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The National Child Development Study (NCDS) is a longitudinal study which follows the lives of 17,000 people born in England, Scotland and Wales in a single week of 1958. Also known as the 1958 Birth Cohort Study, it collects information on physical and educational development, economic circumstances, employment, family life, health behaviour, wellbeing, social participation and attitudes.

Since the birth survey in 1958, there have been nine further ‘sweeps’ of all cohort members at ages 7, 11, 16, 23, 33, 42, 46, 50 and 55. In 2003 (at age 45), 9,000 cohort members also participated in a special bio-medical survey to learn more about how development, environments and lifestyles affect people’s health. CLS will carry out a new survey of the NCDS cohort at age 60 in 2018.

NCDS is part of CLOSER (Cohort & Longitudinal Studies Enhancement Resources) which aims to maximise the use, value and impact of the UK’s longitudinal studies.

LifeGene is a national collaborative project designed to build up a resource for research in all medical disciplines, enabling new and groundbreaking research on the relationships among heredity, environment and lifestyle. The study includes studying several hundred thousand Swedes with the aim of creating new tools to prevent, diagnose and treat our most common diseases. LifeGene constitutes a platform for a myriad of biomedical research projects. Researchers not only in biomedicine and biotechnology but also behavioral and social sciences may benefit from access to LifeGene. By combining a biological perspective with e-epidemiology, LifeGene opens up new possibilities for a greater understanding of the interplay between heredity, lifestyle and the environment as regards to our most common diseases.

The Nurses’ Health Study II (NHS II) was established by Dr. Walter Willett and colleagues in 1989 with funding from the National Institutes of Health to study oral contraceptives, diet, and lifestyle risk factors in a population younger than the original NHS cohort.

Why a new cohort of nurses?
This younger generation of nurses included women who started using oral contraceptives during adolescence and were thus maximally exposed during their early reproductive life. Several case-control studies suggesting such exposures might be associated with substantial increases in breast cancer risk provided a particularly strong justification for investment in this large cohort. Researchers also planned to collect detailed information on the types of oral contraceptives used, which was not obtained in the Nurses’ Health Study.

In addition, NHS II obtained information on physical activity and diet in adolescence and early adult life.

The West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study: ‘Health in the community’ was set up in 1986 in order to investigate the reasons for differences in health by socio-economic circumstances, gender, the place where people live, age, ethnic group and family type.

The basic design of the Study involved recruiting three cohorts (groups) of volunteers, each group born twenty years apart. Members of the oldest cohort were born around 1932, those in the middle cohort were born in 1952, and those in the youngest cohort were born in 1972. A total of 4,510 people agreed to take part, and have been followed for 20 years. The final wave of data collection was completed in 2008. This means that when the Study began (1987/8) participants were 15, 35 or 55 years old, and by the end of the Study (2007/8), participants were 35, 55 and 75 years old.
The data collected are extensive and include self-reported mental and physical health (including chronic conditions, medications, disabilities); physical measures; biomarkers; cognition; life circumstances (including employment, housing, family); health behaviours; beliefs, attitudes and values. The cohort is being followed up for mortality using linkage to national records. Any data on neurodegenerative disease are from self-reported health and / or death certificates.
A full description of the cohort profile is available in the following publication: Cohort Profile: West of Scotland 20-07 study: health in the community. International Journal of Epidemiology 2009;38:1215-23

The NLSY 1979 Cohort is a longitudinal project that follows the lives of 12,686 American youth born between 1957 and 1964. The study was intended to be representative of United States residents, both male and female. It observes the life-course experiences of young adults who were finishing their schooling and were making decisions about education and training, entering the labour market, military service, marriage, and having families. Cohort members are now in their 50s and survey content has turned to age-appropriate topics including health and retirement expectations.

Yearly personal interviews were conducted from 1979 – 1986. In 1987, a telephone interview was conducted. Personal interviews resumed in 1988 and continued yearly until 1994. Since 1994, NLSY79 participants have been interviewed in even-numbered years.

The original study (1969-73) had five main objectives: (i) to study the relationship of birth weight (BW) and gestational age (GA) to infant mortality and the incidence of congenital defects; (ii) to study maternal blood pressure before and during pregnancy and the incidence of toxaemia; (iii) to assess the effects of parental consanguinity on reproductive outcomes; (iv) to examine the impact of family planning programmes on fertility and (v) to estimate rates of foetal loss, and neonatal, infant and early childhood mortality.1 The subsequent follow-up studies focused on the effects of prenatal factors BW and GA on physical growth and development and mortality during childhood and adolescence.

