cohort-image-01
The UAE has amongst the highest rates of Diabetes Mellitus in the world.

Introduction

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.

Methods

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

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 summer of 2018.

Phase 1

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.

Phase 2

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.