AFAR launches new aging research website, new Yankelovich poll supports need for aging information

October 31, 2000

Latest research on aging and its diseases premieres on Internet; targets graying baby boomers
New Yankelovich poll confirms hunger for reliable information

[New York, NY] The American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) today launched a new website,, which will provide easy access to authoritative and current scientific research on aging and age-related diseases and conditions.

"The general public--and especially graying baby boomers--are hungry for reliable information on aging, whether for themselves or for their aging parents," said Stephanie Lederman, AFAR executive director, in announcing the launch.

"Many baby boomers and their parents find the enormous amount of health and medical information on the web confusing and sometimes conflicting. Visitors to can trust that they will find credible information from the country's leading research laboratories and teaching hospitals." AFAR is a leading, national, nonprofit organization that supports basic aging research.

Indeed, a new poll commissioned for AFAR by Yankelovich Partners in October revealed that 86% of Internet users have sought-out online health and medical information. And they are not thrilled with what they are finding. The vast majority, 87%, rate this information as "good" or "fair" quality. Even though they are not happy with what they are finding, 42% are acting on that information. AFAR introduced at a round table discussion at the New York Academy of Sciences in New York City, where a panel of medical authorities discussed the impact of the web on the patient-doctor relationship and the challenges of finding reliable health information on the web. One of their patients, Natalie Gordon, 73, talked about her experience with Internet research to learn whether neurosurgery could relieve the pain her husband suffers as a result of spinal/lumbar injury, sciatica and nerve damage. Ms. Gordon is former director of social work at the Jewish Home for the Aged.

The panel, led by New York Times medical correspondent Gina Kolata, consisted of Dr. Ron Adelman of the New York Presbyterian Hospital and co-chief of the hospital's Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology; Dr. Christine Cassel, professor and chairman of the Henry L. Schwartz Department of Geriatrics and Adult Development at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and President-elect of AFAR; and Dr. Brian Strom, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

In remarks at the press conference, Ms. Lederman, the AFAR executive director, said will not accept advertising for products or services. "Credibility is a major objective of the new website," she said. "Keeping this kind of advertising away from the site assures visitors that they are getting information unbiased by the profit motives of sponsors."

Articles available through are selected and approved by utilizing a rigorous review process. The main features of the site include Diseases Centers with information on diabetes, osteoporosis and prostate cancer, among others; a section on the Biology of Aging with information on issues like oxidative damage and telomeres; and a Lifestyle Section with helpful information on topics like nutrition and exercise.

The site is funded by an educational grant from the Pfizer Inc., which does not have any role in the selection or development of content for the website and is not a member of's advisory board. "We welcome the corporate support of companies truly committed to informing and educating the general public about aging," Ms. Lederman said.

"The number of Americans age 65 and older will double, from 35 million currently to more than 70 million in the next 30 years," Ms. Lederman said. "We hope will become their authoritative alternative to what can otherwise be a maze of confusing and sometimes misleading information."

In addition to making research grants, AFAR also engages in initiatives to educate the general public about the aging process and research. Since its founding in 1981, AFAR has made grants of more than $47 million to more than 1,400 young researchers and students in the health care fields, to conduct biomedical studies on aging and age-related disease. Funds for the AFAR grants come from foundations, corporations and individuals. See email
For more information contact:
Peter Cleary

American Federation for Aging Research

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