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COHRA1 Cohort Study

CORHA I Recruitment Sites

The first COHRA Study was a collaborative initiative between Investigators at the University of Pittsburgh and West Virginia University to characterize the oral health of families living in underserved populations in West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania.  From 2002-2009, a cohort of individuals in 700 households from rural West Virginia, rural Bradford and Burgettstown, PA, and urban Braddock, PA, who had at least one child between the ages of 1 and 18, participated in the COHRA1 Cohort Study.  Study assessments included: several demographic, general-health, and oral-health interviews and standardized psychosocial questionnaires; a standard dental screening; collection of DNA and microbial samples; and collection of drinking water for analysis of fluoride content.


The COHRA1 Cohort Study was funded by the following National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIH/NIDCR) grants:

  • 1-R01 DE14899 & 3R01DE014899-07S1: “Genetic Factors contributing to oral health disparities in Appalachia”
  • 1-R01-DE 014889-03S1: “Psychosocial influences on rural children’s Oral Health”
  • 1-R01-DE 014889-04S1: “Oral Microbiology Studies in Appalachia”


Key findings* from the initial COHRA1 Cohort Study include:

  • Caries in children aged 2-5 years living in selected areas of Appalachia was 144% that of children in the Center for Disease Control’s 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)
  • High rates of untreated caries even with increased use of sealants
  • Dental fear and anxiety that may be transmitted across generations
  • Genetic samples collected from the COHRA1 study were instrumental in the first genome wide association study (GWAS) of any dental disease.  One publication from this GWAS received the 2013 IADR/AADR William J. Gies Award for Biological Research.

*Reference: McNeil, DW, Crout, RJ, Marazita, M L (2012). Oral health in Appalachia.  In R. L. Ludke & P.J. Obermiller (Eds.), Appalachian health and well being (pp.275-294).  Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, pp 275-294, 2012