tance of ethical issues in clinical care and research on aging, and added this topic to the agenda.
Four liaison teams aided the committee: basic biomedical research, clinical research, social and behavioral research, and health services delivery research. Each of the teams was comprised of experts in their respective fields. Recommendations on biomedical ethics were provided by two national authorities in this field.
The reports of the liaison teams (see Appendix B) served as a major resource for the committee's deliberations. Guidance also was provided by five senior advisors who have made major contributions to the field of health care. Lastly, advice from experts in private foundations, government, industry, national organizations, and scientific institutions was obtained. The report, although assisted by information provided by more than 150 authorities, is the product of the committee's critical analysis of information received and represents the independent decisions of the committee.
Committee members and liaison team leaders developed criteria to identify priority research topics. Although different fields of study emphasized different criteria, in general, priority research areas were selected for their potential to:
contribute to the understanding of the basic mechanisms of aging;
address problems of disability and functional impairment in older persons;
increase knowledge both of the interaction between disease and aging and of age-related diseases;
lower morbidity and mortality rates among older persons;
be implemented in a timely and feasible manner, with short-term goals achievable in 5 years or less and long-term goals achievable in 5 to 20 years;
lead to cost reduction in health care;
increase knowledge of behavioral and social factors in health and disease, and help older people maintain social as well as biological health;
improve pharmacologic treatments of patients; and
attend to relatively neglected areas of investigation.
The 1982 Toward an Independent Old Age: A National Plan for Research on Aging lists more than 350 research possibilities; the present committee 's agenda is restricted to 15 areas of priority research. As conceived, the research priorities listed in this report represent the conceptual issues that underlie the questions and specific propositions of research proposals. The committee notes