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The Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN) Repository

The SWAN Repository is the biologic specimen bank of the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN). SWAN is a National Institutes of Health funded, multi site, longitudinal study of the natural history of the midlife including the menopausal transition. The overall goal of SWAN is to describe the chronology of the biological and psychosocial characteristics that occur during midlife and the menopausal transition. In addition, SWAN seeks to describe the effect of the transition and its associated characteristics on subsequent health and risk factors for age related chronic diseases.

SWAN has seven clinical study sites located in six states, two in California, and one each in Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The SWAN cohort was recruited in 1996/7 and consists of 3302 African American, Caucasian, Chinese American, Hispanic and Japanese American women. Every cohort member completes an annual clinic visit.

The SWAN Repository contains blood and urine specimens, collected at each study participant's annual visit. In addition, a subset of participants provide urine samples over the length of one menstrual cycle each year. All of these samples are in the SWAN Repository, stored at -70°, and are available to researchers who wish to study the midlife and menopausal transition. A DNA repository, containing two types of specimens: whole blood and sputum pellets and immortalized cells, is being developed with approximately 50% of anticipated samples collected to date. All DNA samples are stored in liquid nitrogen.

Scientists who use SWAN Repository specimens can also request data collected at participant's annual visits. Medical and health history, psychosocial measures, biological measures, and anthropometry are collected during the annual visit.

Contact Information

To learn more about how to apply to use SWAN Repository specimens, go to

Consent Restrictions

The SWAN Repository samples (serum, urine, and DNA) were collected with consents that identified that material would be sent to a Repository and used to evaluate a number of characteristics (unspecified) relevant to women's health. Further, the DNA Repository materials were collected with consent forms that include an acknowledgement of a Certificate of Confidentiality that the Repository holds for the participating sites. 

Other Conditions

There are additional factors related to the use of the SWAN Repository. A written application for the use of materials is required (see Web site) which will be given a formal review (see Web site). Likewise, successful applications will include a SWAN investigator to facilitate the understanding of data collection processes and characteristics of the population and its sampling.


There are numerous phenotypes available from the SWAN Core Study. Examples include:

  1. Indices of the menopausal transition
    • Age at menopause (thought to be a potential indicator of longevity)
    • Duration and intensity of menopausal symptomatology
    • Hormone change with the menopausal transition
  2. Obesity and body composition
    • Amount of fat and lean mass
    • Body topology from waist and hip circumferences
    • Rate of change in body composition and topology
  3. Disordered carbohydrate metabolism, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome
  4. Bone mineral density and its change
  5. Lipids
  6. Depressive symptomatology

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