TPR’s Think Health Science series: Aging with Vitality

Senior adult kicking a soccer ball on playground. elderly, aging,

It’s no secret that the U.S. population is aging rapidly. No one is immune. And with aging comes frailty, disease, disabilities, memory loss and more. But what if ….

What if life could be lived with vigor and vitality throughout your lifespan? What if you could grow older in a healthy and wholesome manner? That’s the goal of UT Health’s Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies and the subject of a Texas Public Radio Think Health Science presentation on March 21.

Nicolas Musi, M.D.
Nicolas Musi, M.D.

The discussion, set for 7 p.m. in Pestana Lecture Hall, will feature two of the Barshop’s premiere researchers: Nicolas Musi, M.D., and Sara E. Espinoza, M.D., M.Sc., AGSF.

Dr. Musi, who also directs the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center in the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, is a renowned physician-scientist. After his residency at the University of Miami, he was invited to a prestigious endocrinology and diabetes fellowship at the Harvard program of the Joslin Diabetes Center and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

In 2003 he accepted an offer to join the School of Medicine at the Health Science Center. San Antonio’s demographics, as well as the outstanding translational programs in diabetes at the Health Science Center, piqued his interests. He immediately became immersed in the aging research at the Barshop Institute.

His research is varied, with multiple programs going on at any given time. One of his programs is investigating the effects of exercise on tiny cellular power plants called mitrochondria. Last month, as part of a collaboration with UT Medical Branch at Galveston, Dr. Musi received a grant of $4.5 million over six years from the prestigious National Institutes of Health to study how exercise changes the body at the molecular level.

Sara E. Espinoza, M.D.
Sara E. Espinoza, M.D.

Dr. Espinoza’s research focuses on understanding frailty, an important clinical geriatric syndrome that causes older adults to be at risk for falls, disability, nursing home placement, and death. She will highlight diabetes as a major risk factor for frailty and discuss her current study, which is examining whether metformin, a drug commonly used to treat diabetes, can prevent frailty in older adults who have pre- diabetes.

Dr. Espinoza received her medical degree from the University of Virginia and completed her residency at Strong Memorial Hospital, University of Rochester Medical Center. Her clinical fellowship in geriatric medicine was at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

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