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The aim of the Finnish Twin Study on Aging (FITSA) was to investigate the role of genetic and environmental factors in the disablement process in old age. The participants were 217 female twin pairs aged 63-76 years, who have participated in the Finnish Twin Cohort Study since 1975. We have information about external exposures from 35 years back which makes the design very effective for aging research.

The baseline laboratory examinations took place in year 2000-2001 and the first follow-up examinations were conducted in year 2003-2004. The second follow-up round took place in year 2011 as a postal questionnaire. 411 participants took part at the baseline measurements and the postal questionnaire was sent to 381 participants who still were alive.

The examinations included tests on muscle strength and power, antropometry, biochemical indicators, bone mineral density, sensory functions (vision, hearing, vibration sensitivity, balance), psychomotor speed, dual tasks and memory. In addition to coimpairments, we studied genetic factors in the variability of individual impairments. We also studied the genetic mechanisms in functional decline through multivariate genetic modelling. Disabilities were studied using self-reports of difficulties in activities relevant to daily life. The falls surveillance using a calendar method lasted for one year after the baseline investigations. Mortality was followed using registers.

Academy of Finland; Ministry of Education, Finland

Research group
Principal investigators
Prof. Taina Rantanen;, Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä

Anne Viljanen;, Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä
Elina Sillanpää,, Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä

University of Helsinki (Jaakko Kaprio, Markku Koskenvuo)
Central Finland Central Hospital (Olavi Pärssinen)
ENGAGE -consortium

Doctoral thesis

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