Because the main study is focused on cognition and dementia it has collected the necessary dimensions of physical and mental health to arrive at a study diagnosis of dementia. It now has four major themes:
- Healthy policy and health
- Healthy Active Life Expectancy (HALE)
- Dementia(covering all aspects including cognition)
What are the main strengths?
The study is multisite and multidisciplinary. The population is truly representative with high response rates at each stage over diverse sites. Where there is no heterogeneity across sites the study is sufficiently large to provide indicative values for national estimates. The broad scope of measures has allowed the study to contribute to ageing research across a wide range of topics. There are repeat measures on cognition and function, which allows examination of trajectories. There are only two other population-based studies with brain donation in Europe. The study weighted the sample towards the over 75 age group at baseline, which has provided more robust data for the oldest old.
In addition it has particular strengths in that it is one of the very few truly population based programmes with a donation programme – individuals in the study have indicated whether they wish to contribute to brain research through the donation of their brain after death (declaration of intention to donate).
What are the main weaknesses?
It would be desirable to have higher response and lower drop out between waves, but analysis can adjust for loss between interviews. Blood taking and clinical assessment (including imaging) at baseline was not possible because of funding constraints, but venepuncture was included at year 6. The risk measures are self-report, using the available validated measures of the era.
What do I need to do?
The study is explained more fully in the Research Information section on this website, which gives detailed background to the study. A diagram showing the route for researchers interested in CFAS data can be seen on Requesting data, this pages also describe how researchers can request CFAS data.
The study actively encourages collaboration, and there are established mechanisms for approaching us via the themes mentioned above. Information is also available through contact with theme leads, or send emails to the study coordinator Linda Barnes at email@example.com.