Doctors from Northwestern Medicine and the American Lung Association are seeking to better understand the causes of lung injury and disease, and to do so, they’re launching a first-ever study of the lungs of thousands of millennials.
Lindy Olive, 28, like so many others, hasn’t given much thought to her lungs.
“It wasn’t until I got COVID that I started thinking about myself and my own lung health,” Olive said.
It’s one of the reasons she signed up to be part of the in-depth study, examining the lungs of thousands of millennials.
The researchers say they chose this age group for a reason.
“It’s really important that we enroll young adults now at the time of their peak lung health, so that we can study the behaviors, the social factors, the environmental factors that contribute to the development of lung disease,” said Mercedes Carnethon, Vice President of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern Medicine and principal investigator of the study.
Doctors and researchers at 40 sites across the country are recruiting 4,000 adults between the ages of 25 and 35 to participate.
With various laboratory tests, questionnaires and imaging, the objective of the first study of its kind is to analyze the impact of the environment, lifestyle and physical activity on the lungs.
“Even what we know is kind of outdated information. Now we need to know the exposures today and what they’re going to do in the long term,” said Dr. Ravi Kalhan, a Northwestern Medicine pulmonologist and the study’s principal investigator.
The study will follow participants for five years, with the hope of securing sustained funding for many years in the future.
“So that we can track our participants and really understand the determinants of respiratory health across the lifespan,” Dr. Kalhan said.
There are currently 140 millennials enrolled and thousands more are needed. You can more information at the study site.