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Swiss Cohort Study on Air Pollution and Lung and Heart Diseases in Adults (SAPALDIA)

English title Swiss Cohort Study on Air Pollution and Lung and Heart Diseases in Adults (SAPALDIA)
Applicant Rochat Thierry
Number 108796
Funding scheme Cohort Studies Large
Research institution Division de Pneumologie Département de Médecine Interne Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Respiratory Diseases
Start/End 01.04.2006 - 31.08.2011
Approved amount 8'092'601.00
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All Disciplines (11)

Respiratory Diseases
Cardiovascular Diseases
Immunology, Immunopathology
Environmental Toxicology
Cardiovascular Research
Human Ecology
Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Medical Statistics
Nutritional Research, Vitaminology

Keywords (6)

population-based cohort; respiratory diseases; allergic diseases; cardiovascular risk factors and diseases; chronic diseases; mortality

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
The SAPALDIA study (Swiss Cohort Study on Air Pollution and Lung and Heart Diseases in Adults) is a multicenter study in eight geographic areas representing the range of environmental, meteorological and sociodemographic conditions of Switzerland. It was initiated in 1991 with a follow-up assessment in 2002. SAPALDIA has allowed to assess 1) prevalences and development of major respiratory and allergic symptoms and diseases and the age-related decline in lung function, 2) the distribution of heart rate variability in the general population over age 50, 3) the association of these health indicators with individual long term exposure to air pollution, other toxic inhalants, life style and molecular factors.
The WHO and the European Research authorities have acknowledged the importance of SAPALDIA as one of the very few population-based adult cohort studies in Europe. It is well positioned to address crucial questions of air pollution epidemiology and important environmental health policy-related questions in the coming years.

When SAPALDIA was initiated in 1991, 9'651 subjects, aged 18 to 60 years, were recruited for a detailed computer-based interview and more than 90% of them underwent lung function and atopy testing. More than 7'000 of the subjects had bronchial reactivity tested by a methacholine challenge.
SAPALDIA shares parts of its study protocol with the European Community Respiratory Health Survey with which it is linked through the study center of Basel. Since 1991 SAPALDIA has been carefully following address histories of its participants. In the 2002 follow-up, 8'047 provided health information, 6'528 persons underwent physical re-examination, and6'345 provided blood samples to establish an extensive blood, plasma, serum and DNA bank. In addition, 1'813 subjects aged 50 or older participated in 24h-ECG Holter monitoring to provide detailed data on parameters of heart rate variability. Innovative analyses on gene-environment interactions have been performed and important findings include the identification of GST-polymorphisms as an effect modifier for active and passive smoking on lung function and heart rate variability.
With the inclusion of cardiovascular endpoints, SAPALDIA is one of the first studies examining effects from long-term exposure to air pollution on cardiovascular health parameters as well as mutual influence between the respiratory and the cardiovascular system.

The current project that has been sponsored by the SNF provides SAPALDIA with a solid infrastructural basis for the next 3 years enabling it to 1) further study determinants of chronic and cardio-vascular health based on the current database 2) maintain the bio bank, continuously update environmental data, addresses, individual exposure histories, and mortality, and 3) set the stage for a third health examination in 2010 with its scientific potential inherent to the ageing of the cohort.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


Name Institute

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
147022 Körperliche Aktivität als Komponente des Lebensstils zur aggressiven Minderung atherosklerotischer Modifikatoren (ADAM) bei älteren Individuen: die SAPALDIA Kohorten Studie 01.05.2013 Project funding (special)
148470 SAPALDIA Cohort on Healthy Aging 01.04.2014 Cohort Studies Large
135673 Air Pollution Exposure Assessment in Eight Swiss Areas 01.06.2011 Project funding (special)
134276 Swiss Cohort Study on Air Pollution and Lung and Heart Diseases in Adults (SAPALDIA) 01.04.2011 Cohort Studies Large
133148 Airflow obstruction in non-smoking women: the role of air pollution and co-determinants in two longitudinal studies in Switzerland and Germany (D-A-CH/MFCL) 01.01.2011 Project funding (special)
177506 SAPALDIA 5 - Cohort on Healthy Aging 01.04.2018 Cohort Studies Large
129021 SAPALDIA Off-spring study 01.06.2010 Marie Heim-Voegtlin grants
141671 SAPALDIA Off-spring study 01.06.2012 Marie Heim-Voegtlin grants