Hookie eagerly volunteered for the study, where investigators are seeking to reduce the risks of falls and promote safe, independent mobility for older adults through transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). This type of non-invasive brain stimulation holds promise as a novel intervention for improving walking, balance, and even cognition among older individuals.
Eran Metzger, M.D., is the medical director of psychiatry at Hebrew SeniorLife working in the department of medicine. I sat down with him to learn more about his work with patients, the areas he’s researching, and why he’s committed to teaching the next generation of psychiatrists.
Dr. Metzger is board certified in psychiatry. He received his bachelor of arts from Haverford College in Pennsylvania and Doctor of Medicine from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. He completed his internship at Brockton Hospital and his psychiatry residency and fellowship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. After several years, he became medical director of an inpatient medical psychiatric unit at Beth Israel.
People 65 years old and older take prescribed medications more frequently than any other age group in the United States. Medications can play a critical role in quality of life for older adults, but often times, prescribed medications can cause unintentional harm. Sarah Berry, M.D., M.P.H. is Associate Director, Musculoskeletal Research Center at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research, and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. She is studying risk and benefit factors for certain drug therapies among nursing home populations.
In recognition of the generosity and dedication of Hinda and Arthur Marcus, HSL’s research division, formerly known as the Institute for Aging Research (IFAR), will now be called the Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research.
Hinda’s investment in aging research began 40 years ago when Marcus Institute Director Dr. Lewis Lipsitz was caring for her late husband at Beth Israel Hospital. She began by funding a highly impactful cardiac research program and continued to deepen her involvement through the years.
“I am so moved by this gift. A career-long relationship with the Marcuses has resulted in a profound collaboration that will impact seniors around the world,” says Dr. Lipsitz.
In the doctor's office, examining how an older adult walks can reveal a lot. It captures a snapshot of overall functioning and well-being, provides insight into patient mobility and independence, and foresight into fall risk, hospitalization, and disability.
Believe it or not, walking is not an automated task – it is highly complex! It relies upon the full spectrum of our body’s systems: the heart and lungs, the bones, joints, and muscles, the nerves, and our brain and spine. But when one of these systems weakens or fails, the brain is needed even more to compensate.
Everyone knows that a hospital visit can be stressful for even the healthiest person. But what you may not know, is that many patients - seniors especially - can be severely affected by the stress of a hospital visit or stay, and can often end up displaying signs of delirium. Delirium is a state of confusion that can develop following illness, infection or surgery, and is one of the most common complications in hospitalized patients over age 65.
Though delirium itself is temporary, it has serious long-term effects. The good news is, in many cases, there are relatively simple ways that hospital staff and family members can work together to prevent delirium.
The Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) is one of the few research institutions in the country translating clinical and health services research discoveries into interventions that improve the experience of aging.
“Most advances in medicine come from clinical trials,” says Susan Mitchell, M.D., M.P.H., senior scientist and director of Palliative Care Research at IFAR. “But many of the interventions that we are examining can be more complex than testing a pill,” she explains.
Every morning I wake up and stare inquisitively at myself in the mirror. And every morning, someone who looks alarmingly like my mother stares right back.
Now to be fair, I’ve always born a striking resemblance to my mom, though it seems to intensify with each passing day. She and I also share similar voices, similar handwriting, and the same inability to turn down anything made with chocolate.
And now, according to researchers at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) along with several other institutions, my mother and I will most likely share similar chances of developing sarcopenia in our later years.