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  • The Center mourns the loss of a dear friend and tireless CVL supporter. click here

  • CVL councilmember and benefactor’s life remembered in the Dallas Morning News.click here

  • Aging-themed issue of Nautilus Magazine explores cognitive benefits of learning a new game such as chess, cites CVL.click here

  • ‘Fitizen’ group at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas learns about research at CVL. click here

  • CVL research published in JoN finds that some memories persist in the face of strong interference. click here

  • Dr. Sara Festini’s research probes busyness levels and cognitive performance.click here

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CVl Annual Review


CVl Annual Review

Charting Our Progress is CVL’s annual review, with archives available

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Five Great Years for the Center for Vital Longevity

DALLAS – Sept. 18, 2015 – The Center for Vital Longevity held a 5-year anniversary dinner party at the Highland Hotel that included many community members who have supported the Center since its inception in 2010.

Joining in Friday’s celebration of the Center’s anniversary and its national stature as a leader in the study of the aging mind was Dr. Reisa Sperling, a world-renowned researcher in Alzheimer’s Disease from Harvard University who is leading a national study on early intervention for still-healthy individuals at high-risk for Alzheimer’s.

A cast of supporters turned out, too, to recognize the accomplishments of a Center that has quickly achieved impressive marks for scientific achievements. To name a few: CVL scientists have published over 126 scientific articles in the past five years and the publications of its faculty have received more than 30,000 citations in scientific literature; CVL’s faculty together have won a total of 15 highly competitive grant awards from the National Institutes of Health; and two of its postdoctoral fellows have each received a generous “Path To Independence” award in a single year, when a total of only eight awards nationally were given by the National Institute on Aging in 2014.

Just five years ago, CVL opened its doors with a kick-off that included Gov. Rick Perry as well as many Center community supporters and University officials.

“The Center has achieved rapid international visibility based on a series of fantastic hires of prominent scientists – most of who are in the early stages of their career. Every single faculty member has a research program funded by competitive research grants. The fact that all share the common research goal of discovering how healthy aging minds work and discovering interventions to help maintaincognitive vitality for life adds to the Center’s impact,” said the Center’s founding director, Dr. Denise Park, who came to Dallas from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

A team of dedicated scientists at the Center, with the help of this federal funding, is using advanced brain imaging technology to uncover how the brain can adapt and remodel its function to resist some of the inevitable neural deterioration that comes with age, which for some includes the devastating changes associated with Alzheimer’s. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.2 million Americans had Alzheimer’s in 2014, with a cost to healthcare of $226 billion. By 2050, 13.5 million are predicted to suffer from the disease as the U.S. population increases and reaches older ages.

“Thanks in large part to Denise’s energy and vision, the time since then has been one of tremendous growth and progress for the Center,” said its current director Dr. Michael Rugg, who was recruited as a Distinguished Chair in Behavioral and Brain Sciences in 2011 from the Univ. of California, Irvine. Since then, the Center has expanded from two to six research laboratories, and from a complement of fewer than a dozen people to a vibrant community numbering more than 50. “It’s impossible to have arrived at thispoint without the support of the University and substantial funding through competitively awarded grants, mainly from the NIH.”

To thank her for her work in leading a broad-based research effort toward earlier diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s, Dr. Rugg presented Harvard’s Dr. Sperling with CVL’s Award for Distinguished Research in the Science of the Aging Mind.

“We desperately need more of the work that CVL is doing in the field of aging,” Dr. Sperling said. “To characterize aging and memory changes over the lifespan is of critical importance to understanding Alzheimer’s Disease.”

In the spirit of giving in-the-moment, the chairman of the advisory council, Larry Warder (see profile, p. 3), kicked things off with a generous gift from him and his wife, Emily. Norman and Chela Abdallah, also a CVL council member, quickly followed suit.

Members of the CVL Director’s Research Circle who attended the anniversary dinner included Bill Booziotis (chair of the Circle) with Nancy Shutt, as well Steve and Linda Ivy, Nancy O’Neil and Dr. John Stilwell and Mary Susan Barnhill.