Research Group "Lung Epidemiology"


GINIplus: German Infant Study on the Influence of Nutrition Intervention plus Environmental and Genetic Influences on Allergy Development

GINIplus LogoGINIplus is a multicentre, population-based prospective birth cohort study started in 1995. The study consists of two arms: an interventional and an observational arm. Both arms together represent a population-based birth cohort which is now followed up for 20 years. Newborns with family history of allergy were recruited for the interventional arm (GINI = German Infant Nutritional Intervention program): a randomized, double-blind controlled trial with 3 hydrolysed formula versus cow’s milk formula feeding during first 4 months of life (n=1165 in Munich, n=1087 in Wesel). Newborns with a negative or positive family history but refusing participation at the trial were included to the observational study arm.
 For the ongoing 20-year-follow up more than 3000 children will be followed. The study objectives are to describe the natural course of a broad spectrum of selected health parameters starting from infancy to young adulthood with focusing on the development of atopic diseases, to determine the impact of feeding regimen in infancy, environmental exposures, life style factors and genetic predisposition and to investigate the influence of mental health, nutrition, body weight and physical activity on the health of children.

details & Homepage for participants (german)

LISA: Influence of Life-Style Factors on the Development of the Immune System and Allergies in East and West Germany

LISAplus is a multicentre, population based prospective birth cohort study. 3097 healthy, full-term neonates were recruited in Munich, Wesel, Leipzig and Bad Honnef, between the years 1997 and 1999. The study objectives are to investigate the influence of life-style factors, environmental exposures, and health-related behaviour on the development of the immune system and the incidence of allergic diseases in children and to determine the influence of traffic emissions and genetics.

details & Homepage for participants (german)

KORA: Kooperative Gesundheitsforschung in der Region Ausgburg (Cooperative Health Research in the Augsburg Region) – Lung function and lung diseases

KORA LogoLung research in KORA is focussed on COPD and asthma of mild and moderate disease severity aiming to determine the impact of genetic predisposition, environmental exposures, life style factors, particularly physical activity and sleep, on biological aging of the lung and its interactions with common comorbidities by different omics techniques and a broad spectrum of biomarkers. The significance of established and novel disease markers established in clinical studies (COSYCONET) is translated into the population and the predictive value for subclinical and early stages of lung disease or subjects at risk is tested. The detection of early stages of lung diseases is highly dependent on comprehensive lung function indices and their timely reference equations, particularly for advanced age. Beside the widely applied spirometry, mechanical properties of the respiratory system, gas exchanging capacity for both carbon monoxide and nitric oxide, inspiratory muscle strengths and respiratory control are determined under epidemiological settings and their informative content and significance for epidemiological studies evaluated. We contribute with well characterized representative data to quantify regional prevalence, incidence and remission of COPD and asthma and in Germany.


GNC: The German National Cohort – Respiratory Health

The NAKO aims to increase the understanding of particular risk factors in the development and progression of major chronic diseases including lung diseases by studying 200,000 subjects aged 20 to 69 years. The Institute of Epidemiology is responsible for respiratory diseases and coordinating the lung function module (spirometry and exhaled niric oxide (FeNO)) across all 18 study centers in Germany to assess the respiratory status as well as the prevalence and incidence of chronic lung diseases in Germany and determine their role in multimorbidity as well as to elucidate the complex interplay between genetic background, life style factors and environmental burden for the development and progression of lung diseases.


COSYCONET: “COPD and SYstemic consequences-COmorbidities NETwork”, The German COPD Cohort

The COSYCONET study establishes a large, comprehensive longitudinal database covering a broad panel of comorbidities and markers of systemic alterations. These data are of unique value in revealing specific phenotypes of COPD via patterns and risk profiles of comorbidities, enabling a more precise diagnosis and targeting of therapy, and an efficient allocation of resources. The KORA population-based cohorts function as reference for the COPD cohort and extend the spectrum of patients from lung healthy serving as control towards early and preclinical stages of respiratory impairment. This allows studying the transition from health to disease and identifying specific subtypes with respect to the COPD phenotype and comorbidity patterns aiming for precision medicine and personalized prevention strategies. The medical care and socio-economic burdens of the different disease stages in light of comorbidities are assessed in cooperation with the Institute of Health Economics and Health Care Management.


ECRHS: European Community Respiratory Health Survey

ECRHS was carried out in response to the world-wide increase in asthma prevalence in the 1980s, which pointed to environmental factors being important in the development of the disease. The multi-centre study began in 1990, with follow-up studies up to 20 years. There are two German centres included: Erfurt (East Germany) and Hamburg (West Germany).

ECRHS aims to examine temporal changes in lung function, incidence and remission of respiratory and allergic diseases, as well as to determine associations with new risk factors in adults, to describe the long-term development of asthma, allergic rhinitis and sensitisation to allergens, to identify the environmental and genetic determinants associated with the development of allergic diseases, to quantify lung function decline and the incidence of COPD and their determinants, including environmental and work related risk factors and to describe the changes in asthma treatment on population and individual level and their influence on the prevalence of asthma symptoms.





The SpiroMeta consortium consists of 14 cohorts to facilitate large-scale GWAS of lung function: ALSPAC, B58C-T1DGC, B58C-WTCCC, EPIC (obese and population-based substudies), the EUROSPAN studies (Korcula, NSPHS, ORCADES and Vis), FTC (incorporating the FinnTwin16 and Finnish Twin Study on Aging), KORA, NFBC1966, SHIP and TwinsUK.

CHARGE (Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology)

The CHARGE Consortium was formed to facilitate GWAS meta-analyses and replication opportunities among multiple large and well-phenotyped cohort studies. The CHARGE Consortium includes five prospective cohort studies from the US and Europe: the Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility (AGES)-Reykjavik Study, the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study, the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS), the Framingham Heart Study (FHS), and the Rotterdam Study (RS).


ENGAGE (European Network for Genetic and Genomic Epidemiology)

The ENGAGE Consortium has brought together 24 leading research organizations and two biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies across Europe and in Canada and Australia. The concept of ENGAGE is to enable European researchers to identify large numbers of novel susceptibility genes that influence metabolic, behavioural and cardiovascular traits, and to study the interactions between genes and life style factors. ENGAGE aims to translate the wealth of data emerging from large-scale research in genetic and genomic epidemiology from European (and other) population cohorts into information relevant to future clinical applications.


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