The University Medical Center Groningen has a long standing tradition or rather expertise in cohort studies: GECKO (Groningen Expert Centre for Kids with Obesity), TRAILS (TRacking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey) and PREVEND (Prevention of Renal and Vascular Endstage Disease).
Building on this experience, the UMCG plays an important pioneering role in national and international cooperation facilities for cohort studies and biobanks, including Dutch Biobanking Hub, the so-called "String of Pearls" (Parelsnoer) of 8 leading research institutes, BBMRI, BioShaRE and P3G. By harmonizing and linking these studies, an increasingly rich data source is created.
One of the major research projects related to healthy aging is the ambitious LifeLines project. The LifeLines project has a unique design and state-of-the-art facilities for the storage and processing of data. The database will eventually expand into one of the world’s largest biobanks. The study will follow a total of 165,000 inhabitants of the northern provinces of the Netherlands: children, parents, and grandparents. LifeLines is the first study to adopt a three-generational approach.
The central research question that LifeLines researchers aim to answer is ‘Why do some people reach a healthy old age, while others suffer from several disorders – including chronic disorders – from a young age?’
At the beginning of the study, most of the participants will still be healthy. During their lives, they may develop chronic illnesses. By following people for at least thirty years, we will be able to show clearly whether and when the first symptoms of a chronic disease appear.
LifeLines will provide insight into a wide range of risk factors, including genetic predisposition, lifestyle, metabolism, nutritional habits, medication, physical activity patterns, infections, and stress, as well as such environmental factors as exposure to harmful substances. The results of the LifeLines study will help to improve both prevention and the effectiveness of diagnosis, treatment, and care.
Another great example of excellent research at the Healthy Ageing Campus Netherlands is ERIBA: the European Research Institute for the Biology of Ageing.
Do you want to connect to excellent research in the field of Healthy Ageing? We can assist you in collaborating with the UMCG/RUG.