U of M Seeks 10,000 Families for Generational Study

August 31, 2018 05:25 PM

The University of Minnesota is launching a huge study to advance health research in a big way, and your family can be a part of this groundbreaking research.

"We want to study the health of families over time, and understand why individuals as well as families stay healthy, or develop disease," Dr. Logan Spector, epidemiologist and professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota, said.

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Diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Parkinson's or Alzheimer's will fall under the study's purview. Spector said a study of this scale will likely evolve, but the vision is clear.

"This will be a foundational study in medical science," he said.

Will Peterson's mother is interested in signing up his family for the study.

"The whole town, state, community in general, I mean, I think everyone's affected by it in one way or another," he said.


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At the Minnesota State Fair, University of Minnesota researchers are looking to find families old and young.

"A lot of studies like this have started with people in the 50s, 60s or 70s. They've really missed decades during which disease risk starts forming," one researcher said.

The commitment: At least two members of a family, from two different generations, who are willing to fill out an online questionnaire, have their specimens and measurements collected, give a DNA sample, greenlight access to their medical records and give permission to link their names to certain public records, including the state's cancer registry. Plus, every couple of years give new samples and data.

"I think the 10,000 families that sign up are going to find over time that they've contributed more, to knowledge about medicine, than any other study," Spector said.

Susan Blakeslee of Fridley is interested in being part of the study.

"The future is in our offspring and those to come," she said.

The U of M 10,000 Families study said it just received $1 million from the Masonic Cancer Center to kick off the research.

To learn more about the study or register your family, click here.

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Brandi Powell

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