Affiliates ongoing projects

Two women in a car

Dr. Holly Tuokko, left, and Candrive study participant Cathy McKernan with an in-car device used to track the driving habits of seniors. Photo: Diana Nethercott.

Woman gesturing to a CLSA sign

Dr. Vincenza Gruppuso at the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) data collection site at Gorge Rd Hospital.

Research participant on an exercise machine

Many of Dr. Paul Zehr's experiments are aimed at evaluating the extent to which the nervous system creates elementary units of coordination within and between limbs.

These are some of the projects our research affiliates are working on:

Arm and Leg Coordination During Walking

Many of Dr. Paul Zehr's experiments are aimed at evaluating the extent to which the nervous system creates elementary units of coordination within and between limbs. Recent projects examined the extent to which sensory information is transferred via reflex pathways from the foot to the arms during walking. This is important not just for improving our understanding of arm and leg coordination, but also has application to research in older subjects in which balance control and coordination during walking are impaired, often as an outcome of sensory loss.

Funding for these projects is provided by NSERC and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

Visit Dr. Zehr's website

Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA)

Overview of the study

The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) is a 20-year prospective study recruiting a sample of 50,000 men and women between the ages of 45 and 85 years at baseline. All participants provide a common set of information on demographic, social, physical, clinical, psychological, economic, and health service utilization aspects relevant to health and aging. 30,000 participants provide additional information through physical examinations and the collection of bio specimens (blood and urine samples). The remaining 20,000 provide information through telephone interviews.

The ultimate goal of the CLSA

The ultimate aim of the CLSA is to find ways to improve the health of Canadians by better understanding the processes and dimensions of aging. The CLSA data will enable researchers to pursue projects investigating the biological, medical, and psychological changes that frequently accompany aging. The longitudinal data will also provide opportunities to explore the impact of non-medical factors, such as social and economic changes, on health outcomes from mid-life to older age. The study will provide a valuable research platform that will enable high-quality research on aging and chronic disease, contributing to the identification of modifiable factors that can be used to develop evidence-based health and social care policies, as well as interventions to improve the quality of life of Canadians.

The CLSA is one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind undertaken to date, not only in Canada but around the world

Investigators

Principal Investigators:

Dr. Parminder Raina (Lead Principal Investigators)

Dr. Parminder Raina is a Professor in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics at McMaster University and an Associate Member, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences.

He specializes in in the epidemiology of aging with emphasis on developing the interdisciplinary field of geroscience to understand the processes of aging from cell to society. He has expertise in epidemiologic modeling, systematic review methodology, injury, and knowledge transfer.

He holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Geroscience and the Raymond and Margaret Labarge Chair in Research and Knowledge Application for Optimal Aging. He is the lead investigator of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging. He has served as a Hamilton site lead investigator for the Canadian Study of Health and Aging (population study of Dementia).

Email: praina@mcmaster.ca

Dr. Susan Kirkland (Co-principal Investigator)

Dr. Susan Kirkland is a Professor in the Departments of Community Health & Epidemiology and Medicine, Dalhousie University Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is the Associate Director (Population Studies) of the Geriatric Medicine Research Unit at Dalhousie, Affiliate Scientist at the QEII Health Sciences Centre, and the Director of the Atlantic Interdisciplinary Research Network.

She is trained as an epidemiologist, with expertise in aging, chronic disease epidemiology, health services utilization, and women’s health. Her research relates to the epidemiological examination of health outcomes that are prevalent in older populations, including cardiovasular disease (CVD) and osteoporosis, hepatitis C and cognitive impairment, and the exploration of underlying determinants of health, particularly the interplay between gender and the genetic, social, cultural and economic determinants of health.

Dr. Kirkland has been involved in the CLSA since its inception, and has co-led with Drs. Raina and Wolfson the development of the study design, content, measures, governance structure, and implementations plans. She brings to the team a wealth of knowledge not only in epidemiologic methods relevant to longitudinal studies, but substantive expertise in chronic disease epidemiology, especially as it relates to osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and obesity in vulnerable populations. Dr. Kirkland leads the Halifax DCS and is the director of the CLSA CATI network. She is the CLSA ex-officio representative on the CIHR Ethical Legal and Social Issues Committee that is advisory to the CLSA. She is responsible for the annual REB ethics submissions and the development of protocols that address ethical, legal and social issues. Dr. Kirkland also co-chairs the Training and Research Capacity Committee of the CLSA.

