During World War II, Dr. Francis A. L. Mathewson served as a medical officer responsible for the physical examination of 7,000 young male air crew recruits for the Royal Canadian Air Force. The examination of these men included measurement of height, body weight, blood pressure, medical history of past illnesses and the recording of a resting electrocardiogram.

After the war, these men were sought out and invited to take part in a longitudinal study designed primarily to prospectively evaluate the prognostic significance of electrocardiographic changes as they would develop in an otherwise healthy individual. A cohort of 3,983 young men was sealed on July 1, 1948. The Manitoba Follow-up Study (MFUS) has been housed since its inception at the Medical College of the University of Manitoba.


STUDY PROTOCOL

  • Medical examinations, administered by each study memberís physician, include a general cardiovascular assessment, blood pressure and body build measurement and a resting 12 lead electrocardiogram.
  • Routine examinations were requested at five-year intervals until the mid-1960s and at three-year intervals since.
  • Since 1978, an annual questionnaire has been sent to determine illnesses or hospitalizations and thus permit a timely follow-up of events between routine examinations.
  • Extensive questionnaires have obtained additional information on smoking habits, family history of cardiovascular disease, physical activity, occupational profiles and perceived level of stress during the war.

CURRENT OBJECTIVES

  • Since the mid-1990s, in addition to continued research in cardiovascular health, interest has developed in understanding successful aging.
  • Questionnaires in 1996, 2000, 2002, and annually since 2004, focused on physical, mental and social functioning, activity limitations, diet, retirement, and self-definition of successful aging.
  • Continued contact with study members will allow the study of successful aging as a dynamic process.
THE MEMBERS

The Manitoba Follow-up Study is certainly unique in the world due to its scope, duration and completeness of data. This attests to the remarkable interest and dedication of the members. From 1983 to 2000 the majority of the funds for the operation of the Study have come from the generous donations of the members. It is believed that this is the only Study in the world financed by the members who are being studied!

Now in its 69th year, MFUS continues to contribute to world knowledge in areas of cardiovascular epidemiology and aging research.

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