OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Aging and Senior Issues Experts

Oregon State University has a number of experts who study issues related to healthy aging, senior health, and gerontology. Our faculty experts are experienced in presenting this information to the public.

Diet/Nutrition

Rod Dashwood, 541-737-5086 or rod.dashwood@oregonstate.edu

Dashwood studies genetic and epigenetic changes in cancer. Research focuses on mutational events and tumor suppressors, and the impact of diet and lifestyle factors. He is director of the Cancer Chemoprotection Program with the Linus Pauling Institute and a professor in the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

  • Diet and cancer prevention
  • Colon cancer
  • DNA methylation
  • Foods with chemoprotective effects

Background:

Study links carcinogens to cancer stem cells – but spinach can help

Natural compounds, chemotherapeutic drugs may become partners in cancer therapy

 

Adrian Gombart, 541-737-8018; Adrian.gombart@oregonstate.edu

Gombart studies the effect of vitamin D on the function of the innate immune system in the elderly. This could relate to systemic inflammation, and increasing levels of vitamin D may be of value in reducing mortality in kidney dialysis and sepsis patients. He is a principal investigator in the Linus Pauling Institute and associate professor in the College of Science.

  • Vitamin D and the innate immune system
  • Aging and vitamin D deficiency
  • Reduction in mortality from infection

Background:

Vitamin B3 may help in fight against staph infections, “superbugs”

Respiratory infection strategy: get a flu shot, and get enough vitamin D

Multiple health concerns surface as winter, vitamin D deficiencies arrive

 

Tory Hagen, 541-737-5083; tory.hagen@oregonstate.edu

Hagen is a leader in the study of the basic biology of aging. This may lead to effective therapies for a number of age-related diseases and enhance the quality of life. Research is focused on two “age-essential” micronutrients, lipoic acid and acetyl-l-carnitine. They appear to improve two aspects of aging - the inability to respond to oxidative and toxicological challenges, and the loss of mitochondrial function. He is the Jamieson Endowed Chair in Healthspan Research in the Linus Pauling Institute and professor in the College of Science.

  • The biology of aging
  • Lipoic acid and acetyl-l-carnitine
  • Possible therapies for age-related disease
  • Mitochondrial decay

Background:

Antioxidants of interest to address infertility, erectile dysfunction

Malnutrition in Elderly a Major Concern, Needs Attention

 

Emily Ho, 541-737-9559; Emily.ho@oregonstate.edu

Ho is an expert on antioxidants, gene expression and dietary chemoprevention. She studies zinc and its role in DNA integrity and cancer development, especially the effect of zinc on the immune system during aging; and dietary approaches for prostate cancer prevention. She is the endowed director of the Moore Family Center for Whole Grain Foods, Nutrition and Preventive Health in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, and a principal investigator in the Linus Pauling Institute.

  • Zinc and zinc deficiency during aging
  • Prostate cancer and its prevention
  • Dietary prevention of cancer, including soy, tea and cruciferous vegetables

Background:

Zinc deficiency mechanism linked to aging, multiple diseases

Health benefits of broccoli require the whole food, not supplements

 

Donald Jump, 541-737-4007; Donald.jump@oregonstate.edu

Jump is an expert on the type of dietary fat that is associated with the onset and progression of chronic disease, especially atherosclerosis, diabetes and obesity. He studies transcription factors and genes involved in hepatic carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. He is a principal investigator in the Linus Pauling Institute and professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

  • Dietary fat
  • Good and bad fats, impacts on disease
  • Fat and atherosclerosis and diabetes

Background:

Discovery points to new approach for diabetes therapy

Some omega-3 oils better than others for protection against liver disease

 

Viviana Perez, 541-737-9551; viviana.perez@oregonstate.edu

Perez studies protein homeostasis in longevity - aspects of the biological component of lifespan. Part of this is an analysis of the impact of dietary restriction and rapamycin, two types of intervention that increase life and healthspan in rodents. She is an assistant professor in the College of Science and a member of the Linus Pauling Institute.

  • Protein homeostasis and longevity
  • Dietary restriction and longevity
  • Effects of rapamycin on lifespan

 

Ellen Smit, 541-737-3833; ellen.smit@oregonstate.edu

Smit is a nutritional epidemiologist. Her research is focused on diet, metabolism, and physical activity in relation to chronic disease. She is an associate professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

  • Physical activity and chronic disease
  • Frailty and food insecurity/hunger
  • Nutrition and diet in aging populations

Background:

Lower vitamin D could increase risk of dying, especially for frail, older adults

Older adults who are frail are much more likely to be food insufficient

  

Social/Psychological

 

Carolyn Aldwin, 541-737-2024; Carolyn.aldwin@oregonstate.edu

Aldwin is a national expert on the relationship between stress and health. She can discuss the factors that affect health as people age, especially how individuals cope with stress. She researches how personality, mental health, and physical health change across the lifespan. She can speak to factors which affect the way people age, as well as stress-related growth. She is a professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

  • Stress and coping with stress
  • Link between personality, mental health and physical health
  • Stress and mental health in the aging adult

Background:

High to moderate stress levels lead to higher mortality rate

 

Michelle Barnhart, 541-737-1455; michelle.barnhart@bus.oregonstate.edu

Barn is an associate professor in the College of Business and studies consumer behavior. She can speak to issues around elderly behavior, including seniors and baby boomer consumer spending habits.

