Database tool for global health collaborations

As the big data revolution continues to evolve, access to data that cut across many disciplines becomes increasingly valuable. In the field of public health, data variables helps in order to properly conduct analyses.

Database tool for global health collaborationsThe Clinical Epidemiology Database, ClinEpiDB.org, aims to address these barriers by not only providing access to huge volumes of data, but also providing tools to help interpret complex global epidemiologic research studies.

The development of ClinEpiDB has been led by the University of Georgia’s Institute of Bioinformatics, University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts and Sciences and its Perelman School of Medicine, and the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Integrative Biology.

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The MAL-ED study was designed to help identify environmental exposures early in a child’s life that are associated with shortfalls in physical growth, cognitive development, and immunity.

The study characterizes gut function biomarkers on the causal pathway from environmental exposure to growth and development deficits and assesses diversity across geographic locations with respect to exposures and child health and development.

ClinEpiDB is also home to the Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS) which contains data from more than 22,000 children from seven sites in South Asia and Africa.

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The most recent ClinEpiDB release also contains data from GEMS1A, a continuation of the GEMS study that broadened its scope to include less-severe diarrheal episodes. The addition of MAL-ED adds to the growing resource of high-quality maternal and child global health data.

MAL-ED sites (located in Haydom, Tanzania; Limpopo, South Africa; Bhaktapur, Nepal; Naushero Feroze, Pakistan; Vellore, Bangladesh) allowed for comparisons to be made among and between children living in geographically and culturally diverse urban and rural environments and in countries at different levels of economic development.

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Future data releases will contain data for some children up to 5 years of age. ClinEpiDB allows users to walk through these data easily via an intuitive interface, enabling point-and-click filtering, simple queries and more complex “search strategies.”

ClinEpiDB will continue to grow and provide increased access to malaria and maternal and child health global datasets thus facilitating epidemiologic research in an open data environment while protecting patient identity.

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Ammara Khan
Author: Ammara Khan

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