Nov. 30, 2001
Vol. 21 No. 6

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    Fogel, team get five-year NIA grant

    By Jessamine Chan
    News Office

    A team of researchers led by Robert Fogel, the Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor in the Graduate School of Business, has received a five-year, $8.2 million grant from the National Institute on Aging to continue their study of the relationships between the environment, the economy and quality of life.

    Prior findings have documented how environmental changes have delayed the onset of chronic diseases and significantly increased life expectancy, as well as what this means for the economy.

    Fogel, winner of the 1993 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, is director of the GSB’s Center for Population Economics, a research organization that forecasts trends in aging, health and retirement.

    Some findings from the project will be used to forecast health care costs, Fogel said. Other parts of the research will show how disease contracted later in life can either be avoided or deferred based on environmental improvements and appropriate biomedical interventions in the womb or during postnatal developmental ages.

    In 2002, Fogel will publish the latest findings from this project in a book titled The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death 1700-2100: Europe, America, and the Third World.

    Using data from 40,000 Union Army soldiers born between 1820 and 1849, the researchers have studied the impact of damaging economic and biomedical factors from early in life on the process of aging.

    Senior investigators on the project are economists who specialize in biodemography and physicians who specialize in epidemiology and nutrition. Dora Costa of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is co-leader. The other economists are Clayne Pope of Brigham Young University; Werner Troesken of the University of Pittsburgh; Sven Wilson of Brigham Young University; Chulhee Lee of Seoul National University; and Chen Song of Resolution Economics, LLC.

    Physician investigators are Nevin Scrimshaw, an emeritus institute professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Irwin Rosenberg of Tufts University; Charles Holmes of Harvard Medical School; and Louis Nguyen of Barnes Jewish Hospital, St. Louis.

    The National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health first awarded a grant to Fogel in 1991 for the project, titled “Early Indicators of Later Work Levels, Disease and Death.” This is the second renewal of the grant.