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DBS Project

SHARE, the “Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe”, is a large population-based panel survey among people aged 50 and over with data from 28 European countries and Israel. It investigates individual, economic, health-related, and social life-course circumstances in order to shed light on the challenges of population aging for individuals and society as a whole. In order to maintain intertemporal, international and intercultural comparability, SHARE has adopted collection of objective health data. SHARE measures physical performance, such as grip strength, peak expiratory flow, walking speed, chair stand, word recall, and includes test batteries for depression, cognition and mental health.

Moreover, SHARE collected dried blood spot (DBS) samples in twelve countries as part of a project funded by the US National Institute on Aging under grant R01AG063944. The collection was harmonized across these countries in terms of designing documents, gaining consent, procuring blood-collection material, and training interviewers how to collect DBS samples while observing the national ethic and administrative regulations in all countries. Altogether, approximately 27,200 respondents consented, resulting in an overall participation rate of 67% with considerable differences between countries and interviewers.

The attached paper describes the achievements of the project so far. This includes the carefully monitored processes of gaining consent for DBS collection and for the implementation, collection and evaluation of the to-date largest DBS-based study of a representative adult population in Europe. We describe the assays employed to determine the blood biomarker concentrations in DBS collected in the home of survey respondents and the validation and adjustment of the laboratory results for the impact of sample collection in a non-medical environment, such as spot size, drying time, temperature, humidity and storage time. Finally, we present the resulting distribution of seven blood biomarkers in the twelve countries and by socio-economic characteristics.

You can find a working paper with detailed information on the collection of DBS, their laboratory analysis and the generated variables for users of the DBS data here.