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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.

ASPREE is a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled primary prevention trial designed to assess whether daily active treatment of 100 mg enteric-coated aspirin will extend the duration of disability-free life in healthy participants aged 70 years and above except for Hispanic and African American minority groups in the U.S. where the minimum age of entry is 65 years.

The primary objective is to determine whether low-dose aspirin prolongs life, or life free of dementia, or life free of significant, persistent physical disability in the healthy elderly. Secondary objectives relate to the effects of low-dose aspirin on the key outcome areas of death, cardiovascular disease, dementia and cognitive decline, cancer, physical disability, depression and major bleeding episodes. Variables were collected annually through visits and for the purposes of retention telephone calls were scheduled at set points through the 7 years.

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 Stockholm Birth Cohort Study (SBC) was created in 2004/2005 by a probability matching of two comprehensive and longitudinal datasets. The first, the Stockholm Metropolitan study 1953–1985, consists of all children born in 1953 and living in the Stockholm metropolitan area in 1963. The second, The Swedish Work and Mortality Database 1980–2009 (WMD), consists of all individuals living in Sweden in 1980 or 1990, and born before 1985. The initiative to create the database was taken by Denny Vågerö at the Centre for Health Equity Studies, CHESS, of Stockholm University/Karolinska Institute and Sten-Åke Stenberg at the Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University (SOFI). The resulting database provides a 50-year long follow-up of the original 1953 birth cohort.

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 Uppsala Birth Cohort Multigeneration Study (UBCoS) started in 2005 when we were first able to combine existing data on a representative and well-defined cohort of 14,192 males and females born in Uppsala from 1915-1929 (the Uppsala Birth Cohort: UBCoS) with information on descendants of the original cohort members obtained from routine registers.

In 2007-2011, the study was further developed by additional data collection in school archives and records from Census 1930 and the period of follow-up was extended till end of year 2009.

The study is unique in investigating intergenerational effects as “forward in time” processes, starting at the beginning of the last century (i.e. well before any of the routine registers were in place). Intergenerational associations can be currently investigated in more than 140,000 study subjects from families spanning up to five generations, including the 14,192 original cohort members, their 22,559 children, 38,771 grandchildren and 25,471 great grandchildren born up to 2009.

The Maastricht Study is an extensive phenotyping study that focuses on the etiology of type 2 diabetes, its classic complications (cardiovascular disease, nephropathy, neuropathy and retinopathy), and its emerging comorbidities, including cognitive decline, depression, and gastrointestinal, respiratory and musculoskeletal diseases. The study uses advanced state-of-the-art imaging techniques and extensive biobanking to determine health status in a population-based cohort of 10,000 individuals that is enriched with type 2 diabetes participants. The Maastricht Study is expected to become one of the most extensive phenotyping studies in both the general population and type 2 diabetes participants worldwide.

The Maastricht Study allows researchers access to data to encourage publications of high quality papers and presentations. External researchers (those without an MUMC or UM affiliation) can only submit a research proposal in cooperation with a member of the Maastricht Study Management Team and/or Maastricht Study Participating researchers.

The Lifelines Cohort Study is a large population-based cohort study and biobank that was established as a resource for research on complex interactions between environmental, phenotypic and genomic factors in the development of chronic diseases and healthy ageing. The Lifelines cohort distinguishes a children’s cohort (aged 0-18), an adult cohort (aged 18-65) and the elderly cohort (aged 65+). The protocol for these three sub-cohorts is largely the same, but focuses in part on the characteristics of the specific participant groups.

Between 2006 and 2013, inhabitants of the northern part of The Netherlands and their families were invited to participate, thereby contributing to a three-generation design. Follow-up visits are scheduled every 5 years, and in between participants receive follow-up questionnaires. Linkage is being established with medical registries and environmental data. Lifelines contains information on biochemistry, medical history, psychosocial characteristics, lifestyle and more. Genomic data are available including genome-wide genetic data of 15638 participants. Fasting blood and 24-h urine samples are processed on the day of collection and stored at -80 °C in a fully automated storage facility. The aim of Lifelines is to be a resource for the national and international scientific community. Requests for data and biomaterials can be submitted to the Lifelines Research Office (research@lifelines.nl).

The Health 2000 Survey, carried out in 2000-2001 in Finland, was coordinated by the National Institute for Health and Welfare, THL (the former National Public Health Institute) in co-operation with an extensive network of organizations and experts. The aim of the survey was to provide information on major public health problems, their causes and treatment, health service needs and utilization as well as functional and working capacity. The data for the survey were collected in comprehensive health examination including blood sampling, in interviews and in self-administered questionnaires. The nationally representative sample included 8,028 persons aged 30 or over of whom 85% participated in the health examination conducted at 80 areas in the mainland Finland. In addition, 1,894 young adults (18-29 years) were invited to the health interview and fill in the questionnaire. Further, 1,278 people who had taken part in Mini-Finland Health Survey carried out in 1978-1980 were invited to the re-examination.

The follow-up of the Health 2000 Survey, the Health 2011 Survey, was carried out in 2011-2012. All members of the Health 2000 sample (n=8,135), who were living in Finland in 2011 and had not refused requests to be invited to further studies, were invited to the Health 2011 Survey. In 2011, they were at least 29 years of age. A total of 59% of them participated in the health examination conducted at 59 areas in Finland. In addition, a new random sample of young adults (aged 18-28, n=1,994) was taken. A total of 415 of them were invited to the health examination and the rest of them (1,579) received only the postal questionnaire. Further, 920 people who had previously taken part in the Mini-Finland Health Survey and invited to re-examination in 2001 were invited.

The Health 2000/2011 cohort is also continuously followed-up by linkage to Finnish nationwide registers.

The Lifelines Cohort Study is a large population-based cohort study and biobank that was established as a resource for research on complex interactions between environmental, phenotypic and genomic factors in the development of chronic diseases and healthy ageing. The Lifelines cohort distinguishes a children’s cohort (aged 0-18), an adult cohort (aged 18-65) and the elderly cohort (aged 65+). The protocol for these three sub-cohorts is largely the same, but focuses in part on the characteristics of the specific participant groups.

Between 2006 and 2013, inhabitants of the northern part of The Netherlands and their families were invited to participate, thereby contributing to a three-generation design. Follow-up visits are scheduled every 5 years, and in between participants receive follow-up questionnaires. Linkage is being established with medical registries and environmental data. Lifelines contains information on biochemistry, medical history, psychosocial characteristics, lifestyle and more. Genomic data are available including genome-wide genetic data of 15638 participants. Fasting blood and 24-h urine samples are processed on the day of collection and stored at -80 °C in a fully automated storage facility. The aim of Lifelines is to be a resource for the national and international scientific community. Requests for data and biomaterials can be submitted to the Lifelines Research Office (research@lifelines.nl).