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Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study

The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study (often referred to as the Dunedin Longitudinal Study) is a long-running cohort study of 1037 people born over the course of a year in Dunedin, New Zealand.

The original pool of study members were selected from those born between 1 April 1972 and 31 March 1973 and still living in the Otago region 3 years later. Study members were assessed at age three, and then at 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 18, 21, 26, and most recently at age 32. Future assessments are scheduled for age 38, 44 and 50.

During an assessment, study members are brought back to Dunedin from wherever in the world they live. They participate in a day of interviews, physical tests, dental examinations, blood tests, computer questionnaires and surveys. Spin-off studies have also focussed on the parents of study members and, from 2007, the children of the original study members. This means that information across three generations of the same families will be available.

Great emphasis is placed on retention of study members. At the most recent (age 32) assessments, 96% of all living eligible study members, or 972 people, participated. This is unprecedented for a longitudinal study, with many others worldwide experiencing 20-40% drop-out rates.

The resulting database has produced a wealth of information on all aspects of human health & development, with over 1,000 papers, reports, book chapters and other publications using findings from the study. The multidisciplinary aspect of the Study has always been a central focus, with information ranging across:

  • Cardiovascular health and risk factors
  • Respiratory health
  • Oral health
  • Sexual and reproductive health
  • Mental health
  • Psychosocial functioning
  • Other health, including sensory, musculo-skeletal, and digestive

A book, From Child to Adult: Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, was published in 1996 and is aimed at presenting the major findings in a form accessible to the non-specialist. It only includes information up to the age-21 assessment. Future plans for the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study include another popular science book, upgrading their website for more non-specialist appeal, and introducing more resources for the general public.

Media reports of results

  • 2006, Smacking study hits at claims of harm
  • 2006, Physical punishment was extremely prevalent...
  • 2005, Cannabis and psychotic behaviour
  • 2002, MAOA gene and violence
  • 2002, Cannabis and tobacco equally bad
  • 2001, Study clears cannabis as root of violence

Research Papers

A sample of the nearly 900 publications based on the Dunedin study:

  • Sex Differences in Developmental Reading Disability
  • Psychiatric disorders and risky sexual behaviour in young adulthood: cross sectional study in birth cohort
  • Cannabis use in adolescence and risk for adult psychosis: longitudinal prospective study
  • Moderation of the Effect of Adolescent-Onset Cannabis Use on Adult Psychosis by a Functional Polymorphism in the catechol-O-Methyltransferase Gene:Longitudinal Evidence of a Gene X Environment Interaction

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Dunedin_Multidisciplinary_Health_and_Development_Study". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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