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Research Findings Resulting from OHS Data

Global Biobank Meta-analysis Initiative: Powering genetic discovery across human disease

Jan 16, 2023

The OHS contributed genotyping data from 7,500 consented participants to a groundbreaking global initiative to research the underlying biology of human disease and disease traits.

As the largest contributor to CanPath, the OHS is the only Canadian study to be included in the Global Biobank Meta-analysis Initiative (GBMI), which to date involves genetic data from 2.2 million participants that have been collated and harmonized across 23 large biobanks on four continents.

This Cell Genomics article explains how genome-wide association studies (GWASs) were used across 14 biobanks to look at genotypes and phenotypes for 14 common diseases and endpoints. The OHS provided data on health outcomes (endpoints) including asthma, primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, uterine cancer, thyroid cancer, abdominal aortic aneurysm, venous thromboembolism (VTE), acute appendicitis, COPD, pneumonia, heart failure, cardiomyopathy (hypertrophic, dilated), and stroke.

Image source: Global Biobank Meta-analysis Initiative


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Smoking history associated with decreased heart inflammation in Clinically Manifest Cardiac Sarcoidosis patients

Nov 24, 2022

The causes of sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease diagnosed in an estimated 21,000 Canadians, remain unknown. A specific form affecting the heart, cardiac sarcoidosis (or CS), is considered especially serious, being responsible for roughly 85% of deaths from the disease despite accounting for only 5% of sarcoidosis cases.

A group of researchers led by Dr. David Birnie of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute used de-identified questionnaire data from the OHS as control cases to investigate a common hypothesis: a combination of genetic and environmental risk factors. Their research found a strong negative association between smoking and clinically manifest CS. Moreover, they observed that nonsmokers had more severe inflammation of the heart muscle than did patients with a smoking history. Researchers noted further research is needed to understand why.

Read the full paper in the journal CJC Open

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OHS data included in multi-study analysis of Canada’s “Omicron tsunami”

Jul 21, 2022

Omicron tsunami: Blood spot samples from thousands of OHS participants were included in a multi-study analysis showing the proportion of Canadians with antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 due to infection shot up, from 5.1 per cent just before the Delta variant wave (August, 2021), to 55.7 per cent in the five months after the Omicron wave (May, 2022). This represents an increase equivalent to more than 100,000 infections per day. Almost 10,000 OHS participants took part in the CanPath COVID-19 Antibody Study.

Read the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force report.

Read the news release.

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