Email: Susan.Kirkland@dal.ca

Dr. Christina Wolfson (Co-principal Investigator)

Dr. Christina Wolfson is a Professor in the departments of Epidemiology, Biostatistics & Occupational Health, and Medicine, at McGill University, and is a senior scientist in the Brain Repair and Integrative Neuroscience Program at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre.

She is trained as a biostatistician and epidemiologist and is a Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology. Her program of research lies in the epidemiology of neurodegenerative disorders and she has conducted research in dementia, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. She maintains a methodological and statistical research program, the goals of which are to improve both the design and analysis of observational studies.

As a co-principal investigator on the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging she leads the Neurological Conditions Initiative and the Veterans Health Initiative. She is also the director of the CLSA Statistical Analysis Centre and was the inaugural chair of the CLSA Interim Data and Sample Access Committee.

Email: Christina.wolfson@mcgill.ca

Victoria Site Principal Investigators

Dr. Debra Sheet

Debra Sheets is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Victoria (UVic) and research affiliate with the Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health. She received her doctorate in Gerontology and Public Policy from the University of Southern California.

Dr. Sheets is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, the Gerontological Society of America and the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE).  Her research interests focus on gerontology and geriatric nursing — and in particular healthy aging, technology in home care, caregiving, and nursing education.

Email: dsheets@uvic.ca

Dr. Lynne Young

Lynne Young is a professor at the University of Victoria (UVic) School of Nursing and research affiliate with the Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health. She is a member of the Joanna Briggs Institute for Evidence Based Health Care and serves as UVic School of Nursing lead on a Comprehensive Systematic Review initiative.

 Dr. Young’s current research focuses on women’s health promotion with a focus on older women, gender and cardiovascular care, competency-based nursing education, and pain care. She holds a PhD in nursing from the University of British Columbia.

Email: leyoung@uvic.ca

CLSA Team

The CLSA is a national research collaboration involving a multidisciplinary team of more than 160 researchers from 26 universities across Canada. The team includes experts in biology, genetics, clinical research, social sciences, economics, psychology, nutrition, health services, statistics, epidemiology, and population health.

The CLSA is a strategic initiative of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The CLSA has also established a large network of partners that includes provincial and federal governments, national health charities, non-profit organizations and the private sector. Internationally, the CLSA has collaborations with other longitudinal and cohort studies on aging.

Participants

The 20,000 participants who provide information through telephone interview were randomly sampled across Canada to obtain generalizable results about health determinates health status and health-system utilization for provinces. These subjects were recruited using Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community health Survey (CCHS)-Health Aging as an enrolment platform. The sample was supplemented utilizing the provincial health-care registration databases and random digit dialing.

The 30,000 participants who undergo physical examinations and provide bio specimens are being recruited from within a 25-to-25 km radius of one of the CLSA’s 11 data collection sites. Participants are recruited using provincial health-care registration databases and random data dialing. While administrative and infrastructure requirements for this cohort require a sampling strategy that will not result in a nationally representative sample of the Canadian population, it will, nevertheless, be national in scope.

Locations

Halifax, Hamilton, Montreal, Ottawa, Sherbrook, St. John, Surrey, Calgary, Vancouver, Victoria, Winnipeg.

Research Status

To date, more than 46,000 participants have been recruited. The alphanumeric data from the 20,000 participants who completed baseline telephone interviews are now available for release to approved researchers.

Canadians and international public sector researchers are invited to apply for data access.

Detailed information on the available data and the application process can be found on the CLSA Data Preview Portal (www.clsa-elcv.ca). Using this portal, researchers can search variables, review the data dictionary and access data collection tools.

The physical assessment data and bio specimens from the 30,000 participants who undergo in-home interviews and data collection sites visits will be available after the completion of recruitment and baseline assessment.

