For scientists

EpiHealth aims to build a national resource in the form of a multicenter longitudinal cohort study investigating the interaction between genes and life-style factors regarding the development of common diseases seen in the elderly in 300,000 Swedish men and women between the ages of 45 and 75 years. It is an open-access resource so that different scientists, not only those building the cohort, could use the data for research.

 

The EpiHealth cohort study is a collaboration project between Uppsala and Lund Universities that was evaluated in 2009 and found to be a Swedish ”centre of excellence” by the Swedish research council and thereby sponsored by the Government (SFO), named EpiHealth. Thus, by this grant it has been possible to start up the study, but further funding is needed in order to reach the goal of 300,000 screened individuals.

 

Participation in EpiHealth consists of three parts – completing a web-based baseline questionnaire, completing physical tests and biological sampling at a test centre, and follow-up through official Swedish registers regarding future diseases. The baseline questionnaire provides information about the participants’ medical history and life-style and is divided into fifteen sections such as family structure, education, and physical activity. The baseline questionnaire can be completed at home by logging in to a personal webpage at www.epihealth.se. At the EpiHealth Test Centre, physical measurements and blood samples are collected to provide baseline data, such as the participants’ cardiovascular status, lung and cognitive function. The EpiHealth database will be merged with the unique Swedish registries regarding health care, as specified below.

 

Apart from serving as a large population-based study with a prospective design, EpiHealth could be used together with the future intended biobanking efforts coupled to the Swedish Health Quality of Care registers (such as Riks-HIA, Riks-Stroke, SEPHIA etc), so that large case-control studies including 100,000s of cases of a certain disease collected from the registers could be matched with 100,000s of controls selected from EpiHealth. This procedure could compare life-style factors, biochemical markers and genetic information like genotyping etc in cases and controls.

 

A follow-up of the cohort, for example each 5th year, following the baseline investigation regarding information that could be obtained by the web-based questionnaire is planned. If economically feasible, a follow-up test centre visit, for example each 10th year, is planned.

 

We have a close collaboration with the LifeGene project in that we share the same IT-based data structure for collecting life-style information and biobanking.

The study started with the opening of a test centre in Uppsala April 26th 2011. The second test centre opened in Jan 11th 2012 in Malmö.

 

PI of the Uppsala part of the study is Professor Lars Lind, lars.lind@medsci.uu.se.     

PI of the Lund/Malmö part of the project is Professor Sölve Elmstålh, Solve.Elmstahl@med.lu.se

 

For further details, please see project plan, ethical policy document and a Power-Point presentation of the study.