Busselton Health Study
Research activities undertaken as part of the Busselton Health Studies are diverse and encompass a wide range of health conditions and measures. These have included cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, diabetes and endocrine disorders, gastrointestinal, kidney and liver diseases, cancer, obesity, sleep disorders, cognition and genetic epidemiology. Extensive information on demography, lifestyle and behaviour have also been collected at each of the studies along with blood samples for biochemical measures and genetic studies.
The studies bring together some of Australia’s leading researchers and a growing list of international colloborators who recognize the value of this unique data set. The use of standardized questionnaires and methodology, international best practice guidelines in data collection and a stable representative population ensures that the studies can provide important information about the prevalence of disease and the factors associated with them. Below are some of the ongoing and recently completed data collection projects conducted in Busselton.
2020 – 2023: The Busselton Respiratory Study (BRS): Phenotypes of airway disease in the general population
This project will define the abnormalities in the lung and relate them to symptoms in a general population, without using diagnostic labels, to establish descriptors of airway diseases that better relate to treatments and prognosis. There is increasing confusion about labelling and treating airway diseases because “asthma” and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (“COPD”) mean different things to different people and they overlap with regard to symptoms and abnormalities in the lung. The study protocol includes a comprehensive range of lung function and symptom measures and aims to recruit over 3000 adults from the Busselton community.
Read more about the BRS here
2016 -2021: The Busselton Baby Boomer Study (BBBS) – Phase 2 – Six year follow up (underway)
2010 – 2015: The Busselton Healthy Ageing Study (BHAS) – Phase 1 (completed)
A large multidisciplinary project investigating the causes of and risk factors for a wide range of conditions of public health importance in an ageing population commenced in 2010. The Busselton Healthy Aging Study (BHAS) collected measures on vision and hearing disorders, respiratory and cardiovascular disease, muscle strength and physical function, obesity, diabetes, sleep disorders, bone health, spinal pain, and mental health and cognition from over 5100 adults born between 1946 and 1964. Retesting of this cohort commenced in March 2016 using an expanded study protocol and will provide important information about the risk factors underlying disease and debilitation common to ageing.
Read more about the BHAS & BBBS here
The study protocol from the baseline study is also available to download here
Previous Busselton surveys
2008 – 2010: The Busselton Diabetes Study (BDS)
The Busselton Diabetes Study (BDS) collected information about the effects and characteristics of diabetes in a semi-rural population and is based on the long running Fremantle Diabetes Studies (FDS – Phase I and Phase II). Led by Professor Timothy Davis, the study recruited over 200 patients with diabetes and over 200 age/sex-matched controls and collected information on a number of measures. The tests included a comprehensive physical, neurological and cardiovascular assessment, biochemistry, vision tests and questionnaires collecting details on lifestyle and diabetes management, care and complications. The study will allow comparisons with urban care programs and also provide important information relevant to the growing prevalence of Type-II diabetes. Phase II of the study was completed in 2010 with all participants with diabetes invited back to perform a second assessment. Local research nurse Aida Embling, a familar friendly face in the Busselton community, conducted the follow up tests.
2007 – 2008: Burden of Lung Disease Study (BOLD)
In 2007, Busselton was one of numerous sites taking part in the international Burden of Lung Disease (BOLD) study, which aims to assess the world-wide impact and prevalence of COPD and emphysemea. Post-bronchodilator spirometry, forced oscillation technique, airway inflammation, atopy and questionnaire data was collected from over 600 Busselton participants aged over 40 years. The Australian component of the study is coordinated by the Operations Centre at the Woolcock Institute in NSW. In addition to data already collected in Sydney and Busselton, the studies are now also underway in the Kimberley, Melbourne and Tasmania and once complete will provide comprehensive comparisons with other countries into the prevalence and health and economic burden of COPD and emphysemea.
2007- ongoing: The Prevalence of Sleep Disordered Breathing
In-home sleep monitoring devices have been used in Busselton since the early 1990s. This data along with comprehensive sleep health and behaviour information collected from standardised questionnaires continues to provide an insight to the prevalence and associated risk factors underlying sleep disordered breathing in the community. This largely under-researched area is growing in importance with a number of key findings coming from the Busselton studies and other groups that indicate that sleep disordered breathing (sleep apnoea) is prevalent in the community and if left untreated may be associated with increased risk of mortality.
2005 – 2008: The Changing Prevalence Of Asthma and COPD
In 2005 we commenced a large scale investigation into the changing prevalence of respiratory diseases such as asthma and COPD in the community. Over 2900 adults and 1500 children completed lung function tests, including spirometry, airway inflammation and resistence and atopy. While a number of analyses are still underway results indicate that the prevalence of Doctor-diagnosed asthma, respiratory symptoms such as cough and wheeze, and skin allergies (atopy) continue to increase in some age-groups in the community. Continuing analyses will look at the risk factors underlying these trends and contribute to the international effort to understand the eitology of these complex respiratory diseases.
Busselton Health Study – Pre 2000 Surveys
The residents of the Shire of Busselton were involved in a series of health surveys starting in 1966. Adult residents were recruited via the electoral roll and children were recruited through schools. The primary focus of the surveys was on respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and risk factors although other conditions and variables were sometimes measured.
Cross-sectional surveys of adults/children resident in the Shire of Busselton
- Cross-sectional comprehensive surveys of all adults (on the electoral roll) were conducted in 1966, 1969, 1972, 1975, 1978, and 1981. The number of participants ranged from 3,400 in 1966 to about 4,000 in 1978 and 1981.
- Cross-sectional comprehensive surveys of all school children were conducted in 1967, 1970, 1973, 1977 (high school only) and 1983. The number of participants was about 1,600 in each survey except for 1977 when it was 556.
- A cross-sectional comprehensive survey of all adults over 65 years of age was conducted in 1987. The number of participants was 1,120.
- A cross-sectional respiratory (questionnaire only) survey of all adults (on the electoral roll) was conducted in 1990. Number of respondents was 3,880.
- An asthma survey of 250 families (two parents and two children) was conducted in 1992.
Follow-up survey of 1966-1983 cross-sectional survey participants in 1994/95
- All 10,076 known survivors of the cross-sectional surveys (1966 – 1983) were invited to a comprehensive survey in 1994/95 regardless of whether or not they were still resident in Busselton. Survey centres were based in Busselton and Perth (Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital). The number of participants was 5,715.
Data summaries from some of these earlier surveys can be found here