Clinical Research

The Duke Division of Geriatrics is at the forefront of clinical research that improves the functional status and wellbeing of older adults, increases the quality of long-term care, and improves hospice care delivery and advances knowledge of patient needs during end-of-life care.

Specific examples include:

  • Studies of pathways to functional decline have demonstrated the important contributions of age-related inflammation and coagulation activation to functional status.
  • Our research has explored the factors that influence use of end-of-life care among patients and families, including racial differences in the use of hospice care and end-of-life care.
  • We participated in a clinical trial that showed promise for a growth-hormone stimulator in increasing muscle mass and physical function in older adults.
  • Epidemiological and intervention studies of herpes zoster and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) have improved the care of elderly persons suffering from these two conditions.

Geriatric oncology is a long-standing area of interest. Previous studies have explored age-related patterns of disease presentation, treatment approaches, survivorship, quality of life, impact of comorbidities, and functional outcomes. Current work includes:

  • Duke is enrolling patients in a clinical trial that applies Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment tools to the evaluation and treatment of elderly patients with cancer.
  • Harvey Jay Cohen, MD, is co-chair of the Cancer in the Elderly Committee of Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB), a national clinical research group sponsored by the National Cancer Institute that brings together clinical oncologists and laboratory investigators to develop better treatments for cancer.