The South Korean health authorities released Wednesday a massive amount of medical information to the public to boost research into health and genetics, officials said.
State-run Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it would provide health data on about 210,000 Koreans that it has been tracking since 2001 for research purposes. The information includes data on health conditions, daily habits, blood and urine information and family history. Personal data has been excluded from the release.
“(We) are hoping that the data stimulates health studies and research for better public health, and ultimately raises the national competitiveness by producing added value of information,” said a KCDCP official.
The information was collected as part of the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study, a public cohort project that was started to search for genetic and environmental factors of common diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and hyperlipidemia. The project has recorded the health information of citizens over the age of 40 since 2001.
Started in Anseong and Ansan, Gyeonggi Province, the project gradually expanded to rural and urban communities across the country.
As of late last year, a total of 240,000 people participated in surveys, clinical examinations and medical checkups for the project.
Currently, seven cohort sub-projects are being conducted at 30 large medical institutions.
Researchers seeking to access to the information may request it online at www.cdc.go.kr. The health authorities will review the application and determine whether to provide the data, officials said.
By Lee Hyun-jeong (firstname.lastname@example.org)