Mac researchers come together to tackle issues in aging

By Kara Aaserud, October 2, 2017

Can cognitive age predict the use of Fitbits and other wearable devices in older adults? How can better understanding of bone density at the nanoscale lead to longer-lasting hip and knee implants? Can smart joint technology predict risk for falling and other mobility-related issues?

These are just some of the questions researchers from across McMaster’s Faculties will use as launching points for new projects that have received funding from the Labarge Centre for Mobility in Aging (LCMA) within the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA).

The Associate Deans (Research) in the Faculties of Business, Engineering, Science, Humanities, Social Sciences and Health Sciences identified projects that showed promise in driving growth and excellence in aging research, specifically around mobility. Each project was required to have collaborators from a minimum of three Faculties.

“The recipients of these grants will be well-positioned to develop research initiatives in areas that will have a lasting impact on our aging population,” said Parminder Raina, Scientific Director of MIRA and LCMA.

Funding for these projects comes from a gift from McMaster’s chancellor, Suzanne Labarge, which was intended to stimulate interdisciplinary collaboration in areas that impact the mobility of older adults. These include, but are not limited to, physiological, social, structural and community elements.

More than $300,000 was awarded in total, which includes additional financial contributions from all six Faculties.

“Funding from MIRA and the Labarge Centre for Mobility in Aging will contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the challenges older adults in rural areas face when it comes to their travel options and behaviours, with research outcomes enabling improved transportation planning” said Bruce Newbold, professor in the School of Geography and Earth Sciences and principal investigator of one of the projects.

Newbold’s project will examine the health, social and economic implications of driving cessation among older adults in rural areas and small towns.

“This funding will be instrumental in helping Canadians better understand the complexities of mobility impairment as we age,” said Chris Verschoor, assistant professor, pathology and molecular medicine and principal investigator of another approved project.

Each approved project was eligible for up to $40,000 in funding and required at least $5,000 in matching funds from other sources. The complete list of funded projects can be found here.

For more information about the Labarge Centre for Mobility in Aging and the McMaster Institute for Research in Aging, visit mira.mcmaster.ca.