January 24, 2012
WORLD-CLASS FILIPINO DOCTOR TO HEAD PHL AGEING INSTITUTE
Senator Edgardo J. Angara has tapped world-renowned Filipino doctor Dr. Patricio F. Reyes, FAAN to head the Philippine Institute for Ageing (PIA) sought to be established through Senate Bill No. 2982 which he authored.
Dr. Reyes, a UP-PGH alumnus, is a US-based board-certified neurologist and neuropathologist. He is a pioneer of research and pharmaceutical development in the fields of ageing, Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. He currently heads the Center for Dementia and Alzheimer Care at HealthPartners and Region Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota. Dr. Reyes has expressed his willingness to play a pivotal role in the creation of the proposed pioneering institute.
"The Philippine population will eventually age--the ratio of elderly to working-age will shoot up in several years' time," said Angara, citing the 6.8 million senior citizens in the country today, a number expected to double by 2040. "We need to prepare early for this inevitable demographic transformation by establishing the necessary infrastructure to address these future needs, including recruiting the best doctors to spearhead the effort."
Angara hopes to model the Philippine Institute for Ageing after the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, a Japan-based research center founded in 1972, considered a pioneer in the field of gerontological research.
"The Tokyo Metropolitan Institute continues to generate innovative methods to deal with the aging population," lauded Angara, who visited the Institute earlier this month. "They go beyond the medical aspect of ageing--they also focus on the human aspect in their research."
An example of such methods is the Research of Productivity by Intergenerational Sympathy (REPRINTS). This does not only encourage the elderly to engage in physical activities such as walking and reading books to children; it also promotes caring interaction between the youth and the elderly. The study has been proven to increase the 'giving-aspect' attitude of young people toward the elderly.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Institute has generously agreed to provide assistance for the establishment of the Philippine Institute for Ageing, and is willing to promote collaborations between our two countries through research exchange and field work opportunities for Filipino students.
Once established, the Philippine Institute for Ageing will be under the University of the Philippines-Manila, the country's premier medical school, which also houses the Philippine General Hospital.
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