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About the ECRHS

ECRHS I was carried out in response to the world-wide increase in asthma prevalence in the 1980s, which pointed to environmental factors being important in the development of the disease. It was the first study to assess the prevalence of asthma and allergic disease in young adults in many countries using a standardised protocol. The multi-centre study began in 1990, collecting data from mainly European countries. It was a two-stage study, with around 200,000 participants in the questionnaire stage 1, and 26,000 in the clinical stage 2. A follow-up study, ECRHS II, was carried out from 1998-2002. The study was funded by the European Commission, as well as by other sources, as part of their Quality of Life Programme. Over 200 papers have now been published, and more reports are in preparation.

We are now following up participants for a second time (ECRHS III).

The aims of the ECRHS III are to

  1. Describe change in respiratory symptom prevalence in adults as they age

  2. Assess change in IgE sensitisation to common allergens in adults as they age

  3. Determine whether the prognosis of asthma is influenced by any observed change in atopic status

  4. Assess whether atopic status and asthma as measured over a twenty year period is associated with lung function decline or the development of COPD in older adults

  5. Describe the association of obesity and physical exercise with asthma, lung function, lung function decline and the prognosis of asthma

Throughout we will assess whether observed effects are similar in men and women and assess whether menopausal status influences associations within women. 
Although we will focus on these aims data generated through this project will also be analysed to provide observational evidence of associations of lifestyle and environmental factors (eg occupation and air pollution) with atopy, respiratory symptoms, lung function decline and the development of COPD.

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