The Velestino Study

The Velestino Study is a cohort study conducted in Velestino, a town of around 4,000 inhabitants in central Greece. The target group of this study consisted of individuals older than 60 years of age. Information was collected in two periods, the first being from April to August 2000 and the second from January 2005 to May 2006. Additionally, survival data have been collected from April 2000 to April 2010. The second period study data are currently being processed.

The primary aim of this study is to seek in people older than 60 years of age the relation between diet components – especially folate and vitamin B12 - and (a) depression and (b) cognitive impairment. Furthermore the correlation between depression and cognitive impairment and other possible risk factors will be investigated.

Attempts were made to contact all the individuals of the target group through house visits, visits to senior day centers, and contact with hospital administrators and practicing physicians. The first period study sample comprised of 608 persons and the second period of 760 out of the 850 inhabitants over 60 years old, after the exclusion of individuals that were not met the protocol criteria.

The interview of both study periods covered sociodemographic characteristics (age, sex, marital status, education level etc.), anthropometric characteristics (height, weight in the present and in the past) and medical history (chronic diseases and medication use). They also included an assessment of the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-15) and the Mini Mental Scale Examination (MMSE), both being translated into Greek and validated in a Greek population by previous researchers.

The second period study included additional data on stressful events history, data on lifestyle and health related habits, like autonomy status, smoking and time spent outdoors, as well as the assessment of a suicidal ideation scale and a Food Frequency Questionnaire. Blood and saliva samples have also been collected for the participants of the second period study.