SHARE - The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe: experience of a single group using this open access database
Marta Almada, Luís Midão - UCIBIO, REQUIMTE, Porto4Ageing, Faculty of Pharmacy University of Porto, Diana Portela - ACES Feira Aroucaand Elísio Costa - UCIBIO, REQUIMTE, Porto4Ageing, Faculty of Pharmacy University of Porto
Currently, healthcare and life sciences ecosystems are moving towards an open data approach. This evolving paradigm is based on an interplay of clinical and population databases that are shared to encourage universal participation, interoperability of databases and to push forward research and innovation. SHARE is a database on health, socio-economic status and social networks that covers 27 European countries, with data of about 140,000 individuals aged 50+, representing a great source of open data to research community.
Our group has a wide experience using SHARE. We have recently reported the overall prevalence of frailty (7.7%)1, polypharmacy (36.1%)2, difficulty in medication intake (2.1%)3, and physical inactivity (12.5%)4and its associated variables. These prevalences were unequal across Europe. We also reported a prevalence of cognitive impairment of 28.02% for perceived memory, 27.89% for verbal fluency and 20.75% for numeracy, and an association between low cognitive function and cardiovascular risk factors5. By identifying a broad spectrum of variables related to specific conditions and understanding patterns about European health status, useful large-scale interventions can be developed.
SHARE database has some limitations: it is self-reported and people with more disabilities might not have been included. Nevertheless, it is a source of free data and a sample of elderly European population. Therefore, it allows us, research community, to find answers to the societal challenges that we face due to demographic transition, to make suggestions for stakeholders and to search for tailored-interventions in older community-dwelling promoting an active ageing and well-being, in a low-cost and fast way.