  • Consumer spending
  • Elderly and baby boomer shopping behavior
  • Marketing and advertising targeting senior consumers

Background:

Elderly go from being perceived as capable consumer to “old person”

 

Sally Bowman, 541-737-1020; sally.bowman@oregonstate.edu

Bowman is a professor of gerontology and a Family Development Specialist with OSU Extension. She studies gerontology (family caregiving), families in poverty, and rural community development. Bowman is a core director in OSU’s Hallie E. Ford Center for Healthy Children & Families in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

  • Family caregiving
  • Poverty and the elderly
  • Rural elderly issues
  • Hunger and food insecurity

Background:

OSU web site helps people find help when recession hits home

OSU publication helps ease decisions about nursing home

 

Courtney Campbell, 541-737-6196; ccampbell@oregonstate.edu

Campbell is a national expert on medical ethics and issues around physician-assisted suicide. He has authored numerous articles on Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act and on the Oregon Health Plan. He also authored papers on the ethical questions of human cloning and of research on human tissue. Campbell is the Hundere Professor in Religion and Culture in the College of Liberal Arts.

  • Medical ethics
  • Physician-assisted suicide
  • Death and end-of-life care issues

Background:

Hospice workers struggle on front lines of physician assisted death laws

 

Karen Hooker, 541-737-4336; khooker@oregonstate.edu

Hooker can discuss self and personality processes in understanding relationships between mental and physical health, coping, social support and health behaviors. Past work has examined spouse caregivers for people with Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. She is the Jo Anne Leonard Endowed Director of OSU’s Center for Healthy Aging Research and professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

  • Support systems for elderly
  • Support and issues for caregivers
  • Relationships and difficulties between seniors and their adult children

Background:

No more empty nest: middle-eged adults face family pressure on both sides

NSF awards $2.9 million for “aging sciences” program

 

Rick Settersten, 541-737-8902; Richard.settersten@oregonstate.edu

Settersten can speak about issues around aging and gender, how elderly are viewed in modern society, and senior social issues. He is also an expert on veteran issues, and can speak to the effects of military service on aging. He is the Hallie E. Ford Center Endowed Director and a member of the MacArthur Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood. Settersten is a professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

  • Military service on aging
  • Social policy for seniors
  • Gender and aging issues

Background:

Lower wages, lack of job opportunities means more Americans are delaying adulthood

Handbook of sociology of aging

  

Lifestyle/Physical Activity

Brad Cardinal, 541-737-2506; brad.cardinal@oregonstate.edu

Cardinal studies the social and psychological reasons why people do, or do not, exercise. He can speak to issues around metabolic syndrome, exercise routines, exercise and gender, the link between sleep and physical activity, and inactivity in aging populations. Cardinal is a professor of exercise science in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Exercise programs
  • Women and exercise
  • Exercise and gerontology

Background:

Women lack exercise, at risk of developing metabolic syndrome

Physical activity impacts overall quality of sleep

 

Urszula Iwaniec, 541-737-9925; Urszula.iwaniec@oregonstate.edu

Iwaniec is a researcher in OSU’s Skeletal Biology Laboratory. She studies skeletal health, specifically the link between bones and disease. Iwaniec can speak to how breast cancer spreads to bone and how diet, physical activity, and environment might control the spread of cancer. She is an associate professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

  • Bone health and healthy aging
  • Cancer and bones
  • Diet and its impact on bone health
  • Bone diseases, including osteoporosis

Background:

Moderate alcohol consumption may help prevent bone loss

Drug effective in treating, preventing breast cancer

 

Gianni Maddalozzo, 541-737-6802

Maddalozzo is an expert on specific resistance training programs to promote bone health, strength, lean muscle development across the lifespan, and postmenopausal osteoporosis. He can speak on how hormonal changes of menopause cause bone loss, fall prevention, and improving quality of life through exercise participation. He is a senior instructor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

  • Fall prevention
  • Whole body vibration training
  • Exercise programs for elderly adults

Background:

Tai-chi may help patients with Parkinson’s disease regain balance, reduce falls

Vibration exercise slows weight gain

 

Kathy Magnusson, 541-737-6923; Kathy.magnusson@oregonstate.edu

Magnusson is an expert in cognitive decline and loss of memory associated with aging. She studies the NMDA receptor, which is very important for the formation of memories, and declines that take place in this process with increasing age. She is a principal investigator in the Linus Pauling Institute and professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

  • Cognitive decline associated with age
  • The NMDA receptor
  • Possible ways to slow or prevent mental decline with age

Background:

Cognitive decline with age is normal, routine: but not inevitable

 

Michelle Odden, 541-737-3184; michelle.odden@oregonstate.edu

Odden is an epidemiologist and expert on preserving health at older age, and to reduce disability, morbidity, and mortality in elderly adults. She can speak on disease prevention, and the differences between normal aging and aging due to disease. She is an assistant professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

  • Cardiovascular disease prevention in elderly adults
  • Kidney disease prevention
  • High blood pressure in elderly adults
  • Loss of physical function in seniors

Background:

Frail, older adults with high blood pressure may have lower risk of mortality