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Research Resources

Use the NIA Research Resources database to find NIA-supported scientific resources, datasets, informatics resources, and more. Search by keyword, resource type, or NIA Division or IRP. 

Clinical Research Resources

Multicenter Osteoarthritis Study (MOST)

The Multicenter Osteoarthritis Study (MOST) is a longitudinal, prospective, observational study of knee osteoarthritis (OA) in older Americans with OA disease or at increased risk of developing it. The study is comprised of two clinical centers, a data coordinating center, and an analysis center.

The overall aims of MOST are to identify novel and modifiable biomechanical factors (including physical activity-related factors), bone and joint structural factors (including those assessed by MRI of the knee), and nutritional factors that affect the occurrence and progression of OA-related knee symptoms and radiographic knee OA. Additionally, MOST investigators aim to determine whether risk factors for new disease differ from those for OA progression. The MOST cohort has been followed through 84 months with three investigative themes: mechanical risk factors, causes of knee symptoms and pain, and the long term disease trajectory of knee OA.


Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI)

The Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) was a multi-center, longitudinal, prospective observational study of knee osteoarthritis (OA). The overall aim of the OAI was to develop a public domain research resource to facilitate the scientific evaluation of biomarkers for osteoarthritis as potential surrogate endpoints for disease onset and progression. The OAI established and maintains a natural history database for osteoarthritis that will include clinical evaluation data, radiological (x-ray and magnetic resonance) images, and a biospecimen repository from 4796 men and women ages 45-79 enrolled between February 2004 and May 2006. Four 3.0 Tesla MRI scanners, one at each clinical center, were dedicated to imaging the knees of OAI participants annually over four years. The seven-year project recruited participants who had, and those who are at high risk for developing, symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. All data and images collected are available to researchers worldwide to help quicken the pace of biomarker identification, scientific investigation and OA drug development. Access to biospecimens will be by application to the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).


Rochester Epidemiology Project

The Rochester Epidemiology Project (REP) is a collaboration of clinics, hospitals, and other medical facilities in Minnesota and Wisconsin and involves community members who have agreed to share their medical records for research. Using medical record information, medical scientists can discover what causes the diseases, how patients respond to medical and surgical therapies, and what will happen to patients in the future. Research studies conducted in the local community may improve the health of people both locally and globally.


Health Databases

Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS)

The Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) is an NIH-funded initiative to develop and validate patient reported outcomes (PROs) for clinical research and practice. PROMIS aims to enhance and standardize measurement of several selected PROs through both computer adaptive testing and traditional "paper and pencil" instruments.

PROMIS was established in 2004 as a cooperative network that developed and validated PROs in global health, physical function, fatigue, pain, sleep/wake function, emotional distress, and social health. Currently, the PROMIS network consists of 12 research sites and 3 administrative centers that are developing PROs in several new domains and performing validation studies of PROs in new and existing domains.

PROMIS is one of several initiatives under the NIH Common Fund. Researchers and clinicians are encouraged to consider using PROMIS tools in their studies or practices. More information about PROMIS, including item banks, PRO instrument forms, and Assessment Center™, is available at www.nihpromis.org.

Direct NIA-relevant questions about PROMIS to: Basil Eldadah, MD, PhD; 301-496-6761; eldadahb@nia.nih.gov


Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM) Dataset Compendium

The SGIM Research Dataset Compendium is designed to assist investigators conducting research on existing datasets, with a particular emphasis on health services research, clinical epidemiology, and research on medical education. The detailed information provided by the SGIM compendium distinguishes it from other web-based compendia, which typically provide lists of datasets but give little information about their strengths and weaknesses and the insights of experienced users about making best use of the data.


Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE)

With 2,832 participants, the ACTIVE Study is the largest study on cognitive training ever performed. Funded by the National Institutes of Health and led by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the National Institute on Aging, the Indiana University School of Medicine, Penn State University, and others, the ACTIVE study proves that healthy older adults can make significant cognitive improvements with appropriate cognitive training and practice. It also demonstrates that Posit Science training drives improvements that are significantly better than other types of cognitive exercise.


American Time Use Survey (ATUS) including the NIA-supported Well-Being module

The American Time Use Survey (ATUS) provides nationally representative estimates of how, where, and with whom Americans spend their time, and is the only federal survey providing data on the full range of nonmarket activities, from childcare to volunteering. ATUS data files are used by researchers to study a broad range of issues; the data files include information collected from over 136,000 interviews conducted from 2003 to 2012.


English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA)

The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) is a longitudinal study that collects multidisciplinary data from a representative sample of the English population aged 50 and older. The survey data are designed to be used for the investigation of a broad set of topics relevant to understanding the aging process. Both objective and subjective data are collected covering themes such as: health trajectories, disability and healthy life expectancy, the determinants of economic position in older age; the links between economic position, physical health, cognition, and mental health; the nature and timing of retirement and post-retirement labor market activity; household and family structure, social networks and social supports; patterns, determinants, and consequences of social, civic, and cultural participation and predictors of well-being. ELSA is led by Professor Sir Michael Marmot and is jointly run by teams at University College London (UCL), the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), National Centre for Social Research, and the University of Manchester.


Gateway to Global Aging Data

The Gateway to Global Aging is a platform for population survey data on aging around the world. You can access data from 11 longitudinal studies on aging through this site, which is hosted by the University of Southern California’s Program on Global Aging, Health, and Policy. The project’s goal is to provide the resources to support cross-national research on aging: a comprehensive digital library of survey questions, a search engine that finds concordance information across surveys, and a set of harmonized or identically defined variables for analysis. You can also use a data manipulation tool on the website.


Health and Retirement Study (HRS)

The University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study (HRS) is a longitudinal panel study that surveys a representative sample of more than 26,000 Americans over the age of 50 every two years. Supported by the National Institute on Aging (NIA U01AG009740) and the Social Security Administration, the HRS explores the changes in labor force participation and the health transitions that individuals undergo toward the end of their work lives and in the years that follow. Since its launch in 1992, the study has collected information about income, work, assets, pension plans, health insurance, disability, physical health and functioning, cognitive functioning, and health care expenditures. Through its unique and in-depth interviews, the HRS provides an invaluable and growing body of multidisciplinary data that researchers can use to address important questions about the challenges and opportunities of aging