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The Indian Study of Healthy Aging (ISHA) is a prospective blood-based cohort study of 220,000 men and women recruited from towns and villages around Barshi in Maharashtra state between 2015 and 2019.

The study’s principal investigator is Dr Rajesh Dikshit from the Centre for Cancer Epidemiology, based at the Tata Memorial Centre in Mumbai.

ISHA was conceived, developed and is coordinated by the Centre for Cancer Epidemiology, and was established with the aim of examining environmental and genetic causes of cancer and other non-communicable diseases in a population with low baseline risk. The study also seeks to understand the relevance for disease risks of India’s recent and ongoing transitions in major lifestyle factors.

At recruitment, laptop-based questionnaires collect information on participants’ sociodemographic characteristics, lifestyle factors (including tobacco smoking and chewing, alcohol drinking, diet and physical activity), personal and family medical history, sleep and mood. Physical measurements are recorded (including blood pressure and anthropometric measurements, pulmonary function tests and hand grip strength), nail clippings are collected (for assessment of exposure to pesticides) and blood samples are taken for long-term storage. Periodic resurveys will provide further enhancement of data collection, and contribute to understanding of India’s ongoing rapid development.

Participant follow-up for cause-specific morbidity and mortality is through active follow-up at 3-yearly intervals and linkage to health-related datasets for death (supplemented by verbal autopsy), cancer and hospitalisation.

Our team in Oxford

Our team in India

Dr Rajesh Dikshit, Principal Investigator

Dr Sharayu Mhatre, Study Coordinator

Mr Panse, Field Study Coordinator


George Davey Smith (Bristol)

Prabhat Jha (Centre for Global Health Research, Toronto)

Carline Relton (Bristol/London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine)

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