China-U.S. Research for Healthy Aging Network (CURHAN)


Chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S. and China and the prevalence is rising rapidly in the face of an aging population. Most chronic diseases are preventable because onset is insidious and symptoms take years if not decades to progress to levels that warrant medical attention. However, current methods of waiting till health metrics reach thresholds that triggers action by the healthcare systems is costly and often times too late.  Lost in this medically driven approach is the potential of disease prevention. A joint China-U.S. Aging Well Initiative is underway that applies a cross-disciplinary approach to identify the determinants of lifelong physical, cognitive and emotional health.  Modeled after the famed Framingham Heart Study, the China-U.S. Research for Healthy Aging Network (CURHAN) seeks to integrate state-of-the-art research practices with the best-in-its-class technology solutions to create a comprehensive research platform with an emphasis on precision disease prevention.

The Framingham Heart Study led the way in illuminating that the most effective public health strategies for disease prevention and intervention are built around the incident study of chronic disease. Unique to this CURHAN initiative is the integration of conventional epidemiologic data collection methods with novel digital technologies to create opportunities for high precision health-related metrics. The vision is to build a forward-thinking platform with the capacity for long-term surveillance of a mobile society, creating an unprecedented resource from which to identify how to reduce the cost and burden of treating and caring for the growing elder population and fuel development of innovative healthcare products and services that will help optimize lifelong personal health.

The foundation research protocol will serve as a national model with an initial focus on cognitive aging and dementia. This precedent-setting study will:

  • Investigate environment, physical activity, sleep, diet, genetic and other influences on physical, cognitive and emotional health
  • Create a resource for drug discovery and development of models for chronic disease preventive and prediction
  • Develop new remote data collection methods for large-scale longitudinal epidemiological research

Our multinational network of researchers work together with a common goal, to conduct evidence-based research with a purpose – precision health meets precision medicine, helping people live longer, healthier and independently.