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Cohort profile: The MULTI sTUdy Diabetes rEsearch (MULTITUDE) consortium
  1. Elizabeth C Pino1,2,
  2. Yi Zuo1,2,
  3. Camila Maciel De Olivera2,
  4. Shruthi Mahalingaiah3,4,5,
  5. Olivia Keiser6,
  6. Lynn L Moore2,
  7. Feng Li7,
  8. Ramachandran S Vasan8,9,10,
  9. Barbara E Corkey11,
  10. Bindu Kalesan1,2,12
  1. 1 Center for Clinical Translational Epidemiology and Comparative Effectiveness Research, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2 Department of Medicine, Section of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  3. 3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Boston University Medical Campus, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  4. 4 Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  5. 5 Department of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  6. 6 Institute of Global Health, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
  7. 7 School of Statistics and Mathematics, Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing, China
  8. 8 Framingham Heart Study, Boston University’s and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Framingham Heart Study, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  9. 9 Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  10. 10 Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  11. 11 Obesity Research Center, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  12. 12 Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Bindu Kalesan; kalesan{at}


Purpose Globally, the age-standardised prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) has nearly doubled from 1980 to 2014, rising from 4.7% to 8.5% with an estimated 422 million adults living with the chronic disease. The MULTI sTUdy Diabetes rEsearch (MULTITUDE) consortium was recently established to harmonise data from 17 independent cohort studies and clinical trials and to facilitate a better understanding of the determinants, risk factors and outcomes associated with T2DM.

Participants Participants range in age from 3 to 88 years at baseline, including both individuals with and without T2DM. MULTITUDE is an individual-level pooled database of demographics, comorbidities, relevant medications, clinical laboratory values, cardiac health measures, and T2DM-associated events and outcomes across 45 US states and the District of Columbia.

Findings to date Among the 135 156 ongoing participants included in the consortium, almost 25% (33 421) were diagnosed with T2DM at baseline. The average age of the participants was 54.3, while the average age of participants with diabetes was 64.2. Men (55.3%) and women (44.6%) were almost equally represented across the consortium. Non-whites accounted for 31.6% of the total participants and 40% of those diagnosed with T2DM. Fewer individuals with diabetes reported being regular smokers than their non-diabetic counterparts (40.3% vs 47.4%). Over 85% of those with diabetes were reported as either overweight or obese at baseline, compared with 60.7% of those without T2DM. We observed differences in all-cause mortality, overall and by T2DM status, between cohorts.

Future plans Given the wide variation in demographics and all-cause mortality in the cohorts, MULTITUDE consortium will be a unique resource for conducting research to determine: differences in the incidence and progression of T2DM; sequence of events or biomarkers prior to T2DM diagnosis; disease progression from T2DM to disease-related outcomes, complications and premature mortality; and to assess race/ethnicity differences in the above associations.

  • cardiac epidemiology
  • epidemiology
  • preventive medicine

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • ECP and YZ contributed equally.

  • Contributors YZ, ECP and BK obtained the data. YZ performed the analysis. ECP drafted the manuscript. ECP, YZ, CMDO, SM, OK, LLM, FL, VSR, BEC and BK approved the manuscript, made significant contributions to the study and have read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The Evans Research Foundation at Boston University School of Medicine provided funding for the study. BK, ECP and YZ are supported by Evans Research Foundation. SM is supported by the Reproductive Scientist Development Grant (K12 HD000849); BEC is supported by the Boston Nutrition Obesity Research Center NIH Grant (P30 DK46200). OK is funded by a professorship grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation (no: 163878). FL is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 11501587)

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval Boston University IRB.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Details regarding access to the MULTITUDE consortium data for research purposes are available on our website. We are unable to redistribute the data due to data use agreement restrictions. However, all the individual cohorts are available on BioLINCC. Enquiries regarding use of the MULTITUDE consortium for specific research studies are welcomed in the form of a project request. For further information, please contact Bindu Kalesan at the Center for Clinical Translational Epidemiology and Comparative Effectiveness Research, Boston University School of Medicine (

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