A total of 5,000 test persons have been examined at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) as part of the NAKO study by the German National Cohort (GNC) association, a press release said Thursday (July 27, 2017). The study is the largest long-term population survey in Germany and will last 20 to 30 years. Launched in November 2014, around 200,000 people will take part in the study. The GNC has been inviting men and women aged between 20 and 69 to 18 study centres throughout Germany since it began.
The participants are medically examined and questioned about their living conditions. GNC aims to investigate the causes of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, rheumatism, infectious diseases and dementia to improve prevention, early diagnoses and treatment. The German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), participating German states and the Helmholtz Association are funding the multicentre project. By early March, over 100,000 people from all over Germany had participated in the study.
Prof. Dr. Heiko Becher, Head of NAKO in Hamburg and Director of the Institute for Medical Biometry and Epidemiology at UKE, said: “We are delighted by this milestone. In the past months, we have examined numerous test persons as part of our study. But we have a long way to go until we achieve our goal of examining 10,000 participants at UKE by 2019.”
Research in Hamburg is focusing on the link between inflammatory gum diseases and cardiovascular diseases. Earlier studies have shown that periodontitis raises the risk of strokes and heart attacks. However, the underlying mechanisms have yet to be uncovered. “The results of the examination are of great personal interest to the participants. Each person can test their bodies and learn something about their health,” said Dr. Annika Jagodzinski, Director of the UKE’s Epidemiological Centre of Research. NAKO is one of two large-scale studies being carried out by UKE.