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Human biomaterial banks (short: biobanks) are collections of human body substances (i.e. blood, DNA, urine or tissue) connected with disease specific information. This allow for research of relations between deseases and underlying (molecular) modifications and paves the way for developing target-oriented therapies ("personalized medicine"). The biobank material arises from samples taken for therapeutical or diagnostic reasons or is extracted in the context of clinical trials. An approval for usage by the patient is always needed prior to any research activities.
Older persons are often referred to physicians because of complaints of progressive difficulties in walking. The diagnostic and therapeutic approach to these patients is complex. Multiple physiologic subsystems may influence the ability to walk and no standard criteria are currently available to establish whether these subsystems are functioning within the “normal” range. To address lack of knowledge Dr. Luigi Ferrucci and Dr. Stefania Bandinelli conducted InCHIANTI, a representative population-based study of older persons living in the Chianti geographic area (Tuscany, Italy). The data collection started in September 1998 and was completed in March 2000. 3 and 6-year follow-up assessment of the InCHIANTI study population were performed in the years 2001-2003 and 2004-2006. A nine-year follow-up is already planned and funded through an NIA grant. The InCHIANTI Biobank is a collection of biological samples of the study population.
ALSPAC is a longitudinal birth cohort study which enrolled pregnant women who were resident in one of three Bristol-based health districts in the former County of Avon with an expected delivery date between 1st April 1991 and 31st December 1992. Around 14,000 pregnant women were initially recruited. Detailed information has been collected on these women, their partners and subsequent children using self-completion questionnaires, data extraction from medical notes, linkage to routine information systems and from hands-on research clinics. Additional cohorts of participants have since been enrolled in their own right including fathers, siblings, children of the children and grandparents of the children. Ethical approval for the study was obtained from the ALSPAC Ethics and Law Committee (IRB00003312) and Local Research Ethics.