About The PERSIAN Cohort

The Prospective Epidemiological Research Studies in IrAN (PERSIAN) is a nationwide cohort study launched in the year 2014 in an attempt to encourage research in the fields of medicine, epidemiology, health, and nutrition. PERSIAN has empowered medical schools around the country with the necessary resources to take part in the study, in order to identify the risk factors related to the most prevalent chronic diseases in Iran, with the ultimate goal to reform the health system and enhance the health of Iranians, while contributing to the world’s medical knowledge.

Although the name PERSIAN Cohort mainly refers to the most extensive adult component, birth, youth and elderly components are also simultaneously being carried out in different parts of Iran. The PERSIAN Birth Cohort involves pregnant women and their newborn infants to investigate the relationship between genetic, environmental and social factors on human development, while the PERSIAN Youth Cohort focuses on psychiatric disorders and substance abuse. The PERSIAN Elderly Cohort, the so far smallest component, studies the aging process. (Learn more about the PERSIAN Birth, Youth and Elderly Cohorts under the Parallel Studies tab.)


PERSIAN Cohort is a prospective study aiming to include 170,000 men and women throughout Iran. Originally intended to be carried out in 10 geographically distinct areas, the PERSIAN Cohort has now stretched to 17 regions of Iran, chosen based on local disease patterns, exposure to certain risk factors, population stability causes of death, local commitment and capacity. All individuals 35-70 years of age in the selected sites are recruited and those who agree to participate will be included in the study. 

PERSIAN Objectives and Outcomes of Interest

The health-oriented and research-oriented objectives of the PERSIAN Cohort are divided into two categories as followed:

Research and Public Health Objectives:

  1. To determine incidence/ incidence rates of different non-communicable diseases or outcomes
  2. To estimate the risk and protective factors of non-communicable diseases in a representative sample of middle aged Iranian population
  3. To determine all-cause mortality rates, as well as specific mortality rates of the leading causes of death
  4. To evaluate the relationship between genetic, life style / socioeconomic status and environmental risk factors and the most important non-communicable diseases by case cohort and nested case control designs that will be implemented on the cohort infrastructures
  5. To evaluate time trends of lifestyle and environmental factors and the outcomes of interest in the different cohort sites of Iran
  6. To assess the relationship between genetic markers and NCDs and comparing them among the different Iranian ethnic groups
  7. To evaluate the effectiveness of the most relevant interventions, and to explore the effectiveness of novel interventions, for reducing important non-communicable outcomes through community interventional trials that will be implemented on the population subsets

Health System Research objectives:

  1. To design/improve and optimize different Health Information Systems such as a Cancer Registry, Death Registry, Hospital Information System, etc.
  2. To improve the quality of health care services
  3. To build a population-based research infrastructure for medical universities and to disseminate the concept of “Health System Research” in medical education
  4. To enhance national collaborations between medical universities and health research institutes for joint medical and epidemiological research projects
  5. To establish the largest biobank in Iran for basic and genetic scientific research and discovery of biomarkers and other biological determinants of disease
  6. To establish a practical field for research and training of medical students, residents, and fellows
  7. To enhance international collaborations with recognized medical universities and research institutions in order to plan joint projects, and train students and young researchers

Outcomes of Interest

  1. Deaths by cause
  2. Incidence of major non-communicable diseases including cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and chronic digestive, respiratory, renal, hepatic, and neurological diseases
  3. Trends in major risk factors including anthropometric, physiological, life style, and environmental factors

Data and Specimen Collection

Questionnaires and Physical Examinations

As part of the data gathering for the PERSIAN Cohort, a comprehensive interviewer-administered electronic questionnaire consisting of 3 major sections—General, Medical and Nutrition—has been developed, encompassing many different aspects of an individual’s life, which may have an impact on their health status. In addition to the questionnaires, a physical examination is performed and pulse, blood pressure and anthropometric measurements are also recorded.

Data is gathered at each location using a pre-designed software and pooled into a Central Data Bank. Topics covered in the PERSIAN Cohort questionnaire are as followed:

General Questionnaire

  • Demographics
  • Socioeconomic Status
  • Lifestyle Factors
  • Occupational History
  • Physical Activity
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Mobile Use
  • Pesticide Use

Medical Questionnaire

  • Past Medical History
  • Medicine Use (Past and Present)
  • Family Medical History
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology History (Women)
  • Oral Health
  • Personal Habits (Drugs and Alcohol)

Nutrition Questionnaire

  • Food Frequency Questionnaire
  • Dietary Habits
  • Water Use
  • Supplements

Biological Samples

Blood, hair, and urine samples are collected from participants at the initial data gathering and stored in a biobank. Read more about the PERSIAN Cohort Biobank

Funding and Governance

The PERSIAN Cohort is governed by a Central Committee, led by Dr. Reza Malekzadeh, the Deputy of Technology and Research at the Ministry of Health and Medical Education (MOHME). In addition, principle investigators (PIs) from each university also govern their own site. While the MOHME provided the necessary funds to set the cohort infrastructure at the cohort sites, each university is responsible for their funding, with some support from the MOHME.


Contact us

PERSIAN Cohort Central Committee

Address: Digestive Diseases Research Institute, Kargare Shomali Ave. Tehran, I.R. Iran, 14117-13135

Phone: +98-21-82415238
Fax: +98-21-82415400
E-mail: info@persiancohort.com

Data Visualization
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Prospective Epidemiological Research Studies in IrAN (PERSIAN Cohort)