Ontario Health Study largest of its kind | Print |
Written by Katlyn Fledderus   
Friday, 16 March 2012 08:48

The Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project has launched the Ontario Health Study  Canada's largest single health study to date.

                    Professor Lyle Palmer, head scientist for the Ontario Health Study. COURTESY CNW Group/Ontario Health Study

Professor Lyle Palmer, executive scientific director of the OHS, said the study is a novelty because of its online approach, diversity in participants, large scale, and long-term commitment.

"We will be following individuals over their entire lifespan, giving us the ability to look at the development and progression of common conditions in the general population," said Palmer in a recent press release.

Funded by the Ontario Institue for Cancer Research, Cancer Care Ontario, Public Health Ontario, and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, the study was formed to help scientists better understand the complex factors behind heart disease, cancer, diabetes, asthma, Alzheimer's and other common diseases.

The study also pieces together how lifestyle, family history and environment interact to affect people's health over time.

With the information gathered throughout the study's operation, scientists hope to improve strategies for the early detection and treatment of illnesses as well as to help prevent disease entirely, the press release states.

"The opportunity of the study is enormous and the larger the pool of participants, the richer our research insights and outcomes will be," said Palmer, adding that, "We have exceeded our expectaction, but the goal is to recruit one million Ontarians into the study."

David Henry, president and CEO of Toronto’s Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, said in a Globe and Mail article that the study is extremely important.

“What it will do is spawn or nest hundreds and hundreds of studies,” Henry said.

Anyone 18 or older in Ontario may enroll in the OHS and complete the 30-40 minute questionaire.

The study has already received 175,000 registered participants. 

Yana Klimova, a 20-year-old paralegal student at Humber College and eligible candidate for the study, agreed it was something she would feel comfortable contributing to.

"I think that studies like these are very important, especially for the future of our health," said Klimova. "If we don't do things like this, finding cures for diseases would take much longer."

When questioned about whether she felt her privacy was safe, Klimova said she felt the level of professionalism from the study was enough to set her mind at ease.

"I feel like a study of this calber would be very careful about [privacy], certainly it's something that I would need to know more about, but as is I feel my information would be protected."

An estimated 9.5 million citizens of Ontario are eligible to volunteer for the study.

Below, Palmer discusses the future of the study and what the OHS hopes for.

Source: Canadian News Wire

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