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OBSSR Connector Monthly Newsletter

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) Connector Monthly Newsletter is a monthly e-newsletter featuring updates from OBSSR Director William T. Riley, Ph.D., information about behavioral and social sciences in the news, events and announcements, findings from recently published research, funding announcements, and other updates. The current newsletter is provided below.
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August 18, 2020

Director's Voice

Director's Voice

OBSSR launches the Training in Advanced Data and Analytics for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (TADA-BSSR) Program. I’m excited to announce that eight TADA-BSSR T32 grants were recently awarded, and these programs will initiate training for their first cohort of diverse trainees this Fall. These programs have already begun curricula development and will expand and refine their curricula over the next few years. They also will work together, sharing resources, holding cross-program webinar trainings, and providing their students with access to the faculty expertise and trainings available at each of their programs. Next June, they will hold their first summit on Behavioral and Social Science Research Training in Advanced Data Analytics.

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Research Spotlights

Findings from Recently Published Research

States that were slower to implement social-distancing orders saw higher COVID-19 death rates

States that were slower to implement social distancing orders saw higher COVID-19 death rates

As seen in the current Covid-19 pandemic, social distancing is encouraged to mitigate viral spreading during outbreaks, however, the association between distancing and patient-centered outcomes has not been previously demonstrated. Research supported by NHLBI capitalizes on the variation in state response to the Covid-19 pandemic (as defined by emergency declarations and school closures) to examine the relationship with the states’ response and Covid-19 mortality. The researchers estimate negative binomial regressions to test the association between timing of state emergency declarations and, separately, school closures, with mortality using 55,146 Covid-19 deaths.
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Senses can indicate dementia risk in older adults

Senses can indicate dementia risk in older adults

In a recent publication, researchers funded by NIA, NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research, NSF, and others, researchers developed a summary score for impairments in multiple senses (vision, hearing, taste, touch, smell) and evaluated its association with dementia in older adults. Previous research has indicated that sensory impairments are associated with dementia risk, but few studies have looked at the additive effects of multiple impairments in sensory function. The investigators studied a diverse group of older adults in the Health, Aging and Body Composition (Health ABC) Study, which is a prospective cohort study of well-functioning 3075 black and white women and men aged 70-79 years of age.
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Racial discrimination may negatively impact cognition in African American women

Racial discrimination may negatively impact cognition in African American women

A study supported by NCI, NIA, and the Alzheimer's Association, tested the hypothesis that frequency of racist experiences among African American women negatively impacts subjective cognition function (SCF). Previous studies have shown that African Americans have higher rates of incident dementia and Alzheimer's disease than Caucasian Americans. Additionally, older African Americans perform more poorly on neuropsychological tests of cognition compared to aged-matched Caucasian Americans of similar ages in many studies of community and clinical populations. While controlling for education and socioeconomic status, both independently associated with cognitive function, may attenuate observed racial disparities, it does not usually eliminate them.
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In the Know

Events and Announcements

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Funding Announcements

Recently Published FOAs

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Protocol Template for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research

Resource for communicating the science, methods, and operations of a clinical trial

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