McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Large, 20-year Canadian study launched on health and aging

Published: October 1, 2012
Parminder Raina and Christina Wolfson
Parminder Raina, lead principal investigator of the study and professor in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Christina Wolfson, co-principal investigator from McGill University

Researchers from across the country were at McMaster University on Friday to celebrate the official grand opening and launch of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA).

The CLSA is a national, long-term study of health and aging. Over the next 20 years, 50,000 men and women aged 45 to 85 will be followed as part of the study.

McMaster University is at the forefront of this ambitious project, which includes 11 data collection sites, four telephone interview centres and three data analysis facilities across Canada. The CLSA National Coordinating Centre is located in Hamilton.

"This study will create a large research platform to allow researchers, policy-makers, governments and other stakeholders answer critical questions about aging," said Minister of State for Seniors Alice Wong in delivering the opening remarks. "The undertaking by the research team will provide new information to guide policies and programs to enhance the quality of life for Canadians."

The CLSA collects information on the changing biological, medical, psychological, social, lifestyle and economic aspects of people’s lives as they age. Some participants take part in at-home interviews and visit data collection sites for physical assessments. Others provide information through telephone interviews. To date, more than 10,000 participants have been recruited into the study.

The data collected as part of the CLSA will form a national research database that will help scientists to answer key questions about health and aging. In particular, the CLSA research platform will lead to new insights and better understanding of what it means to age well.

"The CLSA is more than a study. It represents a unique platform that will be used by researchers from all disciplines and fields for decades to come thanks to the range of information that will be gathered and analyzed," said Yves Joanette, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Aging.

In Hamilton, the CLSA facilities include the National Coordinating Centre, the Bioanalysis and Biorepository Centre and the McMaster Data Collection Site. All three are located at the McMaster Innovation Park.

"The CLSA team is excited to showcase our research facilities and demonstrate all that has been accomplished in launching Canada’s largest study of health and aging," said Parminder Raina, lead principal investigator of the study and a professor of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster University. "The success of the CLSA is made possible through the commitment of our researchers and partners, as well as the ongoing contributions of participants."

"Canadian communities are already facing the challenges and opportunities brought on by demographic change," said Gilles G. Patry, president and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation. "The research community is ensuring that we have the knowledge and innovation needed to support our aging population."

The CLSA is a collaborative project involving more than 160 researchers at 26 institutions across Canada. The co-principal investigators of the study are Susan Kirkland of Dalhousie University and Christina Wolfson of McGill University.

The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) is a strategic initiative of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Funding for the study has been provided by the Government of Canada through the CIHR and the Canada Foundation for Innovation. Additional support has been provided by provincial ministries across Canada, including the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, as well as affiliated universities and research institutions across Canada.

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