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 Nurses’ Health Study is a longitudinal population study aimed initially to examine the relation between the use of oral contraceptives, cigarette smoking, and risk of major illnesses in women, mainly cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Since then, the study broadened to include the evaluation of health consequences of many lifestyle practices, including diet, physical activity, and specific forms of hormone therapy.

The participants are registered nurses, aged 30 to 55 years and married at the time of recruitment in 1976, and who lived in the 11 most populous states (California, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas).

The Prospective Epidemiological Risk Factor (PERF) Study is an ambidirectional population-based study of postmenopausal women set up with the purpose of obtaining a better understanding of the aetiology and pathogenesis of age-related diseases. Participants were recruited from a source population of 8875 women residing in Denmark. The baseline examination (PERF I) comprised 5855 women with mean age of 70.8 years (49.7-88.8) and took place between 1999 and 2001. All subjects have been followed up with registry linkage using population-based national registries. Further, a subcohort was re-invited to attend a follow-up visit between 2013 and 2014 (PERF II). Registry data are available for all baseline participants. From the baseline population, 2103 were enrolled in PERF II.

The British Women’s Heart and Health Study is a prospective cohort study of heart disease in over 4000 British women between the ages of 60 and 79. It is funded by the British Heart Foundation. The Study aims to provide information about existing patterns of treatment of heart disease, and further the understanding of risk factors and disease prevention. We collected our baseline data in 1999-2001, and have been tracking the cohort since. Participants have been re-contacted through questionnaires or assessment in 2003, 2007 & 2010.

The Million Women Study is the largest study of women’s health in the world. In 1996-2001, a quarter of UK women then aged 50-64 years (1.3 million women) joined the study. The aim of the study is to provide reliable information on potentially modifiable causes of common and serious illnesses, to help improve individual and public health. Study participants have provided details about their lifestyle and health and given signed consent for follow-up. Since recruitment their health has been followed mainly through electronic linkage to routinely collected NHS records (only 1.5% loss to follow-up after 20 years) and the whole surviving cohort has been re-contacted 4 times by postal re-survey to update exposures (1999-03, 2006-7, 2009-12 & 2013-14). Subsets of women have completed additional postal and online re-surveys.

Million Women Study is part of the Dementias Platform UK (DPUK), a multi-million pound public-private partnership to accelerate progress in dementias research

Last update – 13/06/2017