Support the MURDOCK Study’s NHLBI funding proposal

The MURDOCK Study team is preparing to respond to an NHLBI funding opportunity announcement that will provide sustaining infrastructure support for existing longitudinal cohort studies that are prospectively following at least 2,000 participants. The MURDOCK Study Community Registry and Biorepository is a 12,470+ person community-based longitudinal health study centered in Cabarrus County and the city of Kannapolis, NC.

The intent of the NHLBI funding opportunity is to maximize the value of these cohort studies as a platform for the research community to leverage for investigator-initiated grant applications that address innovative hypotheses relevant to heart, lung, blood, and sleep diseases and disorders.

In addition to infrastructure support, there will be funding for the planning and conduct of a cycle of in-person follow-up characterization of the cohort. As an adjunct to this primary funding opportunity, the NHBLI intends to publish Notice(s) announcing an opportunity for researchers to submit investigator-initiated grant applications that propose to leverage these cohorts or to add additional exam components that address innovative research hypotheses of interest to the NHLBI. 

As a part of our application, we must provide examples of types of innovative research questions and hypotheses, including additional exam components, for which investigators could envision leveraging the augmented MURDOCK Study platform and the cycle of in-person visits created through this funding mechanism.

We are asking your support. Please review the description of the MURDOCK Study and its major nested subcohorts below and provide 1 to 3 short examples of innovative studies/additional data collection or testing you might propose through these ancillary funding announcements.   

Please access our very brief survey here to provide your ideas for innovative studies.

Description of MURDOCK Study and Nested Subcohorts

The MURDOCK Study Community Registry and Biorepository is a 12,470+ person community-based longitudinal health study centered in Cabarrus County and the city of Kannapolis, NC. Initiated in 2009, the median duration of follow up for the cohort is 6.4 (4.6, 7.6) years (40,709 participant years). The median age of the cohort at enrollment was 53 (40, 64) years (median current age, 58 [46, 70] years); 66% of participants are women, 12% Hispanic, and 14% African American. Typical of the Southeastern U.S., the cohort has substantial rates of baseline comorbidities relevant to heart, lung, blood and sleep diseases and disorders (e.g., smoking 12%, diabetes 18%, hypertension 38%, elevated cholesterol 45%; 31% obesity [median BMI 28 (24, 32) kg/m2]). At baseline 14% had coronary artery disease or prior myocardial infarction, 6.2% atrial fibrillation/flutter, and 4% heart failure. Among other major chronic diseases at baseline, 28% reported depression and 24% osteoarthritis.

Baseline characterization included date and place of birth; demographics; self-reported health history encompassing 34 disease domains and related procedures (and menopausal status in women); medications and supplements (name, dose, route, frequency); dietary and physical activity (on the job and leisure time) assessments; hours of sleep per night; tobacco and alcohol use; secondhand smoke exposure; and selected PROMIS participant-reported outcomes domains. Socio-economic data included marital status, highest level of education of participant and participant’s parents, employment status, parent’s occupations, housing (type, how paid for, number of adults and children in the household), total household income, and subjective assessment of how well off the participant’s family was during his/her childhood. In addition, a brief physical exam was conducted at enrollment (heart rate, blood pressure, height, weight and waist circumference). All participants provided 60 mLs of blood stored as whole blood, PaxGene RNA tubes, plasma and serum in 500 microliter aliquots, and buffy coat. In addition, 30 mL of urine was stored in 10 mL aliquots.

All participants are geospatially mapped at their home street address level to enable attribution of publically available natural and built environmental features to the individual using geospatial information systems. Participants are consented for ongoing access to their EHRs and contact up to four times per year for recruitment into new studies, and are followed yearly by a mailed or emailed survey that repeats the baseline survey questions and self-report of incident illnesses in categories surveyed at baseline.

The MURDOCK Study has 3 nested sub-cohorts that have undergone more detailed characterization focused on specific diseases or health states that may be of interest to the NHLBI or other investigators and for which repeat characterization will be conducted during the cycle of follow-up visits:

  • Aging and physical function (Harvey Cohen/Miriam Morey; N=1000; equal numbers of men and women by age decile from 30 to 80+ years): physical performance and cognitive testing was done at the MURDOCK Study baseline visit and 2-year follow-up (Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), 4-meter walk, 6-min walk test (w/ pulse oximetry), 30-sec sit/stand, single leg balance, and accelerometry); serial biospecimen collection at 2-year follow-up
  • Memory and cognitive health (Kathie Welsh-Bohmer; N=1581, age 55 years or older): MoCA, Trails B, and word recall testing at MURDOCK Study baseline visit and 2-year follow up; serial biospecimen collection at 2-year follow-up
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (Scott Palmer/Jamie Todd; N=850, age >40 years with >10 pk year smoking history and COPD [screening FEV1/FVC <0.70]; symptomatic current or past Smoker with Respiratory Symptoms [SRS] and FVC >80% predicted and CAT score >10; or Preserved Ratio Impaired Spirometry [PRISm; FEV1/FVC >0.7 and FEV1 <80%]). Characterization included burden of COPD exacerbation within the prior year, relevant concomitant medications, International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) short form, 6-min walk test, and q6 month alternating in-person and telephone follow up for 60 months.

MURDOCK study and more

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