German scientists are planning the country’s biggest biomedical study. The National Cohort will be an intensive investigation of the health, lifestyle and genetics of 200,000 people, at an estimated cost of €210m over 10 years.
…They intend to use the National Cohort “to investigate how chronic diseases are conditioned by lifestyle and environmental issues, as well as by genetic predisposition”.
“Technology has now advanced to the point at which we can use a population study to find and evaluate biomarkers and other tools for early detection of disease,” said Prof Kaaks.
These people will receive extensive medical examinations at the beginning and along the way. Here is one example of what will be done:
The German scientists are keen, for example, to discover how exercise protects against disease. “Better quantitative estimates are required of how much protection there is to be had and how much physical activity is required to obtain it,” said Prof Kaaks. That means studying a very large number of participants whose activity can be assessed regularly over many years or even decades.
Germany has less variation in health care access than does the U.S., but still this is another variable which could be studied, given this data.