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Other Studies - Current Research Activities

Studies at Comstock Center Health Monitoring Unit

1100 Dual Highway Suite A, Hagerstown MD 21740

Active Grants

DNA Repair, Skin Cancer, and Overall Cancer Risk 07/01/05-06/30/10
NIH/NCI (Alberg) Medical University of South Carolina 
The research hypothesis for this study is that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPS) in the  NER pathway may be the underlying susceptibility factors increasing the risk of multiple primary cancers among individuals with nonmelanoma skin cancer.   

Collaborative Studies

Secondhand Smoke and Diseases of the Upper Airways 07/01/05-06/29/10
NIH (Navas-Acien) JHSPH Environmental Health Sciences
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the relationship between secondhand smoke and diseases of the upper airway in non-smoking adults by conducting a case-control study to evaluate the association of secondhand smoke exposure with chronic rhinosinusitis diagnosed clinically among adult non-smokers.  A questionnaire was developed to be used as a screening tool.

For more information, please visit:

Retrospective Study of the Natural History of Untreated Celiac Disease
University of Maryland (Fasano) (manuscript in process)
The purpose of this study is to investigate the natural history of untreated celiac disease, by comparing the clinical history of patients showing anti-tTG positivity at the time of CLUE I (1974) and/or CLUE II (1989) in order to determine whether the prevalence of celiac disease has changed during the period 1974 (CLUE I) and 1989 (CLUE II) in this sample of the U.S. population.

Vitamin D Pooling Project - Rare Cancers
2008 (data analysis ongoing)
NCI Cohort Consortium/Mercy Medical Center (Helzlsouer)
This is a multisite consortium project, nested case-control study to identify the association between vitamin D and the development of rarer cancers.  Low serum vitamin D concentration has been found to be associated with an increased risk of the following rare cancer types: pancreatic, ovarian, endometrial, renal, upper gastrointestinal and lymphoma.

Genome Scan for Pancreatic Cancer Risk in the Pancreatic Cancer Cohort Consortium (PANSCAN)
NCI Cohort Consortium 2006-2008 (data analysis ongoing) (Helzlsouer)
PANSCAN  conducted  a whole genome analysis (WGA) of 1,200 incident pancreatic cancer cases and 1,200 controls utilizing a tag SNP approach to characterize approximately 90 percent of the genome.  It is anticipated that SNPs highly likely to be markers for genetic variants related to pancreatic cancer risk will emerge from this analysis and lead to further studies of gene-gene and gene-environment interactions with pancreatic cancer risk factors, including known exposures and biomarkers collected on these individuals.

Blood Pressure in CLUE/ARIC Overlap Group (Coresh, Chakravarti) 

Genetic and Epidemiologic Risk Factors for Gout (Maynard, Gelber, Coresh)

Is Plasma Interleukin-10 Concentration Associated with Prostate Cancer
Incidence in CLUE II (Platz, Helzlsouer, Isaacs)

Active Studies In Data Analysis Phase

  • Harvard Pooling Project-Breast Cancer and Carotenoid (Eliassen)
  • Harvard Pooling Project-Prostate Cancer (Smith-Warner)
  • Postmenopausal Breast Cancer Biomarkers (Visvanathan)
  • Benign Breast Disease Case/Cohort Study (Visvanathan
  • Sleep, Physical Activity and Breast Cancer Risk (Visvanathan, McClain)
  • Sleep, Physical Activity and Colorectal and Breast Cancer Risk
    (Visvanathan,  McClain)
  • Genetic Factors in Response to Oral Contraceptive Use and Subsequent Breast
    Cancer Risk (Visvanathan, McKnight)
  • Cigarette Smoking and Malignant Melanoma (Alberg, Kessides)
  • Instrumental Variable Estimation in Case-Control Designs Sampled from an 
    Underlying Cohort (Platz, Tsilidis)  FUNDING PENDING
  • Inflammation, Vit. D Exposure and Endometrial Cancer Risk: A Consortium Study (Gallicchio, Helzlsouer)
  • Association Between AMH and Ovarian Cancer (Dorgan, Helzlsouer)
  • Is Plasma Interleukin-10 Concentration Associated with Prostate Cancer Incidence in CLUE II? (Platz,Helzlsouer) 
  • Association Between AMH and Ovarian Cancer (Dorgan, Helzlsouer)
  • Pooling Project-Dairy and Plant Foods and Advanced Prostate Cancer (Stephanie-Smith Warner, Harvard)

Potential NIH Cohort Consortium Collaborations

  • A Cohort-Based Genome-Wide Association Study of Brain Cancer
  • Pooled Analyses of Lymphoma Risk Factors in the Cohort Consortium
  • BMI and All-Cause Mortality

Studies at Comstock Center Surveillance & Disease Prevention Unit (On the Square)

1100 Dual Highway Suite A, Hagerstown MD 21740

The Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory (GEM) Study


The Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory (GEM) Study is an investigational research study sponsored by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the National Institute on Aging, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (each a part of the National Institutes of Health).

The goal of this study is to find out if medicine made from the plant Ginkgo biloba can prevent or delay the changes in memory, thinking and personality that can occur as people get older. Doctors refer to these changes as "dementia," the most well-known type being Alzheimer's disease. We have enrolled over 3,000 people in this study. Half are taking pills that contain Ginkgo biloba, and half are taking a "placebo" (pills that do not contain Ginkgo biloba). After five years, when the study has been completed, we will compare the two groups to see if there are differences in how memory, thinking and personality have changed, and to see if Ginkgo biloba has been effective in preventing these changes.

For more information, please visit the study website at

The Sleep Heart Health Study (SHHS)


The Sleep Heart Health Study is a multicenter cohort study that has been implemented by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to determine cardiovascular and other consequences of sleep-disordered breathing. The study was motivated by the increasing recognition of the frequent occurrence of sleep-disordered breathing in the general population and mounting evidence that sleep-disordered breathing may increase risk for cardiovascular diseases, including coronary artery disease and stroke, and for hypertension and may reduce quality of life generally. Many clinical questions remain unanswered concerning sleep-disordered breathing as well: for example, we lack insight as to the point in the natural history of the disorder when intervention is warranted; and, while effective treatments for some forms of sleep-disordered breathing have been developed, information is still needed on who is at risk from sleep-disordered breathing so that these treatments can be applied in a cost-effective manner. Such questions can best be addressed by longitudinal epidemiologic investigations that are conducted in a population context. The Sleep Heart Health Study, implemented to obtain these needed data, will test whether sleep-related breathing is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, all-cause mortality, and hypertension.

For more information, please visit the study website at