Experience in Western countries has shown that large population-based prospective studies are a valuable way of investigating many slow-acting causes of common chronic diseases. The CTSU is collaborating with researchers in low and middle income countries to generate reliable evidence about the importance of common risk factors for premature death (such as smoking, alcohol and obesity).
Our previous research has demonstrated the hazards of prolonged smoking and the benefits of stopping smoking in high-income countries; and ongoing studies, involving 1.4 million participants, are currently assessing the risks of smoking in Mexico, Cuba and India. In 2009 and 2014 we reported that excessive alcohol consumption (chiefly vodka) was responsible for most premature deaths in Russia and this immediately prompted new public health strategies to limit heavy alcohol consumption. Our study in Mexico (where one-third of men and one-half of women are obese) will examine the risks associated with diabetes and different patterns of obesity.
CTSU is engaged in some of the world's largest studies. Projects such as the UK Biobank and China Kadoorie Biobank, each of which involve over 0.5 million participants, are significantly altering our understanding of the causes and treatment of disease.