How did household size & virtual contact impact anxiety levels associated with social distancing during COVID-19 in rural South Africa?

A study by researchers affiliated with the national study Health and Aging in Africa: Longitudinal Studies in South Africa (HAALSA) based on data from a phone survey reveals that although declines in social interaction were associated with increased anxiety levels among both men and women in rural South Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic, women living in larger households seemed to be especially impacted. “For women, living in larger households may…

Exploring the link between an optimistic attitude and physical functioning as women age

Bell Fellow Hayami Koga, along with Harvard Pop Center faculty members David Williams and Laura Kubzansky and their colleagues, have published a study in JAMA Psychiatry on the association between optimism and physical functioning among older women finding higher levels of optimism to be linked with better performance at baseline (grip strength and standing mobility) and slower rates of decline in several measures over a six-year period. Read about their…

Three “Conversations” that tell the story of health and aging in rural South Africa

HAALSA letters with South African images behind them

Physicians, professors and research scientists affiliated with Health and Aging in Africa: Longitudinal Studies in South Africa (HAALSA)—the ten-year (and counting) project that has been following a cohort that started as 5,000 men and women aged 40 and over—have penned three pieces in The Conversation that delve into unique aspects of this burgeoning population: Pioneering researchers Stephen Tollman and Kathleen Kahn from the University of the Witwatersrand reflect back on…

How can socioeconomic-based cardiovascular disease disparities in low- and middle-income countries be reduced?

A study published in Nature Medicine by HCPDS graduate student affiliate Dorit Stein, and other HCPDS affiliates including Till Bärnighausen, Maja Marcus, Jennifer Manne-Goehler, Nikkil Sudharsanan, and Stephane Verguet (along with their colleagues) simulates that improvements in hypertension management has greater impact “among bottom wealth quintiles in middle-income countries and in countries with larger baseline disparities in hypertension management.”

Does the link between dementia and increased risk of COVID-19 that has been observed in wealthier countries exist in LMICs?

HAALSI letters with images from project

Researchers affiliated with HAALSI, a longitudinal study on health and aging in South Africa, have published a novel study that investigates the link between cohort-derived dementia (using a predictive model for dementia) and confirmed COVID-19 infection in a low- and middle-income, rural, community setting. Findings point to the risk of COVID-19 being doubled for those who received a consensus-based dementia diagnosis.

New York Times cites research by Koga & Kubzansky on why positive mind-set is one of the most powerful of their “7 Keys to Longevity”

The 7th “Key to Longevity” (“Cultivate a positive mind-set”) in this NYT piece is laced with links to research by our postdoc fellow, Hayami Koga, and faculty member Laura Kubzansky (& their colleagues) that supports the case for why a positive mind-set is right up there with physical activity when it comes to healthy practices that are associated with longevity.

What’s to blame for the lagging U.S life expectancy? A closer look at mid-life ‘deaths of despair’ and retirement-age chronic disease

Head shot of Leah Abrams

Recent Sloan Fellow on Aging and Work Leah Abrams, PhD, is lead author on A Brief Report published in PNAS Demography that explores what could be driving the troubling status of U.S. life expectancy which has been stagnating since 2010. Abrams and her colleagues find chronic disease at the time of retirement to be a bigger factor than the ‘deaths of despair’ (drug overdose, alcohol abuse, and suicide) that have…

Lisa Berkman presents at PAA’s Capital Hill briefing on aging baby boomer generation’s prospects of working longer

Lisa Berkman presenting at PAA congressional briefing

Lisa Berkman, Harvard Pop Center Director and President of the Population Association of America (PAA), participated in a Capital Hill briefing titled “Happy Birthday, Baby—Boomers!”  A panel of population scientists explored the social and economic policy impacts of an aging population and workforce before an audience of congressional staff. The briefing, sponsored by PAA, along with the Association of Population Centers (APC), is summarized on the PAA website and includes…

Study evaluating telomeres finds aging- and health-related biomarkers in low-income country to be similar to those found in high-income countries

HAALSI letters with images from project

Scientists affiliated with Health and Aging in Africa: A Longitudinal Study in South Africa (HAALSI) have found that telomere length is associated with health and aging biomarkers (e.g., age, mortality, blood pressure) in much the same way that they are associated with these biomarkers in more frequently studied high-income countries.

Decade-long research project that explores aging in South Africa receives NIH/NIA funding for new waves & national expansion, with special focus on cognitive health

HAALSI letters with images from project

Researchers from The Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies (HCPDS), the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the University of the Witwatersrand, and the University of Cape Town have been awarded 27 million dollars from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) to further the collaborative program project Health and Aging in Africa: A Longitudinal Study in South Africa (HAALSI). This is the largest grant to be administered through…