AWHS, Aragon Workers Health Study

The Aragon Workers Health Study (AWHS) is being conducted in collaboration with the Instituto Aragonés de Ciencias de la Salud (IACS) and the General Motors factory in Zaragoza. The study examines the development of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors by monitoring factory workers at their annual medical checkups. AWHS is an open cohort study including more than 5000 workers. During 2010, study participants underwent a standardized clinical exam, laboratory assays, and collection of biological samples including serum, plasma, whole blood, urine and DNA.

A medical imaging facility has been established to allow further exploration of the presence of subclinical atherosclerosis in these participants. Over the next three years, participants will be examined for TC calcium score, 3D ultrasound of carotid arteries and abdominal aorta, and ankle-brachial index. All laboratory procedures have been reviewed and improved to meet the ISO 9001:2008 standard, verified by an external audit.

The study is financed by the Departamento de Salud y Consumo of the Aragon regional government and the CNIC. In addition, external funding has been raised for the following sub-studies on the cohort, which are being conducted by CNIC-based researchers:

  • "Insulin resistance and inflammatory response to oxidative stress: Study of determinants and interactions" (ISCIII CP08/112)
  • "Identification of the genetic determinants of mitochondrial DNA content in a working population, and its relationship with oxidative stress and subclinical atherosclerosis" (ISCIII PI10/21)
  • "Cadmium exposure, metallothionein levels, and kidney disease in a general motors company assembly plant" (Johns Hopkins NIOSH Education and Research Center Research Project Award)
  • "DNA methylation and the association of cadmium exposure with chronic kidney disease in a population-based occupational study" (Johns Hopkins NIEHS Center in Urban Environmental Health Pilot Project Award).