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What is ECRHS III?

ECRHS III is a follow-up prospective survey of more than 10,000 adults who were first recruited in 1992-1994.  ECRHS II contacted the original participants 10 years later, with ECRHS III being the third wave of data collection on the cohort, beginning in 2008. It is collaborative study collecting data from 14 countries (mostly European).
In ECRHS III, in 29 centres, individuals who took part in the clinical stage of ECRHS I were sent a short screening questionnaire. In 27 of the centres, those who responded were invited to a local fieldwork centre, situated in an outpatient or lung function laboratory in a local hospital or centre. 
The study was funded by the Medical Research Council, as well as other local sources. Analysis is ongoing.

The aims of ECRHS III are:

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

Differences in observed effects are in men and women will be assessed and also whether menopausal status influences associations within women. 
Data generated through this project will also be analysed to provide observational evidence of associations of lifestyle and environmental factors (e.g. occupation and air pollution) with atopy, respiratory symptoms, lung function decline and the development of COPD.

In the local fieldwork centres the following procedures were performed:

  • Detailed administered questionnaire asking about symptoms, exposure to known or suspected risk factors for asthma, and health service utilisation;

  • Generic Quality of life tool and a disease-specific measure of quality of life;

  • Venepuncture - blood was taken for measurement of specific IgE to house dust mite, grass, cat and Cladosporium, as well as total IgE; in some centres samples were also tested for food allergens

  • Measurement of lung function (FEV1 and FVC); measurement of bio-impendence; measurement of exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO);

  • The Asthma Control Test;

  • A food frequency questionnaire;

  • A women specific questionnaire including questions on the menopause and HRT;

  • The International Physical Activity Questionnaire

  • A body shape questionnaire;

  • A sleep questionnaire;

  • An exposure to sunlight questionnaire;

  • Past and current exposure to air pollution was assessed through retrieval of air pollution records

The coordination of ECRHS III in Europe was funded by the Medical Research Council (Grant Number 92091)

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