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February 25, 2013

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Unprecedented Study Investigates Aging Well

The largest and most comprehensive study on health and aging ever undertaken in Canada is gathering momentum in Victoria with the official opening of a data collection site for the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) at the Gorge Road Hospital on Thursday, Feb. 28.

Researchers from the University of Victoria’s Centre on Aging will oversee data collected every three years from 3,000 Victoria residents aged 45-85 who will be randomly selected and invited to participate through home interviews and physical assessments. The Victoria site is also home to a computer-assisted telephone interviewing centre that will collect information from another 2,500 BC participants by phone.

The CLSA is a 20-year collaborative project involving 11 data collection sites at universities and research institutes across Canada. To date, more than 21,000 participants have been recruited, with a goal of 50,000 by 2015.

“The scope of this ambitious study is unprecedented and the timing is perfect since the numbers of older adults will double over the next two decades,” says Debra Sheets, an associate professor in UVic’s School of Nursing and the Centre on Aging’s CLSA site co-lead investigator in Victoria. “The CLSA will provide data that will help us better understand the factors that shape health and quality of life as people age.”

Media and the public are invited to an open house at the data collection site from 2-5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28 at the hospital, 63 Gorge Road East, 4th floor boardroom. The event will include tours of the clinic, as well as demonstrations of the state-of-the-art equipment and assessment tools.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) are funding the study, with additional support from provincial governments, affiliated universities and research institutions, and the Vancouver Island Health Authority in BC.

For more information on the CLSA, visit www.clsa-elcv.ca.

Media: Researchers and study participants will be available for interviews/photos.

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  Media Contacts:

Dr. Debra Sheets (Centre on Aging) at 250-853-3947 or dsheets@uvic.ca
Mitch Wright (UVic Communications) at 250-721-6139 or mwwright@uvic.ca
Laura Thompson (CLSA Communications) at 905-525-9140 ext. 21413 or lthomp@mcmaster.ca


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Weird Weather And Disappearing Arctic Sea Ice: Are They Connected?

Unprecedented snowfalls, the worst drought in generations, heat waves and flooding – extreme weather events are increasing in frequency and intensity all across the northern hemisphere.

At the same time, the sea ice cover in the Arctic is in accelerating decline. Alpine glaciers are disappearing, the snow cover on Arctic land hit record lows last spring, and in July the entire surface of Greenland melted for the first time in at least 150 years.

Are these rapid changes on top of the world linked to the rash of weird weather around the northern hemisphere? Did the Arctic changes contribute to the record rain in northern Europe and the UK last summer, and North America’s current unprecedented drought conditions?

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) is hosting a free public lecture with US climate scientist Dr. Jennifer Francis on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at the University of Victoria. Francis will present new research that points to climate change, specifically in the Arctic, as a culprit in fueling the increase in extreme weather.

Francis is a research professor with the Rutgers University Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences as well as co-founder of the Rutgers Climate and Environmental Change Initiative. Her research focuses on Arctic climate change and Arctic-global climate linkages.

“Arctic warming related to sea-ice loss and earlier snowmelt in the Far North is affecting the jet stream around the northern hemisphere, with potentially far-reaching effects on the weather,” Francis says.

Media are welcome to attend the lecture. Advance interviews are available on request.

WHAT:                  Free public lecture by Dr. Jennifer Francis, Rutgers University
WHEN:                 7:00 – 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013
WHERE:                Bob Wright Centre Room B150, University of Victoria
Live Webcast:     www.pics.uvic.ca/events/live-webcast

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  Media Contacts:

PICS Senior Communications Officer, Robyn Meyer at 250-588-4053 or rmeyer@uvic.ca



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