For Study members

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Be part of the next wave of the Life Course Program

If you participated in the program at any point over the past thirty years, you are vital to the success of the study and you cannot be replaced! Participating in the Life Course Program is a valuable way that you can contribute toward the prevention of chronic diseases like type II diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease which are some of the leading causes of adult mortality in Australia. As study members, you represent thousands of other individuals from your age group who are at high risk of developing these diseases in adulthood and your contribution is helping us find ways to keep individuals born in the Top End healthy for as long as possible. The risk for developing chronic conditions increases with age and early detection is the key to preventing the onset of these diseases. We hope you’ll join us for the next round of health checks commencing in June 2019 and stay tuned to our Facebook page and website for more results and updates.

Aboriginal Birth Cohort

You may be one of the 686 people who are part of this study if you were born between 1987-1990 and your mother agreed to you being part of this exciting study when you were born. We have already assessed your health (or tried to find you) when you were about 11 and 18 years and recently when you were 22-26 years old.  
Read study information brochure »

Top End Cohort

You may be one of the196 people who are part of this study if you were born between 1987-1991 and  you singed up to be part of the study when you were aged 18 to 20 years old. We have recently assessed your health (or tried to find you) when you were 22-26 years old. 

Read study information brochure »

What's involved?

Being part of this program means we would like to see you every 4-5 years and check your health status. We would like to do this for as long as you continue to be part of the program. If you are asked and agree to continue participating in the program, we would like to keep in contact with you and let you know when we are holding the next round of health checks. We travel to over 40 remote and urban communities across the Northern Territory to meet with participants. 

What are we trying to find out?

We want to try and find out if babies born too small or babies born too early grow up differently to babies who are born at the right time and the right size. We know that too many people die before they are old from heart problems, kidney disease, lung problems and diabetes. Some studies in other countries show adult health may be directly related to the size of the baby when it is born. Other people believe adult health may be due to living conditions, emotional well-being and physical health of the children as they grow up. If we can get the answers to these research questions we can help plan ways to prevent these chronic diseases and reduce the number of people dying early.

How will information be stored? What happens to the samples?

Your informaiton is recorded on sheets kept in locked files at the Menzies School of Health Research and entered into secured computer programs. Information is only available to the research team and is password protected. As this is a longitudinal study, information collected will be kept for use in later waves of this study. It will be compared with your last lot of results and any future results. Information is kept private by using a special identification number so personal details remain confidential at all times.

For most of the blood and urine tests we will have to use laboratories based other than Darwin, e.g. Adelaide and Brisbane. Due to transport costs this means that the tests will be done in batches. What this means is that, with your consent, we will store your blood and urine in freezers at Menzies until sent to the laboratories. It also will mean that there is likely to be a delay before you get all the results. Publications about this work will be made without any identifying facts relating to individuals or their community.

What are the benefits of participating in the study?

From this health check we will be able to check your growth, nutritional status, blood pressure and general health. We are also assessing if you are at risk for heart disease or diabetes in later life.  We will check your emotional well-being and thinking ability. With your consent, any abnormalities or problems in the areas examined will be sent to your nominated health clinic or GP.

What are your options?

  • You can agree to do all of the study and continue to be part of a special group who are helping researchers understand how to prevent disease or
  • You can agree to be part of the study but choose which parts you participate in and continue to be part of a special group who are helping researchers understand how to prevent disease or
  • You can refuse to be part of this study or withdraw at anytime. This will not affect medical advice in the management of your health, now or in the future.

Where we're up to

We're now in the 5th wave of study with the first collection of data taking place back in 2019. This is a wave that has presented us with difficulties like no other and most things were largely put on hold throughout 2020 and 2021. However, emerging from these challenges, we have been able to kick off our postponed visits and health checks. We are eager to see participants who we haven't yet been in contact with and to visit more remote communities around the Top End.

For further information please contact:
Belinda Davison, Project Manager
Menzies School of Health Research
Phone: 8946 8544 
Email: [email protected]  

If you have any concerns or complaints regarding the ethical conduct of the study, you are invited to contact the Ethics Administration, Human Research Ethics Committee of the Northern Territory Department of Health and Menzies School of Health Research on (08) 89227922 or (08) 89228705 or email [email protected]