Three-year DO-HEALTH trial approaching successful completion

DO-HEALTH’s 5th annual meeting reports on progress; recruitment centres anticipate final patient visits in November 2017 and project completion in summer 2018.

Partners, coordinators, and key investigators for DO-HEALTH, Europe’s largest healthy ageing trial, met at the University of Zurich on February 17th for the 5th Annual DO-HEALTH Meeting. The participants discussed the trial’s progress, presented selected preliminary data, and reviewed next steps.

DO-HEALTH (VitaminD3-Omega3-Home Exercise- Healthy Ageing and Longevity Trial) is the largest trial and most comprehensively assessed cohort of community-dwelling seniors in Europe. In November 2014, the seven study centres in five countries, successfully reached their recriutment targets of a total of 2157 community dwelling seniors aged 70+. Importantly, the recruitment ratio of 40% of seniors with a fall history versus 60% non-fallers will allow for significant insights.

DO-HEALTH Coordinator and Principle Investigator Professor Heike Bischoff-Ferrari, Chair and Professor of Geriatrics and Aging Research at the University of Zurich and University Hospital Zurich, stated:

We are pleased to see that this important trial is successfully nearing completion as we look forward to final DO-HEALTH participant visits in November 2017. We would like to thank the dedicated investigators and staff at the study centres and our motivated DO-HEALTH participants! Their efforts allowed us to follow 90% of DO-HEALTH participants through the first and second year of follow-up. Now, only 7% of clinical visits are left to do and hopefully DO-HEALTH can also maintain its high follow-up rate for its third year."

Numbers alone attest to the extent of this ground-breaking study – more than 9565 clinical visits have already been carried out, 17’252 phone calls placed, and a databank with more than 200’000 bio-samples collected. The data arising from DO-HEALTH will provide important findings in regard to the five primary endpoints – bone, muscle, cardiology, cognitive health and immunity.

In addition to Prof. H.A Bischoff-Ferrari, speakers at the Annual Meeting included Prof. Dr. Michael Hengartner, PhD (President of the University of Zurich (UZH); Prof. E. John Orav, PhD, Head Biostatistician DO-HEALTH; Prof. John Kanis, President IOF; Prof. Bruno Vellas, University of Toulouse; Dr. Michael Gagesch, UZH; Dr. Simeon Schietzel, UZH; Dr. Patricia Chocano, MD, PhD, DO-HEALTH Epidemiologist, UZH; and Karina Fischer, PhD DO-HEALTH Epidemiologist. As well, invited network speaker Prof. Dr. Ivan Bautmans talked about ‘Intrinsic Capacity – a new concept of functionality and how to measure it'.

The DO-HEALTH findings will have long-term impact, potentially leading to important economic benefits of the interventions by reducing health care costs in the best possible way – by keeping people healthier longer. Additionally, DO-HEALTH will provide innovative IT technologies to promote healthy ageing and longevity in the senior population.

Participants at the DO-HEALTH meeting were therefore delighted to hear Prof. Bischoff-Ferrari state:

We are very happy to announce that the communication of DO-HEALTH findings and the continued follow-up of our great DO-HEALTH seniors will be under the ambassadorship of Donna Leon. Donna Leon is the well regarded New York Times bestselling author, creator of Commissario Brunetti, and just the best person to have for this important task.” 

The ambassadorship of author Donna Leon will undoubtedly benefit the programme’s public outreach in the future.


DO-HEALTH (VitaminD3-Omega3-Home Exercise-Healthy Aging and Longevity Trial) is a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled multicenter trial which will study more than 2000 healthy-at-start community dwelling seniors aged 70 and older. DO-HEALTH will test the efficacy and safety of three preventive interventions: vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and a simple home exercise program. The study is funded by the European Commission, within the European 7th Framework Program for Research and Technological Development, as well as through the University of Zurich and industry partners of DO-HEALTH.

To learn more, visit the DO-HEALTH website