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Introduction to SOF and SOF Online
The multi-center Study of Osteoporotic Fractures (SOF) has 16 years of prospective data about osteoporosis that has served as the basis for many findings about osteoporosis and aging in women >= age 65. In addition to adjudication of fractures, SOF has tracked cases of incident breast cancer, stroke, and total and cause-specific mortality. The data include serial measures of bone mineral density, measurements of sex and calcitropic hormones, tests of strength and function, cognitive exams, use of medication, health habits and much more. Most data are available in the current release
In 1986, SOF enrolled 9,704 primarily Caucasian women and continues to track
these women with clinical visits every 2 years. Data from the first seven
visits are now available to the public. At the sixth visit in 1997, SOF
enrolled an additional 662 African-American women who are now seen with the
original cohort. Data fields particular to these African-American women are
prefaced with “AA” before the field name instead of the standard “V#”.
We are introducing a public website and process for releasing SOF anonymized data to the broader research community. Through dynamic internet technology, the website provides interactive documentation on 6,000 variables collected over seven principal visits of this unique cohort of nearly 10,000 older women. Users can browse variables by category or perform variable searches, viewing search results in a convenient longitudinal format of variable availability across visits. Users may link to the study data collection forms, as well as view descriptive statistics (e.g., means or frequency distributions).
We expect that investigators in many fields will use the website to formulate and submit analysis plans of the dataset. The website facilitates online submission of these plans as well as the means to search for and view previously submitted plans by other researchers. Over 170 publications, 40 of which by external researchers, have already been published using SOF data. We hope that the dataset will prove increasingly fruitful by providing online access to new investigators who may propose unique research topics to be studied in SOF. Furthermore, as the trend continues toward mandatory public release of data from NIH-funded studies, this website will serve as a template for future data releases from our other studies. We hope our web-based applications can serve as a model for others as they address this important need. We encourage investigators in osteoporosis to discuss the website and processes with us and make use of this valuable public resource.
The above text was adapted from an abstract published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 17:S465 (2002).