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Although COPD has long been viewed as a predominantly smoking-related disease, there is increasing awareness that lifestyle and the environment contribute to the development of the disease already from early life, probably even before birth.

The Ageing Lungs in European Cohorts (ALEC Study) is a project funded by the European Commission’s framework programme Horizon 2020, which aimed to improve our understanding of risk factors for low lung function, respiratory disability and the development of chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD).

The ALEC project consortium investigated the trends in smoking behaviours and COPD incidence. It considered questions such as: How do lifestyles and behaviours of earlier generations impact the health of children? What factors influence lung function growth? What is the impact of early life risk factors and hormonal events on lung health and lung function decline? What are the effects of physical activity, obesity, outdoor and working environment and sleep?

ALEC results and risk prediction tool presented in London

The ALEC final results were presented in an event at the Imperial College of London on February 18th and 19th. The occasion also served to present the ALEC risk prediction tool.

The tool is accessible online where visitors can fill some personal data together with information on smoking behaviour and physical activity. Algorithm-based, the tool is able to measure one’s risk of developing COPD and how the probability can be reduced by quitting smoking. The tool is currently under fine-tuning but will soon be available.

More information and results are available on the project website https://www.alecstudy.org/