National research platform holds answers to healthy aging - Data collected from 51,000 Canadians to help shape future health policies and programs

OTTAWA, May 29, 2017 /CNW/ - Canada's population is aging. According to Statistics Canada, the proportion of Canadians aged 65 and over is projected to increase from 16.9% in 2016 to 23% by 2031, or nearly one in four people.  

This demographic change presents both immense opportunities and significant challenges for our society. How can Canadians be empowered to lead active lives into their senior years? What behaviours, policies and programs support health aging?

The Government of Canada is supporting a unique pan-Canadian platform of research involving more than 50,000 Canadians followed for 20 years. This platform ­– the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) – will allow researchers to answer critical questions on the biological, medical, psychological, social, lifestyle and economic aspects of aging, disability and disease. The platform is especially valuable as a source of data for early career researchers and trainees.

The Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, today announced a Government of Canada investment of $1.7 million to support 25 projects to be carried out by researchers across the country to use and analyze baseline CLSA data to answer important health questions. The funding is being provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the major source of funding for the CLSA.

Quotes
"As our population ages, we need to work to ensure that Canadians continue to get the services they need, in a way that is appropriate to their needs. Research is a critical building block for providing better support to Canadians, and I congratulate each of the 25 teams of researchers that will explore the rich CLSA data to provide answers to their questions. I also applaud all the Canadians participating in this important national effort."
Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

"The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging is an enormously valuable research platform. It provides comprehensive data sets and access to a large repository of biospecimens that are useful to researchers working in all areas of health. I would like to thank the CLSA researchers for their valuable contribution to this crucial platform and congratulate the 25 research teams who received support to explore the CLSA data. I am convinced that many more researchers – and particularly early-career researchers – will take advantage of this unique platform in the future."
Dr. Yves Joanette
Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Aging

"The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging is thankful to the Government of Canada for its ongoing support of research that will improve the health of Canadians. The CLSA research platform has been created as a rich resource of data available to all Canadian health researchers. We are thankful for the commitment and contributions of our participants, as well as for the enterprise of researchers who will analyze the CLSA data and generate new knowledge on the factors that contribute to healthy aging."
Dr. Parminder Raina
Lead Principal Investigator, Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging

Quick Facts

  • The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) is a large, national research platform on health and aging involving 51,000 Canadians, aged 45 to 85 at recruitment and followed for 20 years.
  • The platform includes data on health status, physical assessments, diseases, cognition, psychological well-being and mental health, social well-being, economic aspects of aging and blood-based biological markers.
  • The CLSA team has now completed baseline data collection which will be repeated every three years for 20 years. This rich initial data set is now ready and available for use by researchers working in all areas of health and psychosocial well-being.
  • The CLSA is supported with an investment of $65.1 million from CIHR to date. An additional $26.5 million has been invested by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, provincial governments, universities and other partners.
  • The CIHR has awarded a total of $1.7 million to 25 researchers for projects involving the analysis of currently available CLSA data.

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Backgrounder

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Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging

At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) we know that research has the power to change lives. As Canada's health research investment agency, we collaborate with partners and researchers to support the discoveries and innovations that improve our health and strengthen our health care system.

Backgrounder

CLSA Data Analysis Research Projects

CLSA Research Platform

The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) is a large, national research platform on health and aging that allows researchers and decision-makers to answer critical questions on the biological, medical, psychological, social, lifestyle and economic aspects of aging, disability and disease.

The CLSA follows 51,000 men and women who were between the ages of 45 and 85 at recruitment, for 20 years. Through its large size, comprehensive data collection and long-term design, the CLSA will enable research on the factors supporting healthy aging.

The CLSA team includes more than 160 researchers from 26 Canadian universities, including experts in biology, genetics, clinical research, social sciences, economics, epidemiology and population health. The team manages eleven data collection sites, four computer-assisted telephone interview sites, and four scientific enabling units.

The CLSA is a major strategic initiative of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). CIHR has invested a total of $65.1 million in the CLSA to date. An additional $26.5 million has been invested by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, provincial governments, universities and other partners.

CLSA Data Analysis Research Projects

In an effort to support researchers who want to use CLSA data to carry out research studies, CIHR launched a competitive funding opportunity in May 2016 to solicit project proposals from the research community. As a result of this funding opportunity, CIHR approved the funding of 25 projects for a total funding of $1.7 million

Examples of these projects include:

  • Dr. Andrew Wister at Simon Fraser University will identify factors that promote resilience in older Canadians living with more than one chronic health condition.
  • Dr. Arne Stinchombe at the University of Ottawa will examine the role of support and care networks in moderating health inequalities among lesbian, gay, and bisexual older Canadians.
  • Dr. Brenda Vrkljan at McMaster University will study the relationship between personal and environmental factors influencing driving mobility and social participation among older Canadians.
  • Dr. Christina Wolfson at McGill University will produce a snapshot of the physical and mental health status of older Canadian veterans.

 

SOURCE Canadian Institutes of Health Research



For further information: Andrew MacKendrick, Office of the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, 613-957-0200; Media Relations, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, 613-941-4563, mediarelations@cihr-irsc.gc.ca; Susan Emigh, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, 905-525-9140, ext. 22555, emighs@mcmaster.ca

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http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca

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