Ontario Health Study enters next phase of research with groundbreaking Blood Collection Program

Video: The Ontario Health Study is entering the next phase of its research with the introduction of a province-wide blood collection program.

Study to provide unprecedented insights into chronic diseases as participant numbers near one quarter of a million Ontarians

TORONTO, Nov. 21, 2012 /CNW/ - The Ontario Health Study (OHS), an ambitious, groundbreaking research effort designed to help scientists understand the complex factors behind chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, is entering the next phase of its population-based research in Ontario with the introduction of a blood collection program targeting the OHS participants across Ontario. The OHS recently surpassed 225,000 participants, marking a major milestone as it begins this second phase of research.

"The blood samples we collect will make it possible for researchers to answer key questions about the factors influencing our health and quality of life," said Professor Lyle Palmer, Executive Scientific Director of the Ontario Health Study. "As the pool of participants grows, so will our potential to provide insights into and breakthroughs in disease research."

The OHS recently partnered with LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services to support the program, which will collect blood samples. A select number of participants who have completed the questionnaire at OntarioHealthStudy.ca have begun receiving invitations to participate in the Blood Collection Program. Those who receive an invitation will be asked to go to the Ontario Health Study website to download their requisition form, which they can take to any one of 120 LifeLabs locations throughout Ontario to provide samples.

Another important development at the OHS is the recent opening of its first Assessment Centre in Toronto. Participants invited for an assessment can expect to have their grip strength, blood pressure and heart and lung function measured. The data collected will help the OHS advance its goals of building a first-of-its-kind online health resource for Ontarians and a research platform for more than 300 clinicians and scientists from across the province.

The OHS, which celebrated its second anniversary in September, is the largest provincial health study in Canadian history, and one of the largest health research efforts in the world. The Ontario Health Study is also part of the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project, which is made up of five regional health studies across Canada. Recently, the OHS unveiled a new personalized homepage for every participant in the Study. The homepage concept is unique among population-based health studies internationally, and features health information based on the answers provided in the questionnaire.

"Based on someone's questionnaire profile, we can alert that person to relevant health information, such as diabetes management plans and cancer screening programs," said Palmer. "This is something we've never been able to do before - not just collect information in a way that's cost effective, but deliver personalized healthcare information to people through an online portal."

Every Ontario adult aged 18 and over can enroll in the OHS and complete the online health questionnaire at OntarioHealthStudy.ca. The questionnaire, which takes approximately 40 minutes to complete, asks participants to provide information about health-related subjects such as personal and family medical history, where they live, and their lifestyle and diet. The OHS will soon be asking participants to take part in a second round of questions focused on mental health. Approximately 9.5 million Ontarians are eligible to volunteer for the Study.

About the Ontario Health Study
The not-for-profit Study is funded by four organizations: the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Cancer Care OntarioPublic Health Ontario and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. The Ontario Health Study is part of the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project, which is made up of five regional health studies across Canada.

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Video with caption: "Video: The Ontario Health Study is entering the next phase of its research with the introduction of a province-wide blood collection program.". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20121121_C9819_VIDEO_EN_21005.mp4&posterurl=http://photos.newswire.ca/images/20121121_C9819_PHOTO_EN_21005.jpg&clientName=Ontario%20Health%20Study&caption=Video%3A%20The%20Ontario%20Health%20Study%20is%20entering%20the%20next%20phase%20of%20its%20research%20with%20the%20introduction%20of%20a%20province%2Dwide%20blood%20collection%20program%2E&title=ONTARIO%20HEALTH%20STUDY%20%2D%20The%20Ontario%20Health%20Study%20is%20entering%20the%20next%20phase%20of%20its%20research%20with%20the%20introduction%20of%20a%20province%2Dwide%20blood%20collection%20program%2E&headline=Ontario%20Health%20Study%20enters%20next%20phase%20of%20research%20with%20groundbreaking%20Blood%20Collection%20Program

SOURCE: Ontario Health Study

For further information:

Robert Furtado
Pilot PMR
robert@pilotpmr.com
416-462-0199 x22