The National Cohort

With the aim to develop new strategies for risk assessment, early detection, and prevention of major chronic diseases, a network of German research institutions, including the MDC, has started a large
prospective cohort to be used as a common, national resource for studies on risk factors and etiologic mechanisms of major diseases in the German population.

The NAKO study (National Cohort Study) will include 200,000 participants, recruited through a network of 18 study centers, organized in 8 clusters throughout Germany. At each center, a random sample of the general population is drawn within strata of age and sex. All participants are invited to the study centers to take part in physical and medical examinations, collection of biomaterials, personal interviews, and to fill in questionnaires. All participants will be re-invited for a second examination five years after baseline recruitment. Participants will be re-contacted every 2-3 years and asked to fill in short questionnaires about changes in lifestyle and other characteristics and about the occurrence of selected, major diseases. In parallel, a mortality follow-up and systematic record linkage with existing disease registries will be performed periodically. Biomaterials are stored in a centralized biobank and in decentralized storages.

Within this initiative, the Molecular Epidemiology Group coordinates the Cluster Berlin-Brandenburg, which consists of the MDC, the Charité-University Medical Center Berlin, and the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke (DIfE). The Cluster comprises three study centers, and is recruiting 30,000 participants into the NAKO study.

Further information at

For more detailed information for study participants please visite our German Website.


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