For the follow-up in young adulthood (1998-2002), the main objective was to study glucose tolerance, insulin resistance and insulin secretion and a range of cardiovascular risk factors (body composition, blood pressure and plasma lipid concentrations) in relation to parental size, neonatal size and childhood growth.

The Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Study (CLHLS) is a large-scale population-based study on health status and quality of life of the elderly in 23 provinces (out of 31 provinces) of China since 1998 with 8 waves so far. The study covers approximately 85% of the total population of China and was conducted to shed light on the determinants of human healthy longevity. The CLHLS tried to interview all consenting centenarians in the sampled counties and cities. For each centenarian interviewee, compatible nearby un-related elderly and younger participants were interviewed, including about one nonagenarian aged 90-99, one octogenarian aged 80-89, 1.5 young-old adult aged 65-79 and 0.7 middle-aged adult aged 40-64. Detailed longitudinal data on physical and mental health, cognitive function, social participation, etc. at old ages were collected from a total of 96,805 face-to-face interviews with 16,557 centenarians, 23,081 nonagenarians, 25,842 octogenarians, 19,650 younger elders aged 65-79, and 11,675 aged 35-64 in the completed 7 waves from 1998 to 2014. For the 26,701 participants who died between these seven waves, data on mortality and quality of life before death (i.e., degree/length of disability and suffering before death) were collected in interviews with a close family member of the deceased. The completed seven waves of CLHLS had collected DNA samples from 24,693 participants, including 4,849 centenarians, 5,190 nonagenarians, 5,274 octogenarians, 4,770 aged 65-79, and 4,609 aged 40-64. The 8th wave of CLHLS is ongoing and expected to be completed by the end of July 2018.

A family-based cohort study that is embedded in the Genetic Research in Isolated Populations (GRIP) program in the South West of the Netherlands. The aim of this program was to identify genetic risk factors in the development of complex disorders. For the ERF study, 22 families that had at least five children baptized in the community church between 1850-1900 were identified with the help of genealogical records. All living descendants of these couples and their spouses were invited to take part in the study. Data collection started in June 2002 and was finished in February 2005 (n=2065).

The primary objective of the Jackson Heart Study is to investigate the causes of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in African Americans to learn how to best prevent this group of diseases in the future.

Specific objectives include:
• Identification of factors, which influence the development, and worsening of CVD in African Americans, with an emphasis on manifestations related to high blood pressure (such as remodeling of the left ventricle of the heart, coronary artery disease, heart failure, stroke, and disorders affecting the blood vessels of the kidney).
• Building research capabilities in minority institutions at the undergraduate and graduate level by developing partnerships between minority and majority institutions and enhancing participation of minority investigators in large-scale epidemiologic studies.
• Attracting minority students to and preparing them for careers in health sciences.

The Jackson Heart Study conducted three cohort examinations, an initial clinic examination from 2000 to 2004 (Exam1), followed by a second exam from 2005 to 2008 (Exam 2) and a final exam in 2009 to 2013 (Exam 3). Starting in 2001, participants have been contacted annually, and ascertainment of hospitalizations for cardiovascular events and deaths is ongoing.

The Longitudinal Study of Generations (LSOG), initiated in 1971, began as a survey of intergenerational relations among 300 three-generation California families with grandparents (then in their sixties), middle-aged parents (then in their early forties), and grandchildren (then aged 15 to 26). The study broadened in 1991 and now includes a fourth generation, the great-grandchildren of these same families.

The study objectives were:

• To track life-course trajectories of family intergenerational solidarity and conflict over three decades of adulthood, and across successive generations of family members;
• To identify how intergenerational solidarity and conflict influence the well-being of family members throughout the adult life-course and across successive generations;
• To chart the effects of socio-historical change on families, intergenerational relationships, and individual life-course development during the past three decades;
• To examine women’s roles and relationships in multigenerational families over 30 years of rapid change in the social trajectories of women’s lives.

The Longitudinal Study of Generations (LSOG), initiated in 1971, began as a survey of intergenerational relations among 300 three-generation California families with grandparents (then in their sixties), middle-aged parents (then in their early forties), and grandchildren (then aged 15 to 26). The study broadened in 1991 and now includes a fourth generation, the great-grandchildren of these same families.