Funders

Funding for the CLSA has been provided by the Government of Canada through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Visit the CLSA website

Dementia Family Caregivers Who Are Employed in the Canadian Workforce

The Dementia Family Caregivers Who Are Employed in the Canadian Workforce is a quality of life stream of research funded by the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA). It is one of a series of studies looking at employment, aging, and caregiving. This study is designed to examine the applicability of the Reitman Centre CARERS program in a rural setting.

Visit the CCNA project website

Development of Comparison Standards for the Cognition Measures Employed in the CLSA

The Development of Comparison Standards for the Cognition Measures employed in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) is a study led by Dr. Holly Tuokko. This project will provide detailed information about the performance of people aged 45-85 years on baseline cognitive functioning measures among participants of the CLSA. The CLSA includes approximately 50,000 participants from across the country and is anticipated to continue for nearly two decades.

Understanding the factors that affect cognitive functions, such as health characteristics, is important in providing meaningful health supports for our aging population. It is the goal of this study to develop Canadian comparison standards that will be beneficial for use in clinical practice and to health researchers. Cognitive measures within the domains of  memory, executive functioning and psychomotor speed will be examined along with health characteristic variables obtained through the CLSA.

For more information about the study, please email .

Funding for this research is provided Alzheimer Society of Canada/Alzheimer Société de Canada and the Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation.

“This research was made possible using the data collected by the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA). Funding for the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) was provided by the Government of Canada through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) under grant reference: LSA 9447 and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.” CLSA website

The Diabetes Coach Study

This two-year project, funded by the Lawson Foundation, is a partnership between the University of Victoria and the 11 Diabetes Health Centres in the Fraser Health Region of BC. UVic researchers will recruit and train 100 coaches and pair them with 150 participants with type 2 diabetes for six months. Participants and coaches complete outcome measurements at baseline, and again at six and twelve months. A variety of qualitative methods are used to gain a comprehensive understanding of the coaching process. A 40-member community advisory committee comprised of the researchers, diabetes administrators and educators, coaches, participants and key community representatives from the diabetes industry meet every three months to review progress and provide input.

Dr. Patrick McGowan is the principal investigator.

eHOME-iCARE (electronic Home intelligent Care)

eHOME-iCARE (electronic Home intelligent Care)

The goals of eHOME-iCARE are to: 1) develop an integrated suite of technologies to monitor and predict dynamic changes in the health and well-being of older adults living at home, and 2) use this information to intervene by informing caregivers or providing respite care through direct technologically-driven interventions. Through our work with strategic partners, we are developing an integrated suite of technologies to continuously monitor the home environment and assess the status of its resident. Our path to predictive algorithms mixes passive monitoring with intermittent psychological and physiological assessments. 

For more information about the study, please email or call 250-721-8595.

Visit the eHOME-iCARE website

Equitable Access to Care for People with Life Limiting Conditions

The Equitable Access to Care for People with Life Limiting Conditions study, led by Dr. Kelli Stajduhar, has received funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. The research team includes co-investigators from UVic, Trinity Western University, the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDs, Victoria Cool Aid Society, Victoria Hospice and AIDS Vancouver Island.

The study will investigate access to end of life care for members of Victoria's homeless and unstably housed community. The team aims to inform interventions, equitable health services and policies to improve care for people at the end of life.

For more information about the study, please email or call 250-472-5501.

Visit the EAC website

Family Caregiving for People at End-of-Life

The Supporting Family Caregivers of Palliative Patients at Home: The Carer Support Needs Assessment (CSNAT) Intervention study, led by Drs. Kelli Stajduhar (Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health and School of Nursing, University of Victoria) and Rick Sawatzky (School of Nursing, Trinity Western University), has received joint funding for three years from the Canadian Fraily Network (CFN) and the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute (CCSRI).

The research team includes Canadian co-investigators from the University of Manitoba, McGill, and Island Health and international co-investigators from Curtin University in Australia, as well as the University of Cambridge and the University of Manchester in the UK.

