Lung disease is now a leading cause of death in the country due to the increase in COVID-19 infections and related deaths. At a time when lung health is more important than ever, today, the American Lung Association and Northwestern Medicine announced they are now accepting participants in Chicago for a groundbreaking study of millennial lung health.
The American Lung Association Lung Health Cohort is the first-ever large-scale lung health study that will track 4,000 young adults (aged 25-35) at the age of peak lung health. Scientists across the country will follow these millennials for approximately five years after their initial interviews to evaluate how their environment, lifestyle and physical activity habits affect respiratory health.
American Lung Association Lung Health associates are now accepting study participants in Chicago, and 39 other sites across the U.S. Northwestern Medicine is the first Lung Health site in the country and the lead institution for the study. University of Illinois Hospital is also accepting study participants. Those interested can sign up here.
“Historically, lung health has been studied only after the appearance of chronic lung disease. Little has been done, however, to understand the evolution of respiratory disease and determine how a young, healthy adult’s lung function declines over time,” said Ravi Kalhan, M.D., M.S., Northwestern Medicine Pulmonologist and Lung Health Cohort Principal Investigator. “The Lung Health Cohort Study promises to be among the most innovative and significant longitudinal studies conducted to date. We hope to learn about how chronic lung diseases evolve, so scientists can propose new interception and prevention strategies that may effectively reduce the physical, emotional, financial and social burden of chronic lung disease. We also hope to determine whether air pollution, inhalants like marijuana and e-cigarettes, COVID-19 and other outside factors correlate with lower lung function.”
Here are some details about the American Lung Association Lung Health Cohort study:
It will follow 4,000 young adults at the age of peak lung health, from 25 to 35 years old, in many different regions across the U.S., painting a clear picture of lung health across geography and demography.
Each participant will be tracked for approximately five years on measures of lung function, respiratory symptoms, and information including where they have lived, where and what they did for work, as well as health behaviors, fitness, biomarkers and chest imaging.
This study will use low-dose chest computed tomography (CT) scans, a specialized x-ray that gives a detailed picture of the lungs,to track any signs of early or intermediate lung injury or abnormalities, which clinicians can use to build a library of lung images in various stages of health and disease.
The American Lung Association’s Airways Clinical Research Centers (ACRC) Network will conduct the research working closely with researchers at Northwestern Medicine, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, University of Michigan, University of Alabama-Birmingham, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and all of the ACRC centers.
“Due to the persistent COVID-19 pandemic, lung disease is now a leading cause of death in the U.S., and lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer death, which is why this groundbreaking study comes at a time where lung health is more important than ever,” said Harold Wimmer, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “This study is critical to our work to help people diagnose lung disease earlier and also work to prevent it.”
The longitudinal study is made possible through a $24.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. As the study continues, the goal is to renew the grant so the scientists can continue to follow study participants for the rest of their lives.
Recruitment efforts have already begun in Chicago and will begin soon at 39 additional recruitment sites at top institutions across the country. The scientists will leverage the national infrastructure of the American Lung Association’s Airways Clinical Research Centers, the largest national non-profit clinical network dedicated to asthma and COPD research. Those interested in participating in the study can sign up here.
To learn more about the American Lung Association Lung Health Cohort or to speak with a lung health expert or the principal investigator, contact Jill Dale at [email protected] or 312-940-7001.