FRIDAY, March 15, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Authors of a paper recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society describe factors that influenced the new National Institute of Health policy that requires funded scholars to eliminate arbitrary age limits in their work.

Camille P. Vaughan, M.D., from Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues explore how age-related changes to the NIH research policy came to be. Assessments included the National Institutes of Health 2017 workshop on inclusion policies and the resulting report, as well as the advocacy of the American Geriatrics Society.

The authors report that AGS advocacy “clearly impacted” the resulting workshop report and the Inclusion Across the Lifespan policy, which eliminates upper-age limits for research participation unless risk-justified and changes the language used to describe older adults and other vulnerable groups. However, some AGS recommendations were not included in the updated policy (e.g., encouraging active recruitment of older adults, adding standard measures of function and/or frailty, and changing review criteria to ensure the health status of a study population mirrors typical clinical populations).

“Advances in health and medicine aren’t just about discovering new treatments; they’re also about uncovering how those treatments improve health, safety, and independence for unique individuals — including older adults,” Vaughan said in a statement. “The NIH is taking an important step toward ensuring research reflects reality.”

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