A resource for the future

The unique resources in Sweden, such as our personal registration number, registries of genetically informative populations and health outcomes, make Sweden an epidemiologic goldmine. As a complement to the register-based epidemiologic tradition, Sweden is in the forefront regarding development and implementation of information technology and biotechnology.

LifeGene will take advantage of existing resources and the latest progress in science. The full omics-set including proteomics, metabolomics and epigenomics will be used. Unlike other large scale population studies, LifeGene will be longitudinal with repeated contacts of study participants. The number of questions that can be asked of the LifeGene resource will be innumerable and only limited by our ability to predict the future.

Research over a long period of time will demand new methods and systems to handle the assembly and storage of data. Data must be properly loaded, accessed, managed, queried, analyzed and shared with others. The data-sharing policy will conform to international recommendations. Key to the LifeGene effort will be modern bioinformatics and state of the art biobanking on all levels. LifeGene will be an open-accessed resource for many researchers in the future.

E-epidemiology applied

Collecting phenotypes on demand is possible only through electronic means, which allow for rapid and cost-efficient assembly of data on determinants for lifestyle and health. These data can be collected repeatedly in a longitudinal fashion. Cell phones are the most widely used digital media in the population. Use of text messages (SMS) could complement web-questionnaires and potentially increase and simplify participation.

The area is defined as e-epidemiology, the science underlying the acquisition, maintenance and application of epidemiological knowledge and information using digital media, such as the Internet, cell phones, digital paper and digital TV. E-epidemiology also refers to the large scale epidemiological studies that are increasingly conducted through global collaborations enabled by the Internet.

Features of LifeGene

  • Ascertaining a cohort of 500.000 individuals in Sweden
  • Regular assessment of in-depth exposure information through electronic means such as Internet and cell phones
  • Regular surveillance of morbidity including assessment of symptoms and diagnoses for outcomes not typically reported in national health registers
  • Linkage with sources of medical record information
  • Collection of DNA from all members of the cohort at study start and repeatedly for subgroups
  • Opportunities to collect other biological samples repeatedly and event-based
  • Open access to resource for researchers after scientific and ethical approval




External links


Jan-Eric Litton

Jan-Eric Litton

Co-director of LifeGene project and Professor in Biomedical Computing Technology and Data manager at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet

Phone +46-8-524 877 59
Page updated by: LifeGene 2008-05-05
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