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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.
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WHIP is a database of individual work histories, based on Inps administrative archives. The reference population is made up by all the people – Italian and foreign – who have worked in Italy even only for only a part of their working career. A large representative sample has been extracted from this population: in the standard file the sampling coefficient is about 1: 180, for a dynamic population of about 370,000 people (figures will be doubled in the full edition). For each of these people the main episodes of their working careers are observed. The complete list of observations includes: private employee working contracts, atypical contracts, self-employment activities as artisan, trader and some activities as freelancer, retirement spells, as well as non-working spells in which the individual received social benefits, like unemployment subsidies or mobility benefits. The workers for whom activity is not observed in WHIP are those who worked in the public sector or as freelancers (lawyers or notaries) – who have an autonomous security fund. The WHIP section concerning employee contracts is a Linked Employer Employee Database: in addition to the data about the contract, thanks to a linkage with the Inps Firm Observatory, data concerning the firm in which the worker is employed is also available.