Government of Canada supports research on aging

Study to offer new insights into how to age well

For immediate release –

2012-53


Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), delivered the opening remarks at the official grand opening and launch of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) at McMaster University. The CLSA represents a $50-million investment.


Two participants in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA). Over the next 20 years, 50,000 men and women aged 45 to 85 will be followed as part of the study.

Hamilton, ON (September 28, 2012) – On behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, the Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), today delivered the opening remarks at the official grand opening and launch of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) at McMaster University.

The CLSA is a national, long-term study of health and aging. Over the next 20 years, 50,000 men and women aged 45 to 85 will be followed as part of the study. McMaster University is at the forefront of this ambitious project, which includes 11 data collection sites, four telephone interview centres and three data analysis facilities across Canada. The CLSA National Coordinating Centre is located in Hamilton.

"This study will create a large research platform to allow researchers, policy-makers, governments and other stakeholders answer critical questions about aging," said Minister Wong. "The undertaking by the research team will provide new information to guide policies and programs to enhance the quality of life for Canadians."

The CLSA collects information on the changing biological, medical, psychological, social, lifestyle and economic aspects of people's lives as they age. Some participants take part in at-home interviews and visit data collection sites for physical assessments. Others provide information through telephone interviews. To date, more than 10,000 participants have been recruited into the study.

The data collected as part of the CLSA will form a national research database that will help scientists to answer key questions about health and aging. In particular, the CLSA research platform will lead to new insights and better understanding of what it means to age well.

"The CLSA is more than a study. It represents a unique platform that will be used by researchers from all disciplines and fields for decades to come thanks to the range of information that will be gathered and analyzed," said Yves Joanette, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Aging.

In Hamilton, the CLSA facilities include the National Coordinating Centre, the Bioanalysis and Biorepository Centre and the McMaster Data Collection Site. All three are located at the McMaster Innovation Park.

"The CLSA team is excited to showcase our research facilities and demonstrate all that has been accomplished in launching Canada's largest study of health and aging," said Parminder Raina, lead principal investigator of the study and a professor of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster University. "The success of the CLSA is made possible through the commitment of our researchers and partners, as well as the ongoing contributions of participants."

"Canadian communities are already facing the challenges and opportunities brought on by demographic change," said Gilles G. Patry, president and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation. "The research community is ensuring that we have the knowledge and innovation needed to support our aging population."


Ribbon cutting to officially open of the CLSA facilities at McMaster University. The data collected as part of the CLSA will form a national research database that will help scientists to answer key questions about health and aging.


Minister Wong receives a tour of the Biorepository and Bioanalysis Centre at McMaster University. The Biorepository and Bioanalysis Centre is the central location for the storage and analysis of biological samples (blood and urine) collected at each of the data collection sites. The Hamilton-based centre also houses a bioanalysis laboratory which will be dedicated to detailed sample analysis.

The CLSA is a collaborative project involving more than 160 researchers at 26 institutions across Canada. The co-principal investigators of the study are Susan Kirkland of Dalhousie University and Christina Wolfson of McGill University.

The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) is a strategic initiative of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Funding for the study has been provided by the Government of Canada through the CIHR and the Canada Foundation for Innovation. Additional support has been provided by provincial ministries across Canada, including the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, as well as affiliated universities and research institutions across Canada.


Participants selected to take part in physical assessments visit one of 11 data collection
facilities across the country. Visits include a variety of clinical measurements and cognitive
tests, including a bone density scan (shown in picture), vision and hearing assessments.
Participants are also given the option of donating blood.

Backgrounder

- 30 -

Photos and video of the CLSA research facilities

To arrange interviews, please contact:

David Coulombe
CIHR Media Relations
613-941-4563
Cell: 613-808-7526
Mediarelations@cihr-irsc.gc.ca

Laura Thompson
Communications Officer
Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA)
McMaster University
905-525-9140, ext. 21413
lthomp@mcmaster.ca

Veronica McGuire
Media Relations
Faculty of Health Sciences
McMaster University
905-525-9140, ext. 22169
vmcguir@mcmaster.ca

About McMaster University
McMaster University, one of four Canadian universities listed among the Top 100 universities in the world, is renowned for its innovation in both learning and discovery. It has a student population of 23,000, and more than 156,000 alumni in 140 countries.

About the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's health research investment agency. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 14,100 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

About the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)
Created by the Government of Canada in 1997, the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) strives to build our nation's capacity to undertake world-class research and technology development to benefit Canadians. Thanks to CFI investment in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions are attracting and retaining the world's top talent, training the next generation of researchers, supporting private-sector innovation and creating high-quality jobs that strengthen Canada's position in today's knowledge economy.