The 2007 Chicago Biomeasures Workshop
5th Annual Chicago Biomeasures Workshop
Trends in Integrated Health and Aging Research: An International
Gathering of Population-Based Health and Aging Researchers"
At the Gleacher Center,
The University of
Sponsored by CCBAR, The Chicago Core on Biomarkers in
Population-Based Aging Research at the Center on Demography and
Economics of Aging, Population Research Center and MacLean Center for
Clinical Medical Ethics at The University of Chicago, in
collaboration with the National Institute on Aging.
Background and History
Funded by the
Behavioral and Social Research Program at the National Institute on
Aging, the Core on Biomarkers in Population-Based Aging Research
(CCBAR) hosts this annual workshop on issues pertinent to collection
and analysis of biomeasures in integrated population-based health and
aging research. In 2006, CCBAR was funded through a cooperative
agreement (U13 AG029700-01) to continue this Annual Workshop in
collaboration with NIA. The June 2007 meeting marks the 5th Annual
Chicago Biomeasures Workshop.
The workshop blends presentations by leading biomeasures experts with
panel discussion and general attendee discussion. The small size
and informal nature of the workshop allow ample opportunity for
discussion and networking. In an effort to draw innovation from
outside academe, the workshop also includes a "Translations" series
during the luncheon. Speakers in this series have included an FBI
special agent who spoke on the collection of biological data from crime
scenes, the first U.S. physician astronaut who discussed the technical
and technological challenges of collecting biological data from
astronauts in space and the sensitivity of such data, and a White House
Office on Science and Technology Policy representative who provided an
in-depth look at current biometric technologies and applications.
Goals of the Annual Workshop
integrated health and illness research in the population setting, many
areas of need exist. These include development of methodology for
analytic integration of biological and social data as well as methods
for streamlining collection of data in the population setting. There is
also a continual need to remain up to date on rapid advances in
clinical and laboratory science regarding the relation of key
biomeasures to the behavioral, psychosocial, economic, and
health-related variables of interest to population scientists.
Definition of Biomeasure
measures collected in the population setting can include direct
measures of physical or physiological characteristics (e.g. hip
circumference or blood pressure), functional testing (e.g. cognitive
function, balance, grip strength), or collection of specimens that
require laboratory processing in order to generate analyzable
data. Such data may also be generated via experiments embedded in
population studies (e.g. neuropsychiatric, psychophysiological, or
sensory testing). The term "biomarker" has commonly been
used by population researchers to describe "biological or physical
measurements collected from individuals through direct contact or
physical interaction with survey participants." (Manuel, Flintoff,
Glazer 1999). In clinical parlance, however, "biomarker" implies
an indicator of risk or marker of disease progress (e.g. cancer tumor
biomarkers are used to track response to chemotherapy). We
therefore use "biomeasure" as a higher-order term that encompasses
biomarkers of organic disease, physical condition or function, genetic
markers, and biological indicators of aging. Biomeasures also
include measures of the physical environment that influence human
biology (e.g. radiation or noise).
Definition of Integration
clinical, and laboratory researchers combine methodologies to expand
the study of human health and aging, unique analytic challenges
arise. The Workshop strives to provide a forum that promotes and
spotlights exemplary integrated analytic work. Integrated
analyses are those that are rooted in enjoined theoretical perspectives
and "combine biological or physical measurements with social variables
to explain an outcome" using population-based data (Mahay, York, Lindau
2005). Such analyses go beyond simple stratification of health
status or outcomes by sociodemographic variables or vice versa.
While growth is
one indicator of success, repeat annual attendance from lead
researchers demonstrates the ongoing value of the workshop. Diverse
attendance from disciplines across the social and biomedical sciences,
presents a major, unique draw to the workshop. Every year, we see an
increasingly broad range of attendees from across the social sciences
(e.g. sociology, anthropology, economics, public policy, political
science, demography, psychology) and both clinical and basic science
biomedicine (e.g. pediatrics, ob/gyn, internal medicine, geriatrics,
otolaryngology, dermatology, infectious disease, cardiology,
neuroscience, and epidemiology).
Large or Significant Studies Incorporating
Please visit the
CCBAR studies page at http://biomarkers.uchicago.edu/studiescollectingbiomarkers.htm
to reference a growing list.
discussions at each workshop build on previous workshops'
proceedings. To learn more:
- Manuel, D., Flintoft, V. and Glazer, D. (1999). An ICES Report:
Physical measures in population-based health surveys: Measures and
methods. Toronto: Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.
- Mahay J, York E, Lindau ST. Integrating Biological and Social
Data in the Study of Health: Benefits and Challenges. Presented by
Mahay at the 2005 Annual Meeting of the American Sociological
Association. Philadelphia, PA. August, 2005.