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Breaux Holds Hearing On Healthy Aging and Nutrition

Released: Tuesday, August 13, 2002

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Scott Mulhauser, Ryan McGinn
August 13, 2002 (202) 224-5364


WASHINGTON (Aug. 12)– Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, announced today he will hold a hearing at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge on Aug.15 to explore current scientific research in the areas of healthy aging, nutrition and longevity.

The Pennington Center was recently awarded a seven-year, $12.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the possible anti-aging benefits of a long-term calorie reduction. The largest single NIH research grant in the Pennington Center’s 14-year history, the study will look at whether a two-year calorie deficit reduces the risks of age-related chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, hypertension and type 2 diabetes.

Caloric restriction has been studied as a diet form for nearly 70 years. This diet was first shown to increase the life span of rats in the 1930's and was later shown to have a similar effect in other organisms. Today, scientists at NIH are studying the effects of caloric restriction on the life span of monkeys – animals that share 90 percent of their genetic make-up with humans. Witnesses will discuss the need for further research into caloric restriction to determine its efficacy and safety in helping humans live longer, more productive lives.

Witnesses expected to testify include:

• Pamela Starke-Reed, Ph.D., National Institutes of Health;
• Robert N. Butler, M.D., International Longevity Center-USA;
• Claude Bouchard, Ph.D., Pennington Biomedical Research Center;
• William H. Patrick, Jr., Ph.D., Baton Rouge, La.

Dr. Patrick is a 76-year-old professor who will discuss how good nutrition and physical fitness have had a positive impact on his life as he has grown older. He is currently the #2 ranked tennis player in his age group in Louisiana and was a member of the silver medal winning basketball team at the Senior Games held in Baton Rouge last year.

The hearing will be held at 10 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 15 at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, 6400 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, La. The Pennington Center can be reached at (225) 763-2500.

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The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the causes of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. Itis a campus of the Louisiana State University System and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at the Center includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 50 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dieticians, and support personnel, and 19 highly specialized core service facilities.  The Center's more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 234-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.