Finnish Sample Collections

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The National FINRISK Study (BRIF 1640)

The FINRISK cohorts comprise the respondents of representative, cross-sectional population surveys that are carried out every 5 years since 1972, to assess the risk factors of chronic diseases (e.g. CVD, diabetes, obesity, cancer) and health behavior in the working age population, in 3-5 large study areas of Finland. DNA samples were collected in the following survey years: 1987, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007, and 2012. The MONICA and EHES (EU) procedures were applied in phenotype collection (cf. MORGAM) and a wide spectrum of laboratory tests was carried out from serum and plasma samples. Background information on socioeconomic status, medical history, diet, exercise, measured anthropometric measures, etc. was collected by questionnaires and during a clinical visit. Plasma/serum samples are still available for the 2002-2012 cohorts. The cohort sizes are 6000-8800 per survey. The cohorts have been followed up by linking them to the national hospital discharge register, causes-of-death register and cancer register. Genome-wide SNP data and sequence data is available for several subsets of FINRISK participants (see GWAS Table).

You can apply to access FINRISK samples and/or data through THL Biobank.

Link to homepage

Link to THL Biobank

THL – The National Institute for Health and Welfare
Principal Investigators:
Erkki Vartiainen, firstname.lastname (at)
Veikko Salomaa, firstname.lastname (at)
Contact person:
Satu Männistö, firstname.lastname (at)

Key references:
Forty-year trends in cardiovascular risk factors in Finland. Borodulin K, Vartiainen E, Peltonen M, Jousilahti P, Juolevi A, Laatikainen T, Männistö S, Salomaa V, Sundvall J, Puska P. European Journal of Public Health, 1-8 (Advance Access published Nov 24, 2014)

Read article

Thirty-five-year trends in cardiovascular risk factors in Finland. Vartiainen E, Laatikainen T,
Peltonen M, Juolevi A, Männistö S, Sundvall J, Jousilahti P, Salomaa V, Valsta L, Puska P. Int
J Epidemiol. 2010 Apr;39(2):504-18

FINRISK 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007, 2012 (1972-): Detailed information


FINRISK studies get their roots from the North Karelia project, initiated in the early 1970’s. Nowadays they are carried at 5 year intervals and designed to assess the levels of coronary risk factors in random population samples in different geographical areas of Finland. The study design is a cross-sectional population survey stratified to contain at least 250 subjects of each sex and 10 year age group (25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, and 65-74 years of age) from each area. All participants are clinically screened for assessment of the most established environmental cardiovascular risk factors and fill out a questionnaire. The protocols are the same as those established by the MONICA and EHES projects. The projects are routinely fol­lowed by linking them to registry data (almost annually).

Study protocol

The study individuals were invited for 2-hour clinical ex­amination and series of interviews, performed by nurses. Questionnaires were filled before this visit and overviewed by a study nurse at visit. The study protocol is submitted for review boards before each 5-year study. All participants give written informed consent, and the studies are ap­proved by the institutional review board of the Helsinki University Hospi­tal, Helsinki, Finland (previously studies also approved by the institutional review board of the National Public Health Institute).

Questionnaire and Interview data

Main topics of questionnaire data have been: Detailed dietary questions, marital status, education, occupation, household income, myocardial infarction, stroke or cerebral hemor­rhage, blood pressure, cardiac insufficiency, effort angina (angina pectoris), cancer, asthma, pulmonary emphysema, bronchitis, chronic bronchial catarrh, gallstones, gall blad­der inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, other disease of the joints, degenerative arthritis of the back, other illness of the back, chronic urethritis, inflammation of the kidneys, high blood cholesterol level, high blood pressure, medication, parental CVD, diabetes, phlegm cough, work and leisure time exercise, smoking, weight gain, alcohol.

Clinical and laboratory measurements; reserve sampling

Each study participant donated blood for both first-line laboratory measurements and for further analyses.

First-line analyses from all: joint status, height, weight, waist-hip ratio, pulse, blood pressure, cholesterol, HDL, triglycerides, and GGT.

In addition to this, several subcohorts have been formed with more detailed phenotyping and sampling. The target phenotypes for these subcohorts vary for each survey. For example:
1992: PAIS subcohort (several biochemical measure­ments assessing thrombosis and inflammation)
1992-2012: Findiet studies (detailed assessment of dietary habits by diaries or interviews, about 2000 participants)
2007: DILGOM and D2D (oral glucose tolerance test, bioimpedance, detailed dietary habits, >5000 participants)
2014: DILGOM follow-up (visit homepage - in Finnish)

DNA samples have been collected from the 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007 and 2012 cohorts, and partially from the 1987 cohort. Serum is still available for analyses from FR02, FR07, and FR12.

Registry links and data handling

Routinely: Hospital discharge register, Death Register, Cancer register, and register for specially reimbursed medicines. Data is stored electronically in a SAS data format.


Professor Erkki Vartiainen, National Insti­tute for Health and Welfare is the PI of the study. Other key persons for the project are Markku Peltonen, Katja Borodulin, Satu Männistö, Veikko Salomaa, Tiina Laatikainen, Markus Perola and Pekka Jousilahti. The ex­tended study group has published hundreds of scientific publications about FINRISK cohorts and collaboration with outside academic institutes is very active.

More information

Each FINRISK study results and protocols are published in a book form (in Finnish, with a summary in English), of which the latest can be found from the internet. This very de­tailed description of the study protocols and findings can be found from