The Malaysian Cohort


What is the Malaysian Cohort?
The Malaysian Cohort is a long-term prospective project aimed at building a comprehensive national resource for Malaysian researchers. This is a national project, which was initiated by the YAB Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2004 and approved by the cabinet in 2005. The Malaysian Cohort is also part of the Asia Cohort Consortium, an international collaborative consortium of 8 countries including Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China, India, Singapore, Malaysia and the USA. The consortium aims to harmonise and collaborate as well as to combine resources and expertise to study the interaction of genes, environment and lifestyle in causing diseases. By focusing on genetic information, data on lifestyle and environmental exposures, the project aims to identify risk factors accurately and discover new biomarkers for various diseases. The promotion of research in Health Biotechnology is consistent with a policy thrust within the recently launched MalaysianBiotechnology Policy.

What are the things that you want to obtain from me?
For the early stage, we will visit your home. You will be kindly asked to the questionnaires, diet diary and medical diary. Then, a suitable time will be made for you to visit the assessment centre.Before come to the centre, you will be asked not to take food and sweet drink for at least 10 hours.Here, we will obtain physical measurements (height, weight, hip and waist circumference, body fat determination, blood pressure, 12-lead ECG and lung function test), blood sample (40mls) [Blood glucose, total cholesterol, full blood count, genomics (descendents) and proteomics (evaluation of protein in blood and tissue)] and Urine sample [20mls] (urine sugar, Biochemistries and proteomics).

How do I know that all of my information is confidentially safe?
You will be told that your individual data and information will be made confidential and only overall data and results of arising from the whole cohort will be reported. You will retain the right to withdraw at any time point of the study and will inform the study centre if you wish to do so.

Who are the participants (people involve in this project)?
The participants will be Malaysian volunteers age between 35-65 years old at the time of recruitment.

Why choose participants age between 35-65 years old?
The age-range of 35-65 was an approximation by the FHCRC team. This is a ‘useful’ age range as around this age most chronic diseases are present. There are attractive reasons for choosing a younger cohort, allowing us to study early-onset cancers, cardiovascular diseases, psychiatric illnesses, sexually transmitted diseases, etc. Measuring past exposure (for older cohorts) would be both a limitation and a great challenge to this study. The FHCRC realizes this and have indicated that the National Institutes of Health USA have been discussing about the technologies that would be available to measure and monitor exposures continuously or intermittently.

How long will be the project?
This project planned to finish in ten years down the road.

What is the project’s population target?
The project’s population target is to recruit at least 100,000 Malaysian volunteers from whole over the country.

What would be the target disease(s)?
Cancers would be the primary target of research in this cohort as this is the main interest of FHCRC. However, we won’t be limiting ourselves to just cancers, as a study of this magnitude would allow and attract researchers to study the whole spectrum of major and minor diseases. There would be no limitations on each country on the extension of the scope of disease coverage.

What are the benefits that I get if I participate?
Free biannual health check-ups including random blood sugar and serum lipids as well as blood pressure measurement and you will receive regular newsletter regarding the study (annually) to inform you of the progress and some of the general study data.Update on health issues will also be included.

What do you do with the sample that you have collected from me?
The collected samples will be frozen and kept safely in the BIOBANK, which located in UMBI. The samples will be catalogued, processed and stored until analysis according to standardized protocols. The Malaysian Cohort Study will eventually be a massive resource for researchers in terms of study subjects, data and biospecimens.

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