The CHILD Cohort Study is discovering root causes of allergies, asthma and chronic disease

The CHILD Cohort Study is discovering root causes of allergies, asthma and chronic disease


Imagine a world where allergies, asthma
and chronic illness are rare, treatable conditions. Better yet, imagine
a world where these conditions can be prevented before they develop. 3500 Canadian children and their
families are helping to make that world a reality by taking part in a ground-breaking birth
cohort study called the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development, or CHILD, Study. This is one of the
largest studies in the world to look in depth at how genes and the
environment interact to cause allergies, asthma and other chronic
diseases. Launched in 2008 with funding from AllerGen – The Allergy, Genes and
Environment Network – and the Canadian Institutes of Health
Research, the CHILD Study has recruited pregnant mothers and their families,
carefully studying them until the children are at least five years old. Researchers are looking at the effects
of outdoor air pollution, dust, chemicals and pets inside the home, as well as moms’ and babies’ diets, stress and antibiotic use. This involves
testing drops of the baby’s blood and taking samples from dirty diapers.
Environment Canada is partnering with the study to better understand the impact of
traffic pollution on the development of allergies and asthma, and Health Canada is testing urine
samples to measure levels of phthalates – a harmful chemical found in soft plastic. Research is still underway and by 2017 the CHILD Study will have collected more
than 500,000 questionnaires and over 600,000 biological samples that will be available to scientists for
decades. So, what has the CHILD Study discovered so far? Research is showing that pregnancy, birth and the first one hundred days
of a baby’s life are critical to health and well-being. By
just three to four months of age, almost all Canadian children have been
exposed to at least one phthalate. Babies living in areas with higher exposure to air
pollution have higher risk of developing allergies,
as detected by skin testing at one year of age. Babies born by caesarean section have
lower levels of important gut microbes compared to babies born by regular
delivery; however, at 12 months this difference is reduced
if babies are breastfed. What’s more, breastfed babies have been
shown to have a reduced risk of childhood obesity. Now that the oldest children in the
CHILD Study are five and the youngest have celebrated their
second birthday, researchers are analyzing the data to find out what factors relate to health
and disease outcomes. They are confident that their findings
will influence public policy, parenting decisions, purchasing behaviors, and even urban planning – all designed to keep us
healthier in a world where allergies and asthma
become much less common. Of course, there is still much work to do. Today, three million Canadians suffer
from asthma. One in three Canadians is directly
affected by allergic disease, and fifty percent of all Canadian
households are directly or indirectly affected by food allergies. These numbers are on the rise and the
CHILD Study, with its thirty-five hundred families, will help us find out why – for this
generation and the ones to follow. and

0 Replies to “The CHILD Cohort Study is discovering root causes of allergies, asthma and chronic disease”

  1. Hi there,
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    Have a nice day !

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