We will investigate the feasibility of a brief questionnaire to determine the impact of home care nursing services on family caregivers' (FCG) quality of life. The questionnaire will be integrated into routine home care nurse practice to monitor FCG needs. We will also ask about support FCGs have received, as well as their satisfaction with healthcare provided, and will conduct interviews to better understand how the questionnaire works in practice. Findings will be used to develop a caregiver assessment package for routine use in home care.

For more information about the study, please email .

Visit the Supporting Family Caregivers website

Initiative for a Palliative Approach in Nursing: Evidence and Leadership (iPANEL)

The iPANEL research program is guided by the question: How and in which contexts can a palliative approach better meet the needs of people with chronic life-limiting conditions and their family members and guide the development of innovations in health care delivery systems to better support nursing practice and the health system in British Columbia?

To address this broad-based question we are engaged in and planning a number of research projects that fall under four intersecting research strands. Each of the research strands are co-led by a nurse researcher and clinical or administrative nursing leader who are members of the iPANEL team.

Visit the iPANEL website

Integrated Palliative Approach to Care in Acute Care (iPAC-AC)

The overall goal of iPAC-AC is to improve the quality of care in acute care for people with life-limiting conditions. Using participatory approaches, the project combines inquiry and action to support the integration of a palliative approach. Core components of a palliative approach involve adopting the foundational principles of palliative care, adapting palliative care knowledge to the illness trajectories of people with life-limiting conditions, and embedding adapted knowledge “upstream” into the delivery of care.

The project is being conducted at 1 acute care medical unit in Fraser Health and being facilitated on the unit by 2 clinical nurse specialists who play a central role in knowledge translation in Fraser Health, have contact with multidisciplinary team members, patients and families, and who are responsible for facilitating practice change in acute care. The project outputs include development of evidence-informed recommendations, creation of practice support tools and development of an evaluation framework.

For more information about the study, please email or call 250-472-4464.

Integrated Palliative Approach to Care in Residential Care (iPAC-RC)

The iPAC-RC is one arm of a CIHR Team Grant: Late Life Issues, Seniors Adding Life to Years (SALTY). The research will look at evaluating innovative practices used in LTC at end of life. Building on previous research and collaboration, care competencies, practices and relationships will be evaluated in a larger quality improvement project being implemented in Island Health. We anticipate outcomes to include developing evidence-informed recommendations for integrating and scaling up a palliative approach into LTC facilities, creating practice support tools to facilitate transitions into the care journey, and developing an evaluation framework including outcome measures and benchmarks.

For more information about the study, please email or call 250-472-4464.

Integrative Analysis of Longitudinal Studies in Aging (IALSA)

The study of aging and health-related change demands an integrative life span/life course developmental framework, involving interdisciplinary collaborations and advanced methodological approaches for understanding how and why individuals change with age, in both normative and idiosyncratic ways.

Results from longitudinal studies also provide a basis for the early detection of change related to neurodegenerative disorders and the identification of periods in the lifespan when interventions will potentially have their greatest impact.

Visit the IALSA website

Promoting Sport Participation During Early Parenthood

This study is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and is exploring the impact that team sports and individual sports have on psychosocial variables among parents with children under the age of 13.

For more information about the study, please email Dr. Ryan Rhodes (principal investigator) or Alison Quinlan (project coordinator).

Visit the Behavioral Medicine Lab website

Self-Management Program

Persons with chronic health conditions and family members can participate in self-management programs offered online and in person in communities throughout British Columbia at no cost. These are evidence-based programs which provide information, teach practical skills and give people the confidence to manage their health condition(s).

Visit the Self Management BC website

Victoria Longitudinal Study (VLS)

Led by Dr. Roger Dixon, this is a long-term, large-scale, and multi-faceted investigation of human aging, with a testing site in Victoria and lab headquarters in Edmonton. The VLS examines changes, variations, and interactions among numerous aspects of aging including memory, executive functions, speed, cognitive resources, sensory acuity, and influences on aging including biological, health, genetic, lifestyle, fitness, and demographic changes.

Visit the Victoria Longitudinal Study website