The Rotterdam Study is a prospective cohort study ongoing since 1990 in the city of Rotterdam in The Netherlands. The study targets cardiovascular, endocrine, hepatic, neurological, ophthalmic, psychiatric, dermatological, oncological, and respiratory diseases. As of 2020, nearly 20,000 subjects aged 40 years or over comprise the Rotterdam Study cohort. The findings of the Rotterdam Study have been presented in over 1,500 peer-reviewed research articles and reports (see www.erasmus-epidemiology.nl/rotterdamstudy).
The design of the Rotterdam study is that of a prospective cohort study. At baseline and follow-up every 3 to 4 years, participants are all examined in some detail. They are interviewed at home (2 h) and then have an extensive set of examinations (a total of 5 h) in a specially-built research facility in the centre of their district. These examinations focus on possible causes of invalidating diseases in the elderly in a clinically state-of-the-art manner, as far as the circumstances allow. Data collected include: demographics, lifestyle, diet, medication use, blood/serum markers of cardiometabolism and inflammation, genetics, epigenetics, metabolomics, proteomics, and gait patterns. Additionally, there is strong emphasis on imaging (heart, blood vessels, eyes, skeleton and brain). All hardware (e.g. MRI-scanner) and software required for these assessments is present on-site. Several add-on studies have taken place using facilities in the Erasmus MC (e.g. CT-scan).
The participants in the Rotterdam Study are followed for a variety of diseases that are frequent in the elderly (and many are also in the not-so-elderly): coronary heart disease, heart failure and stroke, Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease and other dementias, depression and anxiety disorders, macular degeneration and glaucoma, respiratory diseases, liver diseases, diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis, dermatological diseases and cancer.
In addition to in-person assessments, there is also automated coupling of the study database with medical records from general practitioners and pharmacy records. This enables continuous monitoring of the cohort for all major outcomes and drug use.
The study allows for research focusing on etiology, diagnosis, prediction, and prevention of chronic diseases, with an emphasis on quantitative methodological and analytical approaches.