The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Designed the study: CF, JCR, CB, AV, AHC, SC, JA, PT, JFM, PFC. Field work and coordination of study: CF, CF2, AH, AP, JA, YC, MO, FC, RS. Draft the manuscript: CF, CF2. Wrote and revised the manuscript critically: CF, JCR, CB, AV, AHC, SC, CF2, JA, AH, AP, PT, YC, RDC, JK, MO, JFM, FC, RS, AFQ, MJK, PFC, SL. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Maule Cohort (MAUCO), a Chilean cohort study, seeks to analyze the natural history of chronic diseases in the agricultural county of Molina (40,000 inhabitants) in the Maule Region, Chile. Molina´s population is of particular interest because in the last few decades it changed from being undernourished to suffering excess caloric intake, and it currently has the highest national rates of cardiovascular diseases, stomach cancer and gallbladder cancer. Between 2009 and 2011 Molina´s poverty rate dropped from 24.1 % to 13.5 % (national average 20.4 %); in this period the county went from insufficient to almost complete basic sanitation. Despite these advances, chemical pollutants in the food and air are increasing. Thus, in Molina risk factors typical of both under-developed and developed countries coexist, generating a unique profile associated with inflammation, oxidative stress and chronic diseases.
MAUCO is the core project of the recently established Advanced Center for Chronic Diseases (ACCDiS), Universidad de Chile & Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. In this study, we are enrolling and following 10,000 adults aged 38 to 74 years over 10 years. All eligible Molina residents will be enrolled. Participants were identified through a household census. Consenting individuals answer an epidemiological survey exploring risk factors (psycho-social, pesticides, diet, alcohol, and physical activity), medical history and physical and cognitive conditions; provide fasting blood, urine, and saliva samples; receive an electrocardiogram, abdominal ultrasound and bio-impedance test; and take a hand-grip strength test. These subjects will be re-interviewed after 2, 5 and 7 years. Active surveillance of health events is in place throughout the regional healthcare system. The MAUCO Bio-Bank will store 30 to 50 aliquots per subject using an NIH/NCI biorepository system for secure and anonymous linkage of samples with data.
MAUCO´s results will help design public health interventions tailored to agricultural populations in Latin America.