What is SIMPLER?

SIMPLER stands for Swedish Infrastructure for Medical Population-Based Life-Course and Environmental Research.

The foundation for the infrastructure was laid in year 1987 when the Swedish National Food Agency together with the county councils in Uppsala and Västmanland sent a food frequency questionnaire to a group of women, the Swedish Mammography Cohort. The infrastructure was hosted by Uppsala University between the years 1987 and 1997, in year 1997 the infrastructure was transferred to the Karolinska Institute, but from year 2018 Uppsala University is once again hosting the infrastructure. During the years, the collection of material has extended to include males, and biological samples.

The Swedish Mammography Cohort, SMC, consists of women born between the years 1914 and 1948 in Västmanland and Uppland county invited to participate in connection to the first mammography screening. The Cohort of Swedish Men, COSM, consist of men born between the years 1914 and 1952 and selected from the population register in Västmanland and Örebro counties. COSM received the first food frequency questionnaire in year 1997. In the beginning the two cohorts consisted of approximately 110,000 participants of which approximately 52,000 participates today. Biological samples have been collected from a sobcohort of SMC from year 2004 to 2012, and from a subcohort of COSM from year 2010. The clinical subcohorts consist of approximately 7,000 women and 6,000 men. A second round of clinical examinations for the women started in year 2013, while a second round is planned to start autumn 2019 for men. The biobank consist of samples of blood, urine, faeces and fat tissue, from the clinical subcohorts. In addition, saliva samples from 32,000 women and 7,000 men have also been collected. In total there are over 400,000 samples in the biobank.

Questionnaire data and biological samples are supplemented with register data from the national Swedish Board of Health and Welfare and from regional and local registers. Work on developing the infrastructure further with genomic data, metabolomic data and proteomic data is ongoging.