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UAE Healthy Future Study
Cardiovascular disease and diabetes are extremely common in the UAE and throughout the Arab World. While cohort studies have made tremendous contributions to scientific knowledge of the epidemiology and determinants of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, none have been done in Arab populations. To study the causes of these diseases and other diseases common to Emirates, we have established a prospective cohort study, the UAE Healthy Future Study.
As the first prospective cohort study in the United Arab Emirates, the UAE Healthy Future Study will provide unique and substantive evidence for both lifestyle and genetic determinants of common diseases in the UAE population.
It will be a resource for researchers throughout the UAE and the wider region with data accessible for all research which will be of benefit to the local population.
We have developed our protocol in collaboration with a number of partners including Zayed Military Hospital, the Abu Dhabi Blood Bank, the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC), UAE University, and Zayed University.
- Pilot Study
- Phase I
- Phase II
In order to finalize the cohort study procedures, a pilot study was conducted on 500 participants. This experience and data have been used to refine our protocol prior to beginning recruitment of the full cohort, which began in 2015. Recruitment for the main study and baseline analyses are expected to be completed by the end of the spring of 2021.
In Phase I of the cohort study, following approval from the relevant research ethics committees, we propose to recruit 20,000 adult subjects from multiple sites including ambulatory care centers, universities and major employers.
After providing informed consent, participants will:
- Complete (via tablet) a 45-minute survey that includes questions on lifestyle, health habits (tobacco use, diet, physical activity), health status, and other factors.
- Have physical measurements taken, including blood pressure, grip strength, and anthropometric measures (weight, height, waist size, and percent body fat).
- Donate biological samples including blood, urine, and an oral wash.
In Phase II, a stratified random subsample (approximately 2,000) of Phase I participants will be invited to return for non-invasive testing, which will include:
- Surrogate markers of cardiovascular disease (e.g., carotid artery intima medial thickness) and
- Pulmonary function (e.g., spirometry)
All data and biologic specimens will be stored in Abu Dhabi. Study subjects will provide consent for long-term follow-up to determine health outcomes and related health determinants. We also plan to make use of new technologies for continuous exposure measurements using smartphones to record diet and physical activity.
This large, population-based cohort study acts as an ‘umbrella’ in that it will enable many research questions to be answered, primarily those looking for associations between exposures (such as physical activity) and outcomes (like Diabetes Mellitus and CVD).
Four Centers currently exist to interpret and analyze the data from the UAE Healthy Future Study:
- Molecular Epidemiology of Diabetes Research Center, with a particular interest in biomarkers for Diabetes Mellitus and Cardiovascular Disease;
- Obesity and Genetic Susceptibility to Diabetes Research Center, focusing on how genes contribute to the very high prevalence of Diabetes Mellitus in Abu Dhabi;
- Oral Microbiome Research Center, focusing on the association between the bacteria in the mouth and cardiovascular disease; and
- Tobacco Control Research Center, with a particular interest in alternative forms of tobacco consumption and tobacco cessation.
20,000 Participants Needed
UAE Nationals interested in participating can join the study by registering at the study assessment centers in Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi Blood Bank) and Al Ain (Al Ain Regional Blood Bank). Once participants have agreed to come on board they will be asked to complete a questionnaire, provide body measurements and samples of blood, urine, and saliva. Participants will then be observed over several years with follow-up online questionnaires and clinic visits in order to understand how important risk factors such as lifestyle, genes and environment are causing obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Contact UsDr. Abdishakur Abdulle
Phone: 800-2327 (toll free)