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Mikulski Visits NIA in Baltimore

By Suzanne Lewis

U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) toured three laboratories and held a press conference recently at the National Institute on Aging Gerontology Research Center in Baltimore. She spoke with investigators about Alzheimer's disease, the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging research on the cardiovascular system and about using cDNA arrays in genetic studies.

"I am impressed by the advances that NIA scientists have made in Alzheimer's and aging research," she said. "One of the first things we need to do is find treatments and ultimately cures for many of the diseases that plague our senior citizens."

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (third from l) recently visited NIA's Gerontology Research Center in Baltimore. On hand for her tour and press conference were (from l) student Shawnte White, Dr. David Schlessinger, chief of the Laboratory of Genetics, and Dr. Kevin Becker, Research Resources Branch.

Following the tour, Mikulski met with Marie Kroen, a 100-year-old resident of the Johns Hopkins Geriatrics Center, and her daughter-in-law and caregiver, Hazel Kroen. Marie, who lived alone until she was 99, reminisced with Mikulski about growing up in Baltimore's Highlandtown where she shopped in the Mikulski family's small grocery store (long since closed) on Eaton Street, a few steps away from the senator's childhood rowhouse.

A press conference followed where Mikulski announced her stand on two issues in the aging arena — an additional provision for caregivers in the Older Americans Act and her intention to propose doubling NIH's budget, and the research on aging budget, over the next 5 years.

The senator, who had been a caregiver herself as her father suffered and died from Alzheimer's disease, passionately described her stand on aging and caregiving issues. She said with the passage of additions to the Older Americans Act, caregivers would receive tax breaks and one-stop shopping for information they need for services and support.

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