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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI, Rhode Island Geriatric Education Center to host Malford Thewlis Lecture

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What can centenarians teach us about healthy aging?


KINGSTON, R.I. – April 2, 2009 – What is the secret to living a long, healthy life?

Thomas Perls, director of the New England Centenarian Study and associate professor and researcher at the Boston University School of Medicine, believes he can provide some insight to the question. Perls will deliver his lecture “What Can Centenarians Teach Us About Healthy Aging” at the fourth-annual Malford Thewlis Lecture, which will be hosted by the University of Rhode Island Wednesday, April 8 at 3:30 p.m.

Perls will discuss findings from the New England Centenarian Study that have an impact upon how well we age and how long we can live. He also will discuss what he feels are false messages delivered by the anti-aging industry.

The lecture will be held in Edwards Auditorium and is free and open to the public. A reception will follow at the URI Alumni Center on Upper College Road from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Perls attended the University of Rochester School of Medicine followed by Harvard Medical School where he received his training as a geriatrician. He directs the New England Centenarian Study, which is the largest genetic and social study of centenarians and their families in the world (www.bumc.bu.edu/centenarian).

Perls is a well known and outspoken critic of the anti-aging industry and its marketing of purported nostrums and elixirs ranging from skin creams to growth hormone.

The annual lecture is named for Malford Thewlis, one of the founders of the American Geriatrics Society in 1942. A former resident of Wakefield, Thewlis wrote The Care of the Aged: Geriatrics, a 1919 textbook on geriatric medicine.

The program is sponsored by the URI College of Human Science and Services, the Program in Gerontology, The Rhode Island Geriatric Education Center and the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences/Senior Nutrition Awareness Project.

To RSVP for the reception, contact Judith Sweeney at 401.874.5311 or rigec_jsweeney@uri.edu. Check the RIGEC Web site at www.uri.edu/outreach/rigec or call 401.874.5311 for information regarding parking and directions.