Rancho Bernardo Study

The Rancho Bernardo Study (RBS) is a prospective population-based study of older adult residents of a suburban Southern California community. The RBS cohort was established in 1972 by Dr. Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, when close to 10,000 residents of a geographically defined community were recruited. The cohort of 6,629 residents (almost all 30 years and older) enrolled was quite homogenous - almost entirely Caucasian and most subjects were white-collar workers with at least a college education. Participants were followed by annual mailed questionnaires and returned for research clinic visits approximately every four years. Now forty years later, more than 1,800 participants are still followed and the database serves as a rich repository of data from which researchers use to answer important epidemiological questions across many fields of medicine. Our group initiated liver epidemiology work in this cohort and we have now phenotyped participants whether they have fatty liver or not based upon their liver to spleen ratio in the CT scan that were performed for assessing coronary calcification. We looked at these CT scans and immediately recognized that many of these scans had slices of liver and spleen in them and we quickly jumped on this opportunity. This research is partly funded by the American Gastroenterology Association to Dr. Loomba.


1. Loomba R, Bettencourt R, Barrett-Connor E. Synergistic association between alcohol intake and body mass index with serum alanine and aspartate aminotransferase levels in older adults: The Rancho Bernardo study. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2009; 30(11-12): 1137-1149.

2. Dong MH, Bettencourt R, Barrett-Connor E, Loomba R. Alanine aminotransferase decreases with age: The Rancho Bernardo study. PLoS One 2010; 5(12): e14254.

3. Dong MH, Bettencourt R, Brenner DA, Barrett-Connor E, Loomba R. Serum levels of alanine aminotransferase decrease with age in longitudinal analysis. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2011.

4. Poster presentation at DDW 2011, “Association Between Serum Bilirubin and Mortality in Older Adults: The Rancho Bernardo Study.” Boland B, Bettencourt R, Brenner DA, Barrett-Connor E, and Loomba R.

5. Poster presentation at DDW meetings 2010, “Synergistic effect of obesity and alcohol on risk of hepatocellular carcinoma: a prospective cohort study.” Loomba R, Yang YI, Su J, Brenner DA, Barrett-Connor E, and Chen CJ.

6. Poster presentation at DDW meetings 2009, “Serum γ-glutamyl transpeptidase independently predicts mortality in older adults: The Rancho Bernardo Study.” Rohit Loomba, Ricki Bettencourt, David Brenner and Elizabeth Barrett-Connor.

7. Poster presentation at AASLD meetings 2008, “Sex-specific association between alcohol intake, body size and serum aminotransferase levels: The Rancho Bernardo Study.” Rohit Loomba, Ricki Bettencourt, and Elizabeth Barrett-Connor.