We describe the prevalence of chronic diseases and conditions in a large cohort of twins, which has been developed to facilitate studies of the role of genetics and environment in the development of disease. The California Twin Program (CTP) comprises twins born in California between 1908 and 1982. Birth records from all multiple births (256,616 in total) were linked (multiple times between 1990 and 2001) with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) roster of licensees to obtain address information. The linkages have revealed 161,109 matches and, because of less complete DMV records in some years, were less successful in older females than in all others. To date over 51,000 of these twins have completed a detailed 16-page mailed risk factor questionnaire. Based on estimates of numbers of individuals receiving a questionnaire, our crude response rates are as high as 63.6% (among females currently in their 50s), with an overall crude response rate of 37.9%. Similar to our previous report regarding the first 42,000 twins, the current group who have completed the questionnaire are representative of the population from which they were drawn (in terms of age, sex, race and residential distribution). Self-reported disease frequencies are provided, along with current estimates of future cancer incidence and mortality rates likely to be observed in the group. We outline our plans for cohort expansion, additional studies using the cohort, and future plans for inviting collaboration.
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