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The MRC Dementias Platform UK (DPUK) and McMaster University, the host institution for the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA), are building international bridges to explore together the opportunities for collaborative research using big data to address the public health burden of dementia.

Clsa

DPUK is a Pubic Private Partnership designed to fast-track scientific understanding, treatments and the prevention of disease, in the field of dementias research. It combines the power of different types of population study to compare healthy people with people at all stages of dementias and can be used to look at how this is affected by other conditions that people may have. DPUK actively encourages leading researchers to work together, giving them better access to the wealth of information on health and lifestyle through huge population studies and arms them with the latest technology, to scan the body and brain and analyse tests.

The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) is a national cohort for the study of aging funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The initiative is led by Canadian researchers Parminder Raina of McMaster University, Christina Wolfson of McGill University and Susan Kirkland of Dalhousie University. The CLSA is a large, national, long-term study that will follow approximately 50,000 men and women who were between the ages of 45 and 85 when recruited, for at least 20 years. The CLSA will collect information on the changing biological, medical, psychological, social, lifestyle and economic aspects of people’s lives. These factors will be studied to understand how, individually and in combination, they have an impact in both maintaining health and in the development of disease and disability as people age.

This collaboration is motivated by a shared understanding that clinical impact in this area requires a concerted research effort to better harness big data, in terms of enabling interoperability between datasets and analytic platforms, data sharing, and the conduct of joint analyses where expertise from both parties is utilised.

The 3 priority AREAS OF COOPERATION include

  1. Research: To promote international collaborative research and development activities.
  2. Personnel: To support exchanges to encourage training and knowledge in order to enhance the skills and capabilities of biomedical researchers.
  3. Knowledge: To exchange information and establish facilitating networking activity.

The initial joint activity will involve collaborative activity between scientists attached to DPUK and McMaster in order to:

  1. Promote exchange of ideas and techniques for the collaborative use of their databases.
  2. Explore inter-operability of data collection with the view towards establishing Big Data initiatives.
  3. Develop broad big data projects linking clinical data to health care utilization.