Ambitious aging study attracts 50,000 participants

Posted on Thursday, July 2, 2015

agingBy MUHC Public Affairs

The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA), one of the most comprehensive studies ever conducted on aging, has reached its goal of 50,000 participants. This national undertaking aims to find ways to improve the health of Canadians by better understanding the processes and dimensions of aging.

Over the five past years, CLSA research teams from McMaster, Dalhousie, and McGill Universities and key players in Quebec including the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), and the Research Centre on Aging and Health of the Université de Sherbrooke, have implemented the study, collected data, and have now completed recruitment. The announcement was made earlier this week in Hamilton by the Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, and David Sweet, Member of Parliament for Ancaster–Dundas–Flamborough–Westdale. Minister Leitch and MP Sweet congratulated the research team on reaching their ambitious recruitment goal and thanked the participants from across the country for agreeing to take part in this important research project.

Dr. Christina Wolfson

Dr. Christina Wolfson

“I am proud of this achievement, which is due to the dedication of the research team and their decade and more of planning, and to the very generous participation of 50,000 people from across Canada who agreed to be part of the study. The CLSA is now ready to provide a unique resource for researchers and policy makers enabling research that was not possible in the past,” says CLSA co-principal investigator, Dr. Christina Wolfson, researcher at the RI-MUHC and professor at McGill’s Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health.

More than 160 researchers from 26 Canadian universities with expertise in biology, genetics, clinical research, social sciences, economics, epidemiology and population health are involved in the CLSA. Moreover, the CLSA includes 11 data collection sites, one of which is located at the RI-MUHC. In addition, the RI MUHC houses the CLSA Statistical Analysis Centre where Dr. Wolfson’s team is responsible for examining the quality and reliability of the data and prepares the data for release to researchers.

Launched in 2010, the CLSA is following participants from all 10 provinces, aged 45 to 85 at recruitment, to collect a wide range of information about the changing biological, medical, psychological, social, lifestyle and economic aspects of peoples’ lives. They will be revisited once every three years for 20 years to carry out complete data collection, and contacted at regular intervals to maintain contact and engagement with the study. All the participants have now completed baseline assessments through telephone interviews or through face-to-face interviews, followed by visits to specially designed data collection sites.

The study is a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) strategic initiative. It was launched through grants from the Government of Canada through CIHR and the infrastructure is supported by an award from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, as well as funding from several provinces, universities and other partners.

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