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Genetic data on older adults added to online database

March 3, 2014
by Richard R. Rogoski
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Qualified researchers now will have access to genetic data linked to medical information on thousands of older adults, thanks to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The NIH announced this week that it is including data on more than 78,000 people with an average age of 63 to its online genetics database of genotypes and phenotypes (dbGaP).

"In addition to diseases and conditions traditionally associated with aging, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and osteoarthritis, researchers can explore the potential genetic underpinnings of a variety of diseases that affect people in adulthood, including depression, insomnia, diabetes, certain eye diseases and many others representing a variety of disease domains," noted a press release announcing the inclusion of these data."Researchers will also be able to use the database to confirm or disprove other studies that use data from relatively small numbers of people, as well as to increase the size and power of their samples by adding participants from GERA to meta-analyses. The large cohort will also serve as a reference source of controls that researchers can compare to individuals with different conditions that they have studied."

NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, also noted, "Data from this immense and ethnically diverse population will be a tremendous resource for science. It offers the opportunity to identify potential genetic risks and influences on a broad range of health conditions, particularly those related to aging."