Research Group "Lung Epidemiology" - Projects

Lung function and respiratory health in the German National Cohort (GNC)

We are in charge of the lung function assessments within the GNC (spirometry, exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO)) comprising implementation of measurement procedures, training of study nurses, quality assurance and continuous support to the 18 NAKO study centers regarding all aspects of the assessments.

The nationwide assessment of respiratory health, overall lung function and the occurrence of lung diseases can rely on large population-based studies/cohorts with homogeneous and standardized assessments in a number of countries inside and outside Europe. In Germany large cohort datasets for the general population are available in form of the “Studie  zur  Gesundheit  Erwachsener  in  Deutschland” (DEGS) and the “Gesundheit in Deutschland Aktuell” (GEDA) studies, also covering pulmonary diseases such as asthma and bronchitis by questionnaire. However, the information with regard to respiratory status in terms of symptoms, smoking history or treatment including medication is limited and disease definitions, particularly for COPD, based on lung function measurements are missing. Thus, in this respect the current situation in Germany poses a substantial challenge on public health care policy and limit comparison of respiratory health across leading European countries. We aim to close this gap by the following investigations under the lead of HMGU:

  • Presence and severity of COPD, chronic bronchitis and associated symptoms and obstructive ventilation patterns, respective medication
  • Presence and severity of bronchial asthma, respiratory allergies, associated symptoms, relationship with exhaled NO levels, respective medication
  • Infections of upper and/or lower airways, assessment of vaccination status and its relevance for lung health and respiratory impairment
  • Health care utilisation in subjects with diagnosed airway diseases or indications of respiratory impairment based on reported symptoms and functional parameters, adherence to international guidelines.