Integrative Analysis of Longitudinal Studies of Aging (IALSA)

An International Collaboration for Reproducible Longitudinal Research on Lifespan Determinants of Change in Cognitive and Physical Capabilities, Health, Personality, and Well-Being 

The study of aging and health-related change demands an integrative life span / life course developmental framework, involving interdisciplinary collaborations and advanced methodological approaches for understanding how and why individuals change with age, in both normative and idiosyncratic ways. Results from longitudinal studies also provide a basis for the early detection of change related to neurodegenerative disorders and the identification of periods in the lifespan when interventions will potentially have their greatest impact.

IALSA and Reproducible Research. A major feature of the IALSA network is the evaluation of the reproducibility of results from longitudinal and life course studies. The replication of longitudinal research is challenging as there are many ways that results can differ. Evidence for lack of replicability can include differences in age range, birth cohort, culture, health and education of individuals in the sample, differences across measurements and study design, and choice of statistical analysis, including the selection of covariates, treatment of rates of response, attrition, and mortality selection within and across studies. IALSA projects each include multiple studies for the evaluation of the reproducibility of results and publically available analysis scripts that can be used to reproduce the results and enable new projects that build on past research.

The IALSA collaborative network was formally established in 2005 for the coordination of interdisciplinary, cross-national research aimed at the integrative understanding of within-person aging-related changes in cognitive and physical capabilities, health, personality, and well-being. It is comprised of investigators associated with over 45 longitudinal studies on aging, including the UK Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) network and the Quebec Network for Research on Aging. These population-based and longitudinal studies permit the evaluation of how factors across the lifespan determine and moderate the risk and progression of cognitive impairment and provide a basis for early detection of neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia. Analysis projects include multiple longitudinal studies to permit the evaluation of the replicability and generalizability of results across birth cohort and country.These studies are currently being catalogued on the IALSA Metadata and Harmonization Platform to permit the identification of  studies with comparable measures and potential for data harmonization and pooling. 

IALSA is funded through an NIH/NIA Program Project Grant (P01AG043362; 2013-2018) to Oregon Health & Science University (Program Directors: Scott Hofer, Andrea Piccinin, Jeffrey Kaye, and Diana Kuh) and previously funded by NIH/NIA (R01AG026453; 2007-2013) and CIHR (103284; 2010-2013). We make primary use of a coordinated analysis approach and are developing an international metadata repository and search tool to facilitate longitudinal research and measurement harmonization. We make use of an open science framework for the analysis of longitudinal observational studies and provide materials for planned, active, and completed studies on this site. 

If you are interested in joining this network, please email Scott Hofer (hofer@ohsu.edu).

ALSA Research Meeting, June 22-26, 2010, Victoria, BC, CanadaI

ALSA Research Meeting, June 22-26, 2010, Victoria, BC, Canada