The TUDA study aims to collect detailed clinical, lifestyle, dietary, genetic and biochemical data to investigate gene-nutrient interactions in the development of Osteoporosis, Alzheimer¹s and Cardiovascular disease by studying older adults showing the early stages of these common diseases, namely low bone mineral density, early memory loss and hypertension respectively.

Osteoporosis, alzheimer¹s disease and Cardiovascular disease (CVD) are chronic diseases of ageing that impact adversely on the lives of those affected and have major health, social and economic consequences.

A number of factors are considered to be implicated in these diseases. Lifestyle factors such as diet, body weight, smoking, physical activity and years of education are acknowledged as risk factors for the development of these chronic diseases. Of the nutritional factors, calcium and vitamin D are well-established as important nutrients for the maintenance of bone mineral density and the prevention of osteoporosis. New research however, now suggests that elevated homocysteine (an amino acid) and/or low blood levels of B-vitamins (folate, vitamin B12) may be associated not only with a higher risk of osteoporosis, but also of CVD, in particular stroke, and of cognitive decline and dementia. In addition, genetic factors are increasingly recognised as playing a critical role in disease risk.

Those patients suitable to take part in the TUDA study will be: over 60 years of age and have been diagnosed with hypertension, or currently taking hypertensive medication. Suitable patients will be required to:

  • Complete a detailed health and lifestyle questionnaire to obtain information on diet, general health, drug and vitamin supplement use.
  • Complete physiological function tests (e.g. blood pressure, DXA scans to measure bone density and a range of cognitive function tests to assess memory).
  • Have their height, weight and waist/hip measurements taken.
  • Provide a blood sample which will be analysed for both clinical markers of health (e.g. renal function, Liver function, cholesterol, full blood count, folic acid, B vitamins and blood sugar) and genetic information.

For further information contact Dr Geraldine Horigan ( g.horigan@ulster.ac.uk This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )