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Latest Data Collection

A new clinic -based model of data collection was successfully pioneered by a feasibility study at the Manchester Wellcome Trust (WT) Clinical Research Facility (CRF) in 2006–2007. NSHD study members responded positively to an invitation to visit the Facility for heart and bone scans and other health assessments and interviews lasting half a day.

On the basis of this feasibility study, LHA secured MRC funding for the main clinic study and in 2008-2009 opened up five new clinics in:

  • Edinburgh in the WTCRF at the Western General Hospital
  • Birmingham in the WTCRF at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital
  • Cardiff in the CRF at the University Hospital of Wales
  • London in the WTCRF at University College London Hospitals
  • London in the CRF at St Thomas' Hospital

The majority (97 per cent) of study members were very satisfied (76 per cent) or satisfied (21 per cent) with their visit to the WTCRF, many making positive comments about the staff and the comprehensive screening, or how special the clinic experience made them feel. Over 40 per cent specifically mentioned how valuable they found the heart and bone scans and the feedback that was sent to them or their GP.

The data collection teams at the Clinical Research Facilities and at LHA did a tremendous job in getting the clinics up and running. This is a complex data collection involving interactions between many different staff, daily problem solving and technical challenges. Everyone is committed to providing the best possible experience for the study members who have so kindly given their time to this study.

Exploring links between capability and ageing body systems

The NSHD data collected at 60-64 years is enabling scientists to investigate the impact of lifetime risk factors on two key aspects of ageing.

The first is physical and cognitive capability, the capacity to undertake the physical and mental tasks of daily living.

The second is the ageing of cardiovascular and musculoskeletal body systems, which threaten capability and is responsible for a major proportion of chronic disease in the UK. We hypothesise that changes in these systems are related in ways that have important implications for daily living.

The existence of life course data from birth makes the NSHD well suited to test current hypotheses that early as well as midlife risks impact on these aspects of ageing, and that the effects of earlier risk are dependent on midlife risk.

Working in collaboration on the data collection

A large number of scientists are investing time and effort in the clinic data collection.

LHA scientists developed the protocols to collect repeat measures of physical capability (grip strength, chair rises, standing balance, gait speed), cognitive capability (memory, speed and concentration) and information on life quality and circumstances.

Other scientists collaborated with LHA to:

  • Provide specialist expertise for new clinic measures
  • Develop and manage protocols for new measures and deliver specialist databases
  • Advise and support the LHA fieldwork group
  • Undertake parts of LHA scientific programmes
  • Facilitate the use of the new clinic data.

Key collaborators include scientists at MRC Human Nutrition Research (dietary information and blood and urine samples), Manchester University (bone and body composition scans) and University College London, Glasgow University and Göteborg University (cardiovascular function). Key collaborators are members of the Cardiac and Vascular Ageing, and Bone and Muscle Ageing Project Management Groups.

To maximise the scientific potential of other new clinic data, new collaborations are being set up.

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