Geriatric epidemiologist and Canada Research Chair in Geroscience at McMaster University, Parminder Raina, is leading the Canadian Longitudinal Study of Aging (CLSA), one of the biggest and most inclusive studies ever done on aging and health. Its focus is to understand how we age, and find ways to delay or remedy age-related diseases so that we can live healthier for a longer period of time.
Now that Canadians from the age of 85 and over are the fastest-growing segment of the population, Raina says that observing how people age is more significant than ever.
According to Raina, the reason we each age differently, finding out how we age, and what is responsible for disease and disability as we get older is critical to our ability to make programs and interventions that will fend off poor health and further independent and healthy living for as long as possible.
Thanks to the assistance of a national team of more than 160 researchers and collaborators, the CSLA is observing more than 50,000 randomly chosen men and women, within the ages of 45 and 85, over the span of 20 years to learn why some people live longer than others.
The McMaster innovation park is the central CSLA national coordinating center, and acts as one of 11 data collection facilities across the country. It’s also where 300 million expected bits of data from urine and blood samples, cognitive and physical tests, and questionnaires will be delivered and stored. The sites include a state-of-the-art biobank containing 31 cryo freezers, and a lab equipped with a high-tech robotic station that can examine biomarkers linked to the aging process and age-related diseases.
The CSLA gathers information from participants every three years. The remaining participants visit data collection sites for complete physical tests, including blood and urine collection. This lets researchers observe the changing biological, medical, psychological, social, lifestyle, and economic aspects of people’s lives.
“20-year study seeks to understand how we age and why we age differently,” Medical Xpress web site, September 30 2016; http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-09-year-age-differently.html.