Study Centre Hannover

The “National Cohort”, with its Germany-wide 200,000 participants and 18 study centres, is the largest health study  in German history. Approximately 10,000 participants from the greater metropolitan area of Hannover will be  examined and interviewed at the study centre Hannover.  The main study will begin in 2014. A pilot study will start before this.

The National Cohort

“Together for a healthy Germany” – with this  purpose in mind, the Helmholtz Association, university-based partners and renowned research facilities have joined forces to launch the largest Germany-wide health study with the provisional name “National Cohort”.

This study   aims to investigate  the origins of common illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, dementia, infections and diseases of the immune system. Individuals from all over Germany will be  examined and interviewed concerning their lifestyle habits such as physical activity, smoking, nutrition and profession. Moreover, various biospecimens such as blood-, urine-, stool-, saliva-samples as well as nasal swabs will be taken and stored for future research  in a central bio-sample bank.

After 4 years, all participants will be invited for a second examination and interview at the study centre. In the course of the planned follow-up observation of up to 20 years, diseases will have emerged among many participants which can then be linked with the data collected earlier.  The study thus offers unique opportunities for a plethora of scientific examinations to facilitate improved early detection, prevention and treatment of diseases. The study will be financed by public funds from the Federal Ministry for Education and Research, the Helmholtz Association and Federal State Governments.

What exactly does an epidemiologist do?

An epidemiologist is concerned with, among other things, the distribution and determinants of health related states or events, including diseases and the application of this study to the control of diseases and other health problems. Epidemiologists employ a range of study designs from the observational to experimental to investigate ,  factors that contribute to health or disease. Epidemiology is the cornerstone of public health, it informs policy decisions and evidence-based medicine by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive medicine.