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The 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. The design of SHARE has been published in:

Börsch-Supan, A., Brandt, M., Hunkler, C., Kneip, T., Korbmacher, J., Malter, F., Schaan, B., Stuck, S., & Zuber, S. (2013). Data resource profile: the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). International Journal of Epidemiology, 42(4), 992-1001,

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, PI Axel Börsch-Supan. 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 first release of the data will be available on the SHARE website in the data section under “accompanying data sets”. The accompanying

Release documentation


  • 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
  • the assays employed to determine the blood biomarker concentrations in DBS collected in the home of survey respondents
  • the validations and adjustments 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
  • the resulting distribution of seven blood biomarkers in the twelve countries and by socio-economic characteristics.

The general approach to the validation and adjustment of the laboratory results for the impact of sample collection in a non-medical environment has been published in:

Börsch-Supan, A., Weiss, L. M., Börsch-Supan, M., Potter, A., Cofferen, J., & Kerschner, E. (2021). Dried Blood Spot Collection, sample quality and fieldwork conditions: Structural validations for conversion into standard values. American Journal of Human Biology;

The innovative spot-size correction has been published in:

Groh, R., Weiss, L. M., Börsch-Supan, M., Börsch-Supan, A. (2022). Effects of Spot Size on Biomarker Levels of Field-Collected Dried Blood Spots – A new Algorithm for Exact DBS Size Measurement. American Journal of Human Biology;