The Hunter Community Study (HCS) is a longitudinal cohort study of men and women aged 55-85 years of age who reside in Newcastle, New South Wales on the east coast of Australia. The study is conducted as a collaboration between the University of Newcastle and the Hunter New England Area Health Service.The first phase of this study sampled 3253 people representing a response rate of 44.5%. A follow up survey of the entire cohort is currently being completed (Jan-June 2011). Description of the data Blood collection samples The blood samples include plasma, serum, whole blood, and DNA that have been stored at -80 degrees Celsius, as well as whole cells cryopreserved in DMSO in liquid nitrogen (-196C) for future use. All the blood samples are stored in 1-ml aliquots to minimize freeze-thaw cycles, which may adversely impact on analyte integrity. One of the more unique samples is whole blood that has been cryopreserved with dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO) in liquid nitrogen to obtain whole lymphocytes for future cell immortalization (through Epstein-Barr virus transformation) and cytogenetic studies. These samples also allow for assaying biomarkers of genetic damage, in which toxins have affected DNA integrity. These include single- or double-stranded DNA breaks detected using the COMET assay, micronuclei, sister chromatid exchanges and cytogenetic abnormalities, all of which require whole viable cells, not just isolated DNA. Electronic data All files are in SAS format and the total file size is ~250MB. Participants have given consent for linkage to area health databases (for hospitalisations), death registry, and Medicare records. Measures within this study include: demographics (age, education, housing, income, government benefits), morbidity (self-reported diseases) and health professional utilization, use of complementary and alternative medicines and medication, nutrition (use of a Food Frequency Questionnaire), quality of life (using Short Form 36 [SF-36] and Australian Quality of Life - Mark 2 [AQoL II]), physical activity (using the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly [PASE]), mental health (using the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale [K 10], Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale [CES-D] and Memory Assessment Clinic-Q [MAC-Q]), daytime sleepiness (using the Epworth Sleepiness Scale), social support (using the Duke Social Support Index [DSSI]), occupational exposures to more than 40 different classes of toxins (using the Finnish Job Exposure Matrix [FINJEM]), lifetime tobacco use, lifetime alcohol consumption, oral health questionnaire, hearing assistance (using Glasgow Hearing Aid Questionnaire) and spirituality measures (including religion and attendance at places of worship). Clinical data collection measures include respiratory function (Spirometry [Spida 5 Software]), cardiovascular function (heart rate, blood pressure - using BP Tru Blood Pressure Machine-100), cognition (Audio Recorded Cognitive Screening (ARCS), Neuropsychological battery Mini Mental State Examination [MMSE]), sensory measures (visual acuity, hearing [pure tone audiometry], smell [Sniffin Sticks], vibration sensation [biothesiometry]), obesity (Body Mass Index [BMI], Waist-to-hip-ratio [WHR]), functional performance (functional reach test, Timed Up and Go, grip strength), physical activity (self-reported and individual pedometry results), bone density (ultrasound ankle bone Densitometry), vaccination history and Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) use. Physical data collection measures via routine haematological and biochemical tests include full blood count, fibrinogen, lipids, triglycerides, liver function test, proteins, electrolytes, urea, urate, creatinine. fasting total cholesterol, fasting blood glucose.
Inquiries regarding the use of collected data are welcomed. All proposals for specific analyses are reviewed by a scientific committee. Please contact Professor John Attia or Professor Cate D'Este for futher information.
Proposals to use the data must be reviewed by the committee.