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The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC) is a prospective epidemiologic study conducted in four U.S. communities. ARIC is designed to investigate the etiology and natural history of atherosclerosis, the etiology of clinical atherosclerotic diseases, and variation in cardiovascular risk factors, medical care and disease by race, gender, location, and date. Since 2011 a large ancillary study, the ARIC Neurocognitive Study (ARIC-NCS) has been assessing neurocognitive status and adjudicating possible cases of dementia.

Four ARIC field centers each randomly selected and recruited a cohort sample of approximately 4,000 individuals aged 45-64 from a defined population in their community. A total of 15,792 participants received an extensive baseline examination (visit 1, 1987-1989), including medical, social, and demographic data collection. Subsequent examinations occurred in 1990-92 (visit 2), 1993-95 (visit 3), 1996-98 (visit 4), 2011-2013 (visit 5) and 2016-2017 (visit 6). Visit 7 (2018-2019) is currently in progress. Follow-up occurs annually (semi-annually since 2012) by telephone to maintain contact with participants and to assess health status of the cohort.

The ZARADEMP project (ZARAgoza DEMentia
DEPression project) was designed as a longitudinal,
community-based study to examine the incidence
of dementia and the risk factors in incident cases of
dementia. It was carried out in Zaragoza, a typical,
large city in Spain, with an important proportion
of inhabitants coming from surrounding rural
areas (12). A stratified random sample of individuals
55 years of age and older, with proportional
allocation by age and sex, drawn from the eligible
individuals (n = 157 787) in the Spanish official
census lists of 1991, was invited to participate in
the baseline examination.

The MyHeART study is longitudinal cohort study of 1361 schoolchildren (13-years old) attending 15 public secondary schools from the central (Kuala Lumpur and Selangor) and northern (Perak) regions of Peninsular Malaysia. The study used a stratified sampling design to select the study participants. Data collected at baseline included socio-economic, lifestyle (e.g. smoking, physical activity assessment, fitness assessment, seven-day diet history), and environmental information, anthropometric measurements, blood pressure, handgrip strength and bone mineral density. Blood samples for fasting blood glucose and lipid profiles, full blood count, renal profile, as well as bone profile and serum vitamin D were taken. This study cohort will be followed up again when participants turn 15, 17 and lastly, after a period of ten years (around the age of 27).

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 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) follows the lives of more than 17,000 people born in England, Scotland and Wales in a single week of 1970. Over the course of cohort members lives, the BCS70 has collected information on health, physical, educational and social development, and economic circumstances among other factors.

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 35–70 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.

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 Concord Health and Ageing in Men Project (CHAMP) is one of the world’s 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 Sydney’s 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