The SuperAgers Family Study demonstrates effectiveness of multi-modal participant enrollment, data collection, and engagement in reaching aging populations
(Fairfax, VA, May 9, 2023) – Today, just one in every thousand people in the United States reaches the age of 95 or older. While lifestyle may be a factor, researchers believe there could be genetic drivers that influence whether an individual lives an exceptionally long life.
This is the hypothesis behind the SuperAgers Family Study, launched by researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in collaboration with the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) and Boston University School of Medicine, and supported by AFAR’s multi-year SuperAgers Initiative. The study recently exceeded its initial recruitment milestone, demonstrating early success in reaching this unique population.
The SuperAgers Family Study aims to collect data from 10,000 people, primarily individuals 95 and older, but also including their children and children’s spouses. This target enrollment number makes SuperAgers the most ambitious research program studying the biology behind exceptional longevity to date.
Historically, reaching aging populations for health research has been difficult. Many researchers still rely on face-to-face and clinical interactions and resist the use of digital methods for enrollment and data collection. By exceeding their first recruitment milestone, the SuperAgers study demonstrates that digital approaches can engage aging populations.
“We’ve seen that, contrary to popular belief, there is some comfort with technology among this population, although it varies,” said Sofiya Milman, MD, MS, who is the director of Human Longevity Studies at Einstein’s Institute for Aging Research and the principal investigator of the study. “For those with less comfort, our recruitment of superager offspring in the study helps to foster compliance in superagers using digital methods. When needed, we can also leverage traditional and hybrid methods to perform eConsent and data collection.”
To meet, engage, and study superagers, the research team chose to collaborate with Vibrent Health, a digital technology company known for its innovation in precision medicine research solutions. Vibrent specializes in providing research teams with multi-modal approaches to eConsent, participant engagement, and data collection – the latter of which comprises electronic medical records, genomics, wearables, surveys, and more.
“Studies exploring the contributing factors of healthy aging will be more effective if we can achieve larger numbers of participants in the research. We already see that technology can succeed in reaching aging populations,” said Nir Barzilai, MD, Scientific Director at AFAR. “Our collaboration with Vibrent will help amass a data set whose magnitude will significantly move forward the identification of genetic, biological and behavioral factors that affect aging and its related diseases, delivering immediate and significant benefits to the legion of scientists and clinicians dedicated to healthy aging.”
The SuperAgers Family Study uses Vibrent’s Participant Experience Manager to support the eConsent process and complete data collection in a way that meets them where they are, using a mix of digital methods, computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI), and paper forms. Study staff also use Vibrent’s powerful researcher tools to manage communication and appointments with participants. Vibrent’s platform provides the team with a way to manage, visualize, and better understand the data they collect throughout the study. In the future, the study also plans to provide genomics return of results to the participants and their family members.
“The important research the SuperAgers team is doing demands a participant-centric approach at every step, because the study population is so unique,” said Vibrent Health CEO Praduman “PJ” Jain. “The novel discoveries that this research team makes will no doubt set new precedents for research, and for family-based studies. As health research becomes increasingly digital, family-based datasets represent a robust, promising area of precision health research.”
Those who wish to be a part of the SuperAgers Study can find study qualifications by visiting superagersstudy.org.
About Vibrent Health
Vibrent Health develops digital health technology and research tools for health organizations, researchers and research participants. Powering the next generation of precision medicine, Vibrent’s scalable technology platform for individual and population health provides actionable insights to help accelerate medical discoveries. Vibrent Health is proud to serve, since 2017, as the Participant Technology Systems Center for the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Research Program, which aims to collect health data from 1 million or more people to support a wide variety of research studies. Since 2020, Vibrent has also collaborated with numerous organizations to conduct a variety of research initiatives spanning several topics, including precision medicine, cancer, COVID, substance abuse, aging, and fertility, among others. To learn more, visit vibrenthealth.com.
The American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) is a national non-profit organization that supports and advances pioneering biomedical research that is revolutionizing how we live healthier and longer. For more than four decades, AFAR has served as the field’s talent incubator, providing more than $193 million to nearly 4,350 investigators at premier research institutions to date—and growing. In 2022, AFAR awarded over $11,000,000 to more than 60 investigators. A trusted leader and strategist, AFAR also works with public and private funders to steer high quality grant programs and interdisciplinary research networks. AFAR-funded researchers are finding that modifying basic cellular processes can delay—or even prevent—many chronic diseases, often at the same time. They are discovering that it is never too late—or too early—to improve health. This groundbreaking science is paving the way for innovative new therapies that promise to improve and extend our quality of life—at any age. Learn more at afar.org or follow AFARorg on Facebook and American Federation for Aging Research on LinkedIn.
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