Today in Douglas County the University of Colorado Denver kicked off the local recruitment phase for the National Children’s Study funded by the National Institutes on Health. The study is the largest long-term examination of environmental and genetic effects on children’s health ever conducted in the United States.
Women who are or may become pregnant in the next few years and who live in a study area within Douglas County may be eligible to participate. Information about study participation and eligibility criteria are available at www.coloradochildrensstudy.org. To contact study organizers at the University of Colorado Denver write to NCS.Co@ucdenver.edu.
Initially, participants will be asked to respond to questionnaires about the environment in which their children live, learn and play as well as their family health history. At a later date, participants may be asked to visit clinics at study centers, and asked to provide biological samples, such as blood and urine, as well as environmental samples, like tap water from their homes and house dust.
Nationally the study plans to enroll 100,000 children from 105 sites across the country.
As part of their work, researchers will gather genetic, biological, and environmental samples, and compile statistical information for study analyses investigating how genetic and environmental factors influence children’s health and disease.
NIH officials expect that the study will yield valuable health information throughout its 25-year span. Within just a few years, the study expects to provide information on disorders of pregnancy and birth. Since the women are being recruited before they give birth, the study is expected to provide insight into the causes and contributors of preterm birth. More than 500,000 premature infants are born each year in the United States. Infants born prematurely are at risk for early death and a variety of health problems, such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and learning disabilities. Health care costs for preterm infants total $26 billion per year.
“The National Children’s Study provides an outstanding opportunity for Douglas County families to contribute to the long-term health of America’s children. The study is unique because its size, longitudinal span, and broad scope will allow researchers to test hypotheses that would be impossible to assess in a shorter, smaller study,” said Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD, Principal Investigator and Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health. “These include hypotheses related to the role, timing and interaction of multiple exposures operating throughout the life-course that may hold clues to identifying preventive measures for health problems like asthma, obesity, diabetes, and autism”.
The study is being conducted locally through a partnership between the Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado School of Medicine, and Battelle Memorial Institute. Dr. Dabelea is joined by Drs. Richard Hamman and Carolyn DiGuiseppi in the Colorado School of Public Health, Drs. Stephen Daniels and Susan Johnson in the Department of Pediatrics, and Dr. Anne Lynch in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Researchers are partnering with numerous community-based organizations, health departments, delivery hospitals and local providers.