On October 27, 2010, the Anschutz Medical campus kicked off one of the largest children’s health studies conducted anywhere in the world. Partnering with the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health and funded by the National Institutes of Health, the study will follow children from before birth through the age of 21. The study will include 100,000 participants and last 25 years.
The study will follow children from 105 locations and will evaluate the effect of environment and genetics on children’s health. Over the next five years, the funding will provide $13.5 million for the local study, which will take place at the Anschutz Medical campus. Dana Dabelea, with the Colorado School of Public Health, will act as the lead investigator for the study. She reported this will be the first study of its kind.
What is unique about the study is that it will consider a variety of environmental factors, such as the diets for children, the quality of air and water, and the care they receive from caregivers. In other words, the study will evaluate the effect of biochemical and social environments on health.
The study will begin recruiting for women in the Douglas County area of Colorado who are or may become pregnant in the next few years. The Battelle Memorial Institute will be helping the study recruit volunteers. In the first stage, participants will spend time answering questions to help researchers get a baseline for the study. The questions will seek information on the home environment women have or plan to have for their babies.
To help track the home environment, the participants may need to bring samples of things from home, such as dust or tap water samples. Researchers may also take samples of blood and urine from participants. While the study will last 25 years, the team expects to begin using the information within the first five years of the project.