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 Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) is an NHLBI-funded observational study of risk factors for cardiovascular disease in adults 65 years or older. Starting in 1989, and continuing through 1999, participants underwent annual extensive clinical examinations. Measurements included traditional risk factors such as blood pressure and lipids as well as measures of subclinical disease, including echocardiography of the heart, carotid ultrasound, and cranial magnetic-resonance imaging (MRI). At six month intervals between clinic visits, and once clinic visits ended, participants were contacted by phone to ascertain hospitalizations and health status.
Information on dementia comes from two Ancillary Studies. The CHS Cognition Study (Dr. Lewis Kuller, PI) included 3608 participants who had an MRI in 1992-94 and who were followed for dementia through 1999. A follow-up study was done at the Pittsburgh field center that included 532 participants followed through 2013 (Dr. Oscar Lopez,PI).
The study is a prospective cohort study that included 400 subjects with MCI enrolled in at Huashan Hospital in Shanghai, China and a followed-up once annually for three years. The objectives are to identify individuals with MCI who convert to AD and to explore factors associated with the conversion. The observation time point is every 12 months and phone interview on 6th, 18th month. The primary endpoint was the time from diagnosis to the conversion from MCI to Probable AD Dementia. The secondary endpoints are the time to conversion from MCI to Possible AD Dementia or Probable AD Dementia, time to Conversion from MCI to All-cause Dementia, Overall survival, Changes in Neuropsychological examinations and Changes in MRI from baseline to the end of follow-up. The planned research duration was from Jan 2012 to Dec 2016.
The main objective of QLSCD is to identify the precursors of childrens social adaptation, school adjustment, and well-being throughout their developmental trajectory. This study has information on young childrens (now young adults) health, behaviour and many other aspects of their 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 Malaysian Cohort study was initiated in 2005 by the Malaysian government. The top-down approach to this population-based cohort study ensured the allocation of sufficient funding for the project which aimed to recruit 100 000 individuals aged 3570 years. Participants were recruited from rural and urban areas as well as from various socioeconomic groups. The main objectives of the study were to identify risk factors, to study gene-environment interaction and to discover biomarkers for the early detection of cancers and other diseases. At recruitment, a questionnaire-based interview was conducted, biophysical measurements were performed and biospecimens were collected, processed and stored. Baseline investigations included fasting blood sugar, fasting lipid profile, renal profile and full blood count. Active follow-up and reassessment started in 2013 and to date 35,000 participants have been reassessed including biospecimens.
ULSAM is a unique, ongoing, longitudinal, epidemiologic study based on all available men, born between 1920 and 1924, in Uppsala County, Sweden. The men were investigated at the ages of 50, 60, 70, 77, 82 88 and 93 years. The reinvestigations in ULSAM were based on the previous investigations. Full screening and official registry data is available in our databases and more data is continuously added.
Health examination at 93 years of age was carried out between December 2013 and March 2015. To this examination 245 men have been invited. Totally 147 men (60%) participated in the investigation. Of these, 23 men were examined at the hospital and 102 were visited at home by a nurse. In addition, 22 men completed only a questionnaire. To this examination even spouses were invited. In the complete examination 43 spouses have participated and 11 completed only a questionnaire.
The Concord Health and Ageing in Men Project (CHAMP) is one of the worlds largest and most comprehensive study of the health of older men ever conducted anywhere in the world. CHAMP involves 1705 men aged 70 years and older recruited from the community living near Concord Hospital in Sydneys inner west. Subjects were recruited during 2005 and 2006 and subjects were re-assessed after two, five and nine years. A 14 year follow-up assessment (wave 5) is planned for 2019. Clinical dementia assessment was done at baseline but not in waves 2, 3, and 4. Clinical dementia assessment will be included in wave 5.
The study is particularly concerned with cognitive impairment and dementia; falls, fractures and osteoporosis; and urinary problems.
The VLS is a long-term, large-scale, and multi-faceted longitudinal investigation of human aging. Incorporating biomedical approaches, leading-edge technologies, and epidemiological perspectives, the VLS evaluates and tracks actual cognitive, health, functional and lifestyle trajectories leading to outcomes that can be classified as normal, resilient, exceptional, impaired, or dementia. Our studies examine these differential brain and cognitive changes as a function of interactions among multiple biomarkers of both risk and protection. Among these dynamically interacting biomarkers are those representing selected aspects of biological, health, genetic, metabolic, vascular, lifestyle, physical fitness, cognitive activity, sex/gender, and demographic domains