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New Study Seeks to Prevent Childhood Disease

This week marks the beginning of the National Children’s Study, which seeks to find the preventable causes of common childhood diseases by recruiting new mothers-to-be and tracking 100,000 children from conception to age 21. Specifically the study seeks to focus on environmental influences on health and development, with the hopes that life-saving breakthroughs may be discovered.

Recruitment efforts have just begun in New York and North Carolina, but the study has been in planning stages for nearly a decade. According to the study’s official website:

By studying children through their different phases of growth and development, researchers will be better able to understand the role of these environmental factors on health and disease. The Study will also allow scientists to find the differences that exist between groups of people, in terms of their health, health care access, disease occurrence, and other issues, so that these differences or disparities can be addressed.

The National Children’s Study will be one of the richest research efforts geared towards studying children’s health and development and will form the basis of child health guidance, interventions, and policy for generations to come. It is anticipated that the preliminary results from the first years of the Study will be available in 2011.

Although the study itself will require a minimum of 21 years to complete, the website promises that results will be made available as the effort progresses. “As the children enrolled in the Study reach certain developmental milestones, the National Children’s Study will release its findings on these milestones.” Among other things, the researchers hope to find answers to such perplexing questions as:

Can very early exposure to some allergens actually help children remain asthma-free?

How do genes and the environment interact to promote or prevent violent behavior in teenagers?

Are lack of exercise and poor diet the only reasons why many children are overweight?

Do infections impact developmental progress, asthma, obesity, and heart disease?

How do city and neighborhood planning and construction encourage or discourage injuries?

To learn more about the National Children’s Study, please visit the official website:



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