The National E-infrastructure for Aging Research (NEAR)
On November 8, NEAR organized its fourth workshop in collaboration with the Ferrero Foundation during Healthy Aging Week 2023 in Alba, Italy.
A study including four NEAR studies examined associations between several self-reported sleep disturbances and cognitive domains. Excessive daytime napping (>2 hours) was associated with poorer cognitive abilities.
On November 21, NEAR attended and held a symposium at the Swedish Graduate School on Ageing and Health (SWEAH) conference in Norrköping.
On October 12th, NEAR and the Comparative Research Center Sweden (CORS) held a seminar entitled “Ethical Perspectives on Data Usage in Research Infrastructures”.
NEAR held a well-attended symposium: "High-Quality Big Data for Geriatric Research: Experiences from the Swedish National E-infrastructure for Aging Research (NEAR)" at the European Geriatric Medicine Society (EU-GMS) in September 2023 in Helsinki, Finland.
NEAR is expanding with two databases, the Swedish national inventory of health and care (SWENIS) and Sheltered Housing (TRYBO). SWENIS collects nationally representative data on residents’ health and quality of life.
The National E-infrastructure for Aging Research (NEAR) is a unique research infrastructure that was founded in 2018. It is a collaboration between eight universities including Karolinska Institutet, University of Gothenburg, Lund University, Umeå University, Jönköping University, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Uppsala University and Stockholm University. The Director of NEAR is Senior Professor Laura Fratiglioni, MD, PhD.
The ultimate goal is to identify sustainable intervention strategies for better health and develop more effective care for the older population.
NEAR fulfills the six criteria established by the Swedish Research Council (VR) to define an infrastructure of national interest:
Sweden has one of the oldest populations in the world. The dramatic demographic changes underscore the urgent need to investigate in aging research with the major goal of identifying intervention strategies for longer and healthier lives. NEAR focus solely on aging and health, thus contributing to achieving this goal.
A broad multidisciplinary perspective is needed to achieve outstanding research in aging. NEAR includes datasets with medical, psychological, and social data covering social gerontology, public health, biomedicine, neuroscience, and care sciences. The availability of these diverse data in such a large population makes NEAR unique.
Our scientific production from the first five years shows that NEAR is increasingly used by national and international researchers with high scientific profiles as the infrastructure provides unique information for aging research and policy development.
NEAR includes 17 databases covering older populations from almost all parts of Sweden. The large sample size (>180,000 persons), provides nationally representative health-related data that allows tracing societal changes, time trends, and generational differences in older adults’ health.
NEAR’s long-term plan includes continuous expansion by adding new data and databases, linking with registers, and interacting with related international infrastructures.
We have developed a detailed policy regarding accessibility, rules and procedures for using NEAR data for academic and non-academic users. We found solutions to guarantee open access to all users, while taking the ethical and legal aspects of sensitive personal data into account.