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Largest Ever National Children's Study to Begin

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Mother and daughter; Largest Ever National Children's Study to BeginMADISON - About 100,000 yet-to-be born children will be part of the largest study ever of the health of the American child.
 
After 10 years of planning, the National Children's Study will begin recruiting volunteers to take part in its comprehensive study of how genes and the environment interact to affect children's health.

At a briefing Tuesday, National Institutes of Health announced that the first phase of recruitment for the study is beginning in Duplin County, North Carolina, and Queens, New York.
 
The study will track the health and development of children from before birth through to their 21st birthday. The remaining five Vanguard Centers, including the Waukesha County Vanguard Center, will begin recruiting and enrolling women to participate in the study in April.
 
At the end of 18 months, each center is expected to have recruited a total of approximately 375 volunteers. The Waukesha Center is a collaborative project of the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health and the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and several other state and local agencies and institutions. 
 
"Large scale studies like this have the potential to yield insight into the development of conditions ranging from asthma to autism," said Maureen Durkin, a UW-Madison professor of Population Health and co-principal investigator for the Waukesha County site.  "Waukesha families will contribute to an understanding of childhood health problems and an understanding of how best to improve the health of American children." 
 
The large size and prospective nature of the study should yield information that smaller and more limited studies cannot. For example, because of the large number of individuals enrolled, the study has the capability to assess uncommon disorders, as well as how exposures to different environmental conditions and genetic factors may interact.

The National Children's Study was authorized by Congress in the Children's Health Act of 2000. In addition to the NICHD, other members of the consortium carrying out the study are the NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
 
When it is fully operational, the National Children's Study is expected to have roughly 40 study centers recruiting volunteers from 105 designated study locations throughout the U.S. The study locations are counties and clusters of counties chosen by National Children's Study researchers to be representative of children in the United States. 
 

Date Published: 04/30/2009

News tag(s):  children

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