Prospective Epidemiological Research Studies in Iran (the PERSIAN Cohort Study): Rationale, Objectives, and Design

1Liver and Pancreatobiliary Diseases Research Center, Digestive Diseases Research Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences.

2Department of Biology, School of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland.

3Digestive Oncology Research Center, Digestive Diseases Research Institute, Tehran UMS, Tehran, Iran.

4Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland.

5Department of Health Sciences Education Development, School of Public Health, Tehran UMS, Tehran, Iran.

6Department of Clinical Nutrition, School of Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics, Shahid Beheshti UMS, Tehran, Iran.

7Liver and Gastrointestinal Diseases Research Center, Tabriz UMS, Tabriz, Iran.

8Department of Gastroenterology, Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases Research Center, Guilan UMS, Rasht, Iran.

9Research Center for Environmental Determinants of Health, School of Public Health, Kermanshah UMS, Kermanshah, Iran.

10Noncommunicable Diseases Research Center, Fasa UMS, Fasa, Iran.

11Department of Occupational Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Shahid Sadoughi UMS, Yazd, Iran.

12Health Promotion Research Center, Zahedan UMS, Zahedan, Iran.

13School of Public Health and Health Sciences Research Center, Mazandaran UMS, Sari, Iran.

14Department of Cardiology, School of Medicine, Rafsanjan UMS, Rafsanjan, Iran.

15Department of Epidemiology, School of Health, Shiraz UMS, Shiraz, Iran.

16Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Hearing and Speech Research Center, Ahvaz Jundishapur UMS, Ahvaz, Iran.

17Eye Research Center, Farabi Eye Hospital, Tehran UMS, Tehran, Iran.

18Department of Pediatrics, Child Growth and Development Research Center, Research Institute for Primordial Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases, Isfahan UMS, Isfahan, Iran.

19Iranian National Center for Addiction Studies, Tehran UMS, Tehran, Iran.

20Department of Statistics and Epidemiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Tabriz UMS, Tabriz, Iran.

21Department of Oncological Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York.

American Journal of Epidemiology


Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) account for 76% of deaths in Iran, and this number is on the rise, in parallel with global rates. Many risk factors associated with NCDs are preventable; however, it is first necessary to conduct observational studies to identify relevant risk factors and the most appropriate approach to controlling them. Iran is a multiethnic country; therefore, in 2014 the Ministry of Health and Medical Education launched a nationwide cohort study-Prospective Epidemiological Research Studies in Iran (PERSIAN)-in order to identify the most prevalent NCDs among Iran’s ethnic groups and to investigate effective methods of prevention. The PERSIAN study consists of 4 population-based cohorts; the adult component (the PERSIAN Cohort Study), described in this article, is a prospective cohort study including 180,000 persons aged 35-70 years from 18 distinct areas of Iran. Upon joining the cohort, participants respond to interviewer-administered questionnaires. Blood, urine, hair, and nail samples are collected and stored. To ensure consistency, centrally purchased equipment is sent to all sites, and the same team trains all personnel. Routine visits and quality assurance/control measures are taken to ensure protocol adherence. Participants are followed for 15 years postenrollment. The PERSIAN study is currently in the enrollment phase; cohort profiles will soon emerge.

Keywords: cohort studies, Iran, noncommunicable diseases, Prospective Epidemiological Research Studies in Iran (PERSIAN)

How to Cite

Poustchi H, Eghtesad S, Kamangar F, Etemadi A, Keshtkar AA, Hekmatdoost A, Mohammadi Z, Mahmoudi Z, Shayanrad A, Roozafzai F, Sheikh M, Jalaeikhoo A, Somi MH, Mansour-Ghanaei F, Najafi F, Bahramali E, Mehrparvar A, Ansari-Moghaddam A, Enayati AA, Esmaeili Nadimi A, Rezaianzadeh A, Saki N, Alipour F, Kelishadi R, Rahimi-Movaghar A, Aminisani N, Boffetta P, Malekzadeh R. Prospective Epidemiological Research Studies in Iran (the PERSIAN Cohort Study): Rationale, Objectives, and Design. Am J Epidemiol. 2018 Apr 1;187(4):647-655. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwx314. PMID: 29145581; PMCID: PMC6279089.