:

  • Hans-Peter Kohler– “Aging against the Odds: Health and Survival among Mature Adults in Malawi” – 5:30
  • Courtney Boen– “Life Course Exposures and Trajectories of Racial Health Inequality” – 25:44
  • Irma T. Elo– “Recent mortality trends in the United States: Divergence by Metropolitan Status” – 46:25
  • Kenneth Langa – “Is the Risk for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Declining?: Epidemiological Evidence from Around the World” – 1:13:31

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