Using the Utah Population Database (UPDB) has helped University of Utah researcher Barbara Wirostko, M.D., to study the effects of genetics on the likelihood of being diagnosed with glaucoma.

Wirostko used the University of Utah Healthcare (UUHC) patient population and the UPDB to identify families with pseudoexfoliation (XFS), a systemic disease and a frequent cause of glaucoma, to further investigate the genetic underpinnings and epidemiology of XFS.

Using the UPDB, Wirostko and her colleagues identified the largest known set of high-risk XFS pedigrees. The set of 200 families supports a genetic inheritance of XFS and association with several comorbidities, including atrial fibrillation, hypertension, and other cardiovascular diseases.

Wirostko concluded the large number of high-risk XFS families provides a resource for further investigation of the genetics and epidemiology of XFS. The central component of the database that Wirostko used to carry out her work is an extensive set of Utah family histories, in which family members are linked to demographic and medical information. The database includes diagnostic records about cancer, cause of death, and medical details associated with births. It also includes claims data from statewide inpatient hospital discharge records as well as ambulatory surgery records from hospital outpatient departments and ambulatory surgery centers.

The database provides access to information on more than 7.3 million individuals and supports more than 100 research projects. This information can only be used for biomedical and health-related research.

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