$41.6 Million for the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging

What do the next 20 years have in store for you? Hard to predict, right? For some 50,000 Canadians, the next two decades of their lives will help further the advancement of our knowledge of the mechanisms of aging.

These men and women are participating in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA), the largest of its kind ever undertaken in the country. The CLSA has just received a $41.6 million grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to pursue its work over the next five years.

The study will follow approximately 50,000 Canadian men and women between the ages of 45 and 85 over the next 20 years. The data collected will be useful in the advancement of our knowledge on the development of disease or social habits which have an impact on aging. In the end, the information will be used to promote healthy aging among Canadians.

Nationwide collaboration

Initiated in 2010, the CLSA is being led by researchers affiliated with McMaster, McGill and Dalhousie universities. Two key players are involved in Québec: The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and the Université de Sherbrooke (UdeS).

"I am extremely thankful to the CIHR for their continuous support of this unique project," said Dr. Christina Wolfson, the CLSA co-principal investigator and a researcher at the RI-MUHC as well as a professor with the departments of medicine and epidemiology, biostatistics and occupational health at McGill University. "Our study looks at the social aspects of aging as well as on the onset of disease and disability. It will provide an important resource of data, physical measurements, and biospecimens which will be used by researchers across the country in projects that contribute to improve the health of Canadians."

A major role for Quebec

Throughout the country, 11 sites are gathering data for the CLSA. Dr. Wolfson's team at the the Statistical Analysis Centre, based at the RI-MUHC, examines the quality and reliability of the data and prepares them for release to researchers.

Some 21,000 participants have recently answered phone interviews and provided data, which are now available online and which provide a snapshot of Canadians aged 45 to 85. Researchers have also requested data to initiate new research in areas such as hearing loss, neurological disorders, injuries, and the health of older veterans.

"The aging process is so complex and heterogeneous from one person to another that we need these large population studies with a large number of participants to be able to explore all the issues related to aging,” added Dr. Hélène Payette, who is the lead site investigator at the UdeS, a researcher at the CSSS-IUGS's Research Centre on Aging, and a professor at the faculty of medicine and health sciences at the UdeS. "This will be the legacy that we wanted to leave for all scientists and experts in the research community interested by aging. Researchers who have participated in the CLSA do not have precedence over others or exclusive access: the data is open to everyone."

According to Christian Giroux, a CLSA participant in Montreal, this project allowed her to discover a treasure chest full of information on aging. "I have experienced various health problems and this is my way of giving to future generations," she said. "It's comforting to know that there is an interest in improving the health of the aging population."

The CLSA was launched thanks to a $50-million grant from the CIHR, the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), several provinces, universities, and other partners. This grant has been used to set up a research platform, to recruit participants, and to gather data from them.

To date, long interviews over the telephone have been conducted with more than 21,000 randomly chosen participants throughout Canada. In addition, some 28,000 persons have participated in in-depth interviews in their homes and have visited one of the 11 data collection sites in Canada in order to undergo a series of physical tests measuring hearing, cardiac function, bone density, mobility, and many other aspects related to global health. The goal of 50,000 participants in this component will soon be met. All participants will be monitored over a period of 20 years. The interviews and gathering of data will be repeated once every three years.


Did you know that the CSSS-IUGS's Research Centre on Aging, located at D'Youville Hospital and Residential Centre, is one of the 11 data collection-collection sites of the CLSA? 

To find out more about the Research Centre on Aging's contribution to this project, click here!


Source : 

Faculté de médecine de l'Université de Sherbrooke

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