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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 27, 2004

Kregel To Discuss 'Radical' Research On Aging Oct. 2

The fastest growing segment of the U.S. population is age 65 years and older. By the year 2025, there will be twice as many 65-year-olds as teen-agers. More than 50 percent of the "baby boom" generation is projected to live to be centenarians.

As longer life span becomes a reality, interest is growing in quality of life and enhancing productivity among the aging population. Kevin Kregel, a professor of exercise science in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will share his experiences studying the aging process, speaking on "100 Years and Counting: A 'Radical' View of the Science of Aging," on Saturday, Oct. 2, at 10 a.m. in Room 40, Schaeffer Hall. This lecture and discussion session is free and open to the public as part of the college's annual Saturday Scholars series.

In a preview of his Oct. 2 presentation, Kregel will be a guest on "Talk of Iowa," WSUI, AM-910 and WOI, AM-640 Thursday, Sept. 30 at 10 a.m.

Aging is associated with a decline in physiological function and an increased prevalence of numerous diseases. The physical slowdown we attribute to age is  thought to be caused, at least in part, by oxygen -- the very source of life on Earth, Kregel says. A group of molecules called "free radicals" - which are by-products of normal oxygen usage inside cells - has been associated both the aging process per se and with a range of age-related diseases, including cancer, atherosclerosis, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.

Kregel's NIH-funded laboratory is studying how aging is impacted by oxidative stress, a harmful condition that occurs due to an excess of free radicals. These free radicals can damage the primary components of a cell -- DNA, proteins, and lipids -- leading to serious dysfunctions.

Kregel's research is also focused on the mechanisms contributing to the reduced ability of older individuals to tolerate physical challenges such as excess heat. He will highlight some of his laboratory's findings at the basic science level as well as data related to the high mortality rates seen in older populations that have accompanied recent high-profile heat waves in the U.S. and Europe.

Kregel joined the UI faculty in 1993, returning to his alma mater after six years as a postdoctoral fellow and assistant professor at the University of Arizona. He holds a secondary appointment in the Free Radical and Radiation Biology Program in the Department of Radiation Oncology.

Saturday Scholars was developed by Linda Maxson, dean of the UI College of  Liberal Arts and Sciences, to give members of the public a chance to hear about the latest teaching and research innovations by faculty members in the college. The sessions last about an hour, including a 20-30 minute presentation followed by time for questions. Refreshments are served. All presentations begin at 10 a.m. in Room 40, Schaeffer Hall, the southeast building on the UI Pentacrest. Additional information is available at http://www.clas.uiowa.edu/

Upcoming lectures in the Saturday Scholars series include:

Oct. 9: "Broadway Starmaking at the Turn of the Last Century," Kim Marra, Department of Theatre Arts, Division of Performing Arts

Oct. 23: "Marketing Culture: Native Amazonians in the Public Sphere," Laura Graham, Department of Anthropology

Oct. 30: "Immigrants' America: Then and Now," Shelton Stromquist, Department of History

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in advance at 319-335-2610.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011, mary-kenyon@uiowa.edu.