The ‘Constances’ cohort, a research network unique in France

April 01 2015

Already, more than 65,000 volunteers have been included from the 200,000 expected and 41 research projects have begun.

 

Two years after its launch, the ‘Constances’ cohort is gathering health related data on more than 65,000 volunteers aged from 18 to 69 years who are affiliated to the general social security system and have been selected at random. Each volunteer gets a health check at a (National) Health Insurance Health Centre (CES) and fills in annual questionnaires. They accept that data relating to them, such as health care consumption, hospitalisation or their socio-professional status may be monitored by researchers from the Constances cohort. Eighteen CESs are involved in 17 French departments. Constances is jointly run by Inserm, the University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, the (National) Health Insurance Scheme and the Pension Insurance Scheme, with the support of the General Directorate of Health.

Distribution of volunteers of the Constances cohort as at 25 March 2015. © Inserm/M. Nachtigal

Distribution of volunteers of the Constances cohort as at 25 March 2015.

The Constances cohort will enable the gathering of data which can be used for research purposes and public health policy. Additionally, the very large number of people monitored will enable the study, on an unprecedented scale, of the long-term impact of different factors (pollution, eating habits, medicinal treatments, place of residence…) on the health of France’s living population. 

“The true originality of Constances is to have been conceived from the outset as an epidemiology laboratory open to all research teams in a spirit of sharing. Substantial work has been carried out in order to respect the confidentiality of data, in accordance with the laws on data protection and freedom of information” points out Marie Zins, scientific leader of this cohort.

 

The Constances cohort International Scientific Council has just approved 41 research projects, supported by around thirty teams.

Two projects are particularly advanced:

- COSMOS (Cohort of mobile phone users and health in France), International Centre for Cancer Research (CIRC, Lyon): as part of a European Study (Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Netherlands and Great Britain), COSMOS evaluates the long-term effects of mobile phones on health. Manager: Joachim Schüz (head of section on environment and radiation) – cosmos@iarc.fr

- ConstancesRespi: monitoring, determinants, history and the impact of chronic respiratory illnesses and the accelerated decline of lung function. A consortium of seven projects, comprised of seven teams led by Nicolas Roche (Professor at Paris Descartes University) – nicolas.roche@cch.aphp.fr

Constances in brief
This French national cohort of adults is strongly supported by CNAMTS (French National Health Insurance Fund for Employees) and has the benefit of funding from the ‘Investing in the Future Programme’.
The size and function of the cohort are equivalent to other large cohorts being developed in Europe, particularly in Germany. In the long term, such European collaborations lead to research on a grand scale and unprecedented international comparisons.
The aim is to include 200,000 volunteers.
The next selection of research projects by the Scientific Council will take place in July 2015.
Are you a volunteer? Do you wish to participate? Details and conditions can be obtained by writing to contact@constances.fr and on the website www.constances.fr


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Researcher Contact

Marie Zins
“Population-based Epidemiological Cohorts” Unit (UMS 011) Inserm-UVSQ
Physician, epidemiologist, and lecturer at the Simone Veil Health Sciences School of the Versailles Saint Quentin University (UVSQ).
Tél. : +33 (0)6 83 85 31 31
Mail : marie.zins@inserm.fr

Marcel Goldberg
“Population-based Epidemiological Cohorts” Unit (UMS 011)  Inserm-UVSQ
Physician-epidemiologist, lecturer at the Simone Veil Health Sciences Research Unit of the UVSQ.
Tél. : + 33 (0)6 87 17 29 97
Mail : marcel.goldberg@inserm.fr

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