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Emerging Research: Healthy Aging

(Left to right) Orthopedic surgeon Joshua Jacobs, MD; scientist Deborah J. Hall; and researcher Robert Urban, PhD, work to engineer longer-lasting joint replacements.

Philanthropy from Rush’s generous donors contributed more than $11 million to these studies and others in fiscal year 2014 alone.

Humans today are living longer than ever. Some scientists believe that the first person to reach age 150 has already been born. But how can we maintain our health, retain our mobility and stave off diseases associated with aging in order to make the most of these extra years?

Rush is tackling health issues associated with aging from every angle, drawing together researchers and clinicians from across disease areas. The following are just a few examples of innovative work at Rush aimed at improving health and preventing disease.

Bone and joint researchers and clinicians at Rush are working to engineer a joint implant that will last 30 years or longer, minimizing the need for revisions and ensuring that patients can stay active and pain-free even longer. Meanwhile, novel osteoarthritis research at Rush aims to limit joint pain and inflammation, improve joint function and even stop the progression of arthritis.

Some 80 percent of us will live with low back or neck pain at some point. Clinicians and researchers in Rush’s renowned spine program are trying to pinpoint the sources of back pain and spine degeneration and engineer effective treatments, from studying stem cell treatments that could regenerate intervertebral discs to developing new nonsurgical and minimally invasive treatments.

We all know that diet and exercise are good for our bodies, but they’re also good for our brains. Clinician-researchers in the Rush Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Program have found that regular exercise lessens the severity of motor symptoms associated with Parkinson’s. And researchers at Rush have developed a special diet — the MIND Diet — that can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 53 percent.

These collaborative efforts will not only help us deal with the problems of today, but also solve the problems of tomorrow.

To learn more about supporting research at Rush, contact Martha Nosal at (312) 942-5467 or martha_nosal@rush.edu.

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