The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) -- the nation's largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging -- has chosen Stuart W.S. MacDonald, PhD, of the University of Victoria as the 2013 recipient of the Margret M. and Paul B. Baltes Foundation Award in Behavioral and Social Gerontology.
This distinguished honor, given annually, recognizes outstanding early career contributions in behavioral and social gerontology. Individuals who have received their doctorate within the last ten years are eligible. The award is given by GSA in conjunction with the Margret M. and Paul B. Baltes Foundation.
The award presentation will take place at GSA's 66th Annual Scientific Meeting, which will be held from November 20 to 24 in San Diego. This conference is organized to foster interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers, educators, and practitioners who specialize in the study of the aging process. Visit http://www.
MacDonald is an associate professor and Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar in the Department of Psychology at the University of Victoria. His research focuses on cognitive aging and early identification of those at risk for cognitive decline and disease, such as Alzheimer's disease.
He examines patterns and predictors of cognitive decline in older adults, paying particular attention to variability, or inconsistency, in responses over time. His research suggests that variability in response profiles may be more sensitive than mean performance for early identification of those at risk of cognitive decline, dementia, or death. Recently he expanded this research to include variability in physiological function and brain activity.
MacDonald is a long-standing member and now co-investigator of the Victoria Longitudinal Study, and a collaborator of the Aging Research Center at the Karolinska Institute. He also leads the PREVENT study at the University of Victoria, the goal of which is to search for markers, both biological and behavioral, that may be present before the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease begin to show.
He and his team are now able to detect the first signs of decline up to eight to ten years in advance of diagnosis. With improved methods, he hopes to push back early detection even more. By focusing on markers of biological vs. chronological age, MacDonald's research targets changes in critical physiological processes that may more accurately index the progression from normal to pathological cognitive aging. If his lab is successful at identifying early markers, they will be able to facilitate targeted intervention strategies very early on in the disease trajectory.
The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society -- and its 5,400+ members -- is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA's structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational branch, the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education.