The SAPALDIA Cohort - 30 Years of Research for Better Health

From Exposome to Phenome


The SAPALDIA cohort investigates since 1991 the effects of life style and environment on the chronic diseases and aging in adults of the Swiss general population. The SAPALDIA study participants have been recruited from 8 areas of Switzerland which differ by culture, language, geography, micro-climate, socio-demography and environmental exposures. The aim of baseline examination (Study on Air Pollution And Lung Disease In Adults, SAPALDIA) in 1991 was to identify and quantify the long-term effect of air pollution on the respiratory health of the adult general population in Switzerland. Ten years later, 83% of the 9561 original study participants agreed to a follow-up examination in 2002 (SAPALDIA2, n=8047).
At this follow-up the disease focus was expanded to also include cardiovascular and metabolic health. To investigate causal biologic mechanisms a systematic prospective collection of population-based blood samples was started and the SAPALDIA biobank was established. There has been a third and fourth follow-up inviting the same participants for additional data collection including detailed questionnaires, clinical examination and health measures (SAPALDIA3 in 2010, SAPALDIA4 in 2017 and SAPLDIA5 currently ongoing). SAPALDIA is one of the very few population-based adult longitudinal cohort studies in Europe examining the exposome of cardio-respiratory disease, multi-morbidity, and also healthy aging. SAPALDIA can address environmental and health policy questions to guide evidence–based decisions in Switzerland and to improve quality of life of the aging Swiss population.

Nicole Probst-Hensch

Nicole Probst-Hensch

Professor, PhD (Pharmacy and Epidemiology), MPH

Head of Department, Group Leader, Head of Unit

SAPALDIA is a multi-center study. The eight centers are:

Study Centre AARAU

Dr. med. Robert Bettschart
Hirslandenklinik Aarau

Study Centre: BASEL

Prof. Daiana Stolz
Universitätsspital Basel, Pneumologie

Study Centre: DAVOS

Dr. med Thomas Rothe
Spital Davos, Pneumologie

Study Centre: GENEVA

Prof. Paola Gasche-Soccal
Hopitaux Universitaires Genève, Services des Pneumologies

Study Centre: LUGANO

Prof. Marco Pons
Ospedale Regionale di Lugano, Pneumologia

Study Centre: MONTANA

Prof. Pierre-Olivier Bridevaux
Hôpital du Valais Sion, Centre Valaisan de Pneumologie

Study Centre: PAYERNE

Dr Luc Burdet
Hôpital Intercantonal de la Broye, Payerne

Study Centre: WALD (ZH)

Dr. Alexander Turk
Lunge Zürich

SAPALDIA is currently supported by


Since 1991 the SAPALDIA project has been supported by the Federal Office for the Environment, the Federal Office of Public Health, the Federal Office of Roads and Transport, the canton's government of Aargau, Basel-Stadt, Basel-Land, Geneva, Luzern, Ticino, Valais, and Zürich, the Swiss Lung League, the canton's Lung League of Basel Stadt/ Basel Landschaft, Geneva, Ticino, Valais, Graubünden and Zurich, Stiftung ehemals Bündner Heilstätten, SUVA, Freiwillige Akademische Gesellschaft, UBS Wealth Foundation, Talecris Biotherapeutics GmbH, Abbott Diagnostics, Klinik Barmelweid, Hirslanden Klinik Aarau, European Commission 018996 (GABRIEL), Wellcome Trust WT 084703MA, Exposomics EC FP7 grant(Grant agreement No: 308610).

Complex data towards understanding of complex diseases