Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging

This study is currently recruiting participants. (see Contacts and Locations)
Verified January 2014 by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Institute on Aging (NIA) ) Identifier:
First received: October 3, 2005
Last updated: June 6, 2014
Last verified: January 2014


- The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) is a clinical research program on human aging that began in 1958. Volunteers of different ages join the study when they are healthy, and have follow-up visits for life. Visits last for multiple days. Participants are evaluated for many physical elements as well as for brain function. Physical tests are given. Information on mood, personality, and social aspects of life is also collected. This program has contributed more than any other research project to our understanding of aging.


- To characterize the many aspects of the aging process and learn how people can successfully adapt to aging.


- Healthy individuals at least 20 years old.


  • Participants will receive a booklet and video describing the tests they will take.
  • During a 3-day visit at the study hospital, participants will take the following tests:
  • Urine will be collected for 24 hours. Blood samples will be taken. A small piece of muscle tissue may be collected by a needle.
  • A medical questionnaire and a physical exam will be given.
  • Participants hearts will be tested, including with blood pressure tests and electronic monitors. They will breathe into a tube to test their lungs.
  • Participants will perform several exercises, including treadmill walking.
  • Vision, hearing, and taste will be tested.
  • Bone and joint X-rays may be taken.
  • Imaging tests will be given, such as an MRI.
  • Participants will answer questions to test their mental abilities.
  • Participants will return for follow-up visits every few years for life. The tests listed above will be given at every visit.


Study Type: Observational
Official Title: Longitudinal Studies of Human Physiology, Biochemistry, and Psychology (The Baltimore Longitudinal Syudy of Aging - BLSA)

Further study details as provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Identify differences in health and functional status that cannot be attributed to disease among different individuals. [ Time Frame: ongoing ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Estimated Enrollment: 10000
Study Start Date: January 2003
Detailed Description:

The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) is the NIA s major clinical research program in human aging that has been conducted in Baltimore since 1958. The study population is a series of healthy volunteers of different ages followed indefinitely with serial evaluations over time. The major aim of the study is to characterize the aging process in its multifaceted aspects. To accomplish this task, a large cohort of volunteers dispersed over a wide age range are enrolled in the study when they are healthy, and then followed with regular follow-up visits for life. Since the aging process involves the whole range of physiological domains, participants receive an extensive evaluation of physiological parameters, biomarkers, risk factors, disease-related measures, impairments, and physical and cognitive function over follow-up visits that last for multiple days. Blood samples and other specimens are collected to obtain part of these measures and/or to be stored for future use. Information on mood, personality, psychological and social aspects of life that are relevant to the study of aging is also collected. Information collected in the BLSA represents a unique source of longitudinal data on aging. Historically the BLSA has contributed more than any other research project to our understanding of aging. More recently, the BLSA has begun to focus on factors associated with exceptionally healthy aging.


Ages Eligible for Study:   20 Years and older
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
  • 20 years old or older
  • In good health
  • No established genetic diseases
  • Able to perform self-care and instrumental activities of daily living without difficulties or need for help-Able to walk independently for at least 400 meters without using assistive devices
  • No shortness of breath while performing normal activities of daily living
  • No substantial cognitive impairment based on mental status screening tests
  • No history of cardiovascular disease (including angina, myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, cerebro-vascular diseases but not controlled hypertension)
  • No diabetes (requiring any medical treatment other than diet and exercise)
  • No active cancer (except for locally limited basal cell cancer)
  • No metabolic disease
  • No Severe hormonal dysfunctions (requiring supplementation or chronic drug treatment)
  • No neurological diseases
  • No birth defects (other than minor anatomical abnormalities which do not affect physical and/or cognitive function)
  • No kidney or liver disease (associated with reduced kidney or liver function)
  • No severe gastrointestinal (GI) diseases
  • No muscleskeletal conditions due to diseases or traumas (if they cause pathological weakness and/or chronic pain or so severe that they require chronic treatment)
  • No severe psychiatric conditions (associated with behavioral problems or requiring chronic medical treatment)
  • No medical condition that requires absolute and continuous need for long term treatment with antibiotics, corticosteroids, immunosuppressors, H2 blockers or pain medications
  • No important sensory deficits (e.g. legally blind and/or any condition that precludes them from being tested with standard neuropsychological tests or providing informed consent


  • HIV virus infection
  • Hepatitis B or C
  • Syphilis
  • WBC > 12,000/mcrL;
  • Platelets < 100,000 or > 600,000 /mcrL;
  • Hemoglobin < 11 g/dL;
  • Creatinine > 1.5 mg/dl or calculated creatinine clearance < 50 cc/min;
  • Bilirubin > 1.5 mg/dl unless higher levels can be ascribed to Gilbert s disease;
  • SGOT, SGPT or alkaline phosphatase twice the normal serum concentration;
  • Corrected calcium < 8.5 or > 10.7 mg/dl; k) Albumin < 3.4 g/dl).,
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00233272

Contact: Linda M Zukley, R.N. (863) 259-9119
Contact: Stephanie A Studenski, M.D. (410) 350-3964

United States, Maryland
National Institute of Aging, Clinical Research Unit Recruiting
Baltimore, Maryland, United States, 21224
Contact: NIA Studies Recruitment    410-350-3941   
Sponsors and Collaborators
Principal Investigator: Stephanie A Studenski, M.D. National Institute on Aging (NIA)
  More Information