A Seventh-day Adventist Organization

Frequently Asked Questions: Adventist Health Study-2

General FAQ

    FAQ for AHS-2 Participants

       

      General FAQ

      1. How many participants are in the study?

      AHS-2 began with more than 97,000 participants from the U.S. and Canada. So far, we have lost track of only 1% to 2% of these, and our numbers are currently around 96,000.

      2. What is the goal of the study?

      The main goals of this study are to evaluate the effects of intake of soy, calcium, dairy foods, and omega-3 linolenic acid on risks of colorectal, breast and prostate cancers. Our study population has a wide range of exposure to each of these factors and the consumption of soy approaches levels seen in Asian populations. We will also look at other cancers as numbers permit.

      3. What has happened so far in the study?

      So far, 96,000 subjects from more than 4,000 U.S. and Canadian churches completed the 50-page Lifestyle Questionnaire. This document asked detailed questions about diet and lifestyle. Subjects have since filled out Hospitalization History Forms every two years. We have also begun the Adventist Religion and Health Study, a sub-study using subjects from Adventist Health Study-2.

      4. How long will AHS-2 continue?

      This is a long-term study that, with adequate funding, has the potential to go on for 15 or 20 years and make important contributions in many areas of health.

      5. Where does the money come from?

      From 2002-2007, the study was funded from a grant from the National Cancer Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), that funds major health and medical research in the U.S.

      From 2008 through most of 2011, AHS-2 was operating mainly through the support of the School of Public Health at Loma Linda University (LLU). In 2010, the World Cancer Research Fund awarded AHS-2 $200,000 over four years to complete the matching of all new cancers from the 96,000 members of AHS-2 with all U.S. and Canadian cancer registries. AHS-2 also received an $865,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in May 2010 to train future researchers and to provide intervention in Black/African American communities in San Bernardino.

      In July 2011, AHS-2 was awarded a $5.5 million grant over five years from the National Cancer Institute. The grant will be used for the continued analysis of cancer data.

      6. When can we expect results?

      We have some preliminary results so far that have been published in peer-reviewed publications, and further results are expected in three to four years.

      7. Is it possible to enroll in this study?

      At this time, enrollment is closed.

      8. Is AHS-2 comparing Adventists to non-Adventists?

      While earlier studies compared Adventists to non-Adventists and showed that Adventists lived longer and had less disease, that is not the goal of AHS-2. This new study aims to discover answers to the vexing questions about the role of particular foods and nutrients in the diet and their role in disease, particularly cancer and heart disease and eventually many other health outcomes, so most of our comparisons are internal (for example, between Adventist vegetarians and Adventist non-vegetarians).

       

      FAQ for AHS-2 Participants

      1. I have moved or changed my phone number. How do I update my contact information?

      E-mail your new information to ahs2@llu.edu or call (800) 247-1699 toll-free and talk to our staff.

      2. Could AHS-2 save postage by sending questionnaires for members in the same household in one envelope?

      Unfortunately, this would not save in costs. Because the mailings are computerized, to manually sift through them and look for the same addresses would be time consuming and more expensive than the extra postage. However, do feel free to send all of your family’s questionnaires back in one envelope and include the unused envelope.

      3. I have developed a disease. How do I let AHS-2 know about it?

      Every two years AHS-2 will send you a brief questionnaire to list hospitalizations and any major changes in health. This is the best place to update AHS-2 about your conditions, including new cancers, heart attacks and hospital admissions.

      4. I am concerned about my privacy. How does AHS-2 ensure confidentiality?

      To help us protect your privacy, the National Institutes of Health has given AHS-2 a Certificate of Confidentiality. This means that “researchers cannot be forced to disclose information that may identify you, even by a court subpoena, in any federal, state, or local civil, criminal, administrative, legislative or other proceedings.”

      This is your guarantee. Only you, by written consent, can allow any of your personal information that we hold to be released to an insurer, employer or other person. Besides never sharing personal information with any other group or persons, we are further committed to your privacy in the following ways:

      • The last page of the questionnaire that has your personal information (such as your social security number, birth date, address, etc.) is stored in locked file cabinets.
      • The rest of the questionnaire (which does not have your name on it) is locked up in a different building.
      • After the pages are separated, you become a number among many numbers. Although the study ID number can be matched to a name and address, only two senior data managers have the ability to match the information, and with great difficulty at that. It is rarely done, and only for the purpose of correcting data or completing missing data.
      • All data files (containing your questionnaire information) are password-protected and kept on a secure computer network, which cannot be accessed or hacked into from the Internet.
      • Thousands of people have sent in completed questionnaires. Your questionnaire becomes one of thousands, which are analyzed together in large numbers.