World's largest respiratory health study launches next phase

The Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study (TAHS), the worlds largest and longest running respiratory health research study, is launching a new research phase focussing on the 21,000 brothers and sisters of the original sample.

The TAHS (formerly the Tasmanian Asthma Survey) is a collaboration between the Menzies Research Institute in Tasmania, University of Melbourne and Monash University. Senior Member of the Respiratory Research Group at the Menzies Prof. Haydn Walters said the study, which originated in Tasmania, aims to provide a better understanding of the factors that affect the respiratory health of the community.

The study is now the worlds largest and longest running research study on respiratory health and one of the most significant community and family studies on respiratory diseases such as asthma, Prof. Walters said.

The TAHS started in 1968 by surveying all 8,500 children born in Tasmania in 1961 through schools across the State.

In this next phase of the study we are hoping to contact all the brothers and sisters of those original 8,500 children which will allow us to study different children from the same family.

Brothers and sisters share some of their genes but they also share their childhood environments.

Studying siblings is a very important way to identify how diseases group within families. It also allows us to dissect out influences of both genes and the environment in the development of respiratory disease, and also in the maintenance of good lung function and health into middle age.

Questionnaires will be sent later this month to all the brothers and sisters of the original TAHS participants. So if you have a brother or sister who was born in 1961 then keep your eye out for our questionnaire. We are hoping that everyone will get on board and support this important ground breaking research.

We are asking everyone who receives a questionnaire to complete and return it. Its

Contact: Lucinda Bray
Research Australia

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