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VA Cooperative Studies Program (CSP)

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CSP# 710: VA Normative Aging Study (NAS)


Investigator Access

What's Available

Research data

Available Documentation 

Data dictionary1(HTML format) 

Dates Data are Available 

Currently available, no end date

Access Criteria

Access to research data and biospecimens is by request to the principal investigators and is considered on a case-by-case basis. Contact Dr. Pantel Vokonas ( or Dr. Avron Spiro ( for details. 

Study Characteristics


  • To characterize the biomedical and psychosocial parameters of normal aging as distinct from the development of disease
  • To define the incidence and precursors of the diseases accompanying aging
  • To examine the influence of lifestyle and major life events on the aging process

Era of Service

Veterans serving in any era were eligible to participate (most from World War II). Over 96% of the cohort were Veterans


Men who enrolled between 1961 and 1970 in the greater Boston area, aged 21 to 81 years at study entry, and free of known chronic medical conditions at enrollment.

Study Design 

Prospective cohort

Time Period 

1963 - present (data collected every three years)


Greater Boston, Massachusetts area


2,280 participants

Response Rate


Recruitment Method    

Participants were recruited through large companies with a stable workforce, including a large insurance company, the post office, and metropolitan police and fire departments, and from radio and newspaper advertisements.



Data Collected

  • Demographics
  • Family life
  • Geographic stability
  • Biospecimens (blood and urine)
  • Biomedical assessments (e.g., electrocardiogram, pulmonary function assessment, medical history and physical exam, chest and hand X-rays, anthropometric exam and eye and ear exams)
  • Psychosocial variables (e.g., mental health, stress and coping)
  • Health behaviors (e.g., alcohol and tobacco use, diet)
  • Functional status and well-being
  • Health care use, attitudes, and insurance

Data Collection Methods

  • Mailed surveys
  • Semi-structured interviews
  • Physical examinations
  • Laboratory tests

Funding Source

VA Cooperative Studies Program (CSP)


Dr. Avron Spiro


Selected Publications 

Bell B, Rose CL, Damon A. The Normative Aging Study: An interdisciplinary and longitudinal study of health and aging.1 Aging and Human Development. 1972;3:6-17.

Rahilly-Tierney C, Vokonas P, Gaziano JM, Spiro A 3rd. Lifestyle change and high-density lipoprotein change: the US Department of Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study. Clin Cardiol. 2012;35(7):437-42.

Kim D, Kubzansky LD, Baccarelli A, Sparrow D, Spiro A 3rd, Tarantini L, Cantone L, Vokonas P, Schwartz J. Psychological factors and DNA methylation of genes related to immune/inflammatory system markers: the VA Normative Aging Study. BMJ Open. 2016 Jan 5;6(1):e009790.

Mehta AJ, Zanobetti A, Bind MA, Kloog I, Koutrakis P, Sparrow D, Vokonas PS, Schwartz JD. Long-Term exposure to ambient fine particulate matter and renal function in older men: the Veterans Administration Normative Aging Study. Environ Health Perspect. 2016;124(9):1353-60.

(Over 500 publications available)

More Information

Study website1 

1 This link takes you to a non-U.S. government website. VA isn't responsible for the content or privacy policies on that site and doesn't endorse the content or its sponsor.