By: Jackie Glodener
The CHDWB was originally located at Emory Midtown until 2013 when the study moved over to the Emory University Hospital on the Clifton Road campus. Approximately 900 healthy people were invited to join the study, and over 750 people consented and were enrolled, most of who are Emory faculty, staff and some students. Enrollment closed in 2012. The remaining participants that signed up in 2012 will continue to participate in the study through 2017.
Participants in this longitudinal 5-year study are seen for annual visits. They complete online questionnaires and surveys before each visit to report health history, physical activity, medication and supplement use, spirituality, mental health, quality of life, stress, sleep issues, and others. The annual visit includes many health assessments including vital signs, a blood draw, and a urine sample. The visit measures more factors than a standard annual visit would. Skin caliper measurements are taken (pictured below) and waist-hip ratio is calculated, which can be used to predict disease risk. Other health measures taken at each visit include a cardiovascular ultrasound, treadmill test, bone density scan, and body composition measures (using the DEXA scanner). After the visit, participants receive a comprehensive Health Assessment report of all their data from all of their visits, which they can share with their Primary Care physician. These data points are interesting to look at over the length of the study, and allow the study participants to look at their personal health trends over time and evaluate their own health in a more holistic way.
The study has had many positive effects so far. According to a recent report, the study participants showed improved health after only one year of participation- this included weight loss, lower blood pressure, decreased LDL- cholesterol, and improved mental health. This program contributed to the development of Emory’s Predictive Health minor, housed in the Center for the Study of Human Health. Undergraduate students pursing this minor can take classes related to preventative and predictive health. On the other end, the data and samples from the study are being used to make new discoveries. Researchers at Georgia Tech perform genetic analysis of the samples, analyze data from the study, and study metabolomics using the samples. Over 50 peer-reviewed papers and 2 books have resulted from the CHDWB study. Since the data request form has become available online, researchers can ask an endless number of questions by using the data from the CHDWB. By using the data from this study, we can learn how to change the paradigm of health in the United States and integrate preventative and predictive health into our daily lives.
I would like to thank both Greg Martin and Jane Clark, of the CHDWB, for their contributions to this blog.