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The Nurses' Health Study, established in 1976 by Dr. Frank Speizer, and the Nurses' Health Study II, established in 1989 by Dr. Walter Willett, are the most definitive long-term epidemiological studies conducted to date on older women's health. The study has followed more than 120,000 female registered nurses since the mid-1970s to assess risk factors for cancer and cardiovascular disease. The studies are among the largest investigations into risk factors for major chronic diseases in women ever conducted. The studies include clinicians, epidemiologists, and statisticians at the Channing Laboratory. Participating organizations from the Massachusetts medical community include the Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston Children's Hospital, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. In 1980, assessments of diet, aspirin use, and colon examination were added to the original study.
Aspirin and vitamin E
In a study designed to evaluate the risks and benefits of low-dose aspirin and vitamin E for prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer in women, 39,876 female health professionals, age 45 years or older were assessed.
Low-fat diet study
An eight-year study of nearly 49,000 postmenopausal women investigating links between a low-fat diet and health was conducted as part of the Nurse's Health Study.
- MassGeneral.org - 'Study supports role of aspirin in reducing risk of colorectal cancer: More research needed to identify those for whom benefit could outweigh risk of side effects, Massachusetts General Hospital (February 2, 2004)
- NPR.org - 'Untangling Results of Women's Health Study: Fifteen years and 160,000 women later, the Women's Health Initiative completes its research and assesses results', Talk of the Nation, NPR (March 1, 2006)
- de:Nurses' Health Study
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