CHILD will provide a greater understanding of the root causes of allergy and asthma including genetic and environmental triggers and the ways in which they interact.
Why some children develop asthma, and others do not, remains uncertain. Genetics plays a role, as a family history of allergy and asthma increases the risk. However many children with a family history do not develop asthma, while many children with asthma have no family history. A leading theory is that allergy and asthma result from the combined influences of genes and the environment. Allergy is very important in determining whether childhood asthma continues into adult life, and how severe it is. Some environmental exposures in early life increase the risk of allergy, but other exposures appear to be protective. The balance between protective and harmful environmental exposures, and their timing, may change the way that genes affect the likelihood of getting asthma, and exploring this idea is the main goal of this research project.
The CHILD Study has asked questions about environment from pregnancy through childhood, and made home inspections collecting house dust for measurements including allergens and mold. We also have information on outdoor air exposures, and detailed dietary information for mother and baby, as well as many blood, urine, and nasal samples. We will study whether these exposures increase or decrease the risk of development of allergies and asthma, to determine why children at different levels of genetic risk develop these conditions while others do not. Our ultimate goal is to identify strategies which will reduce the number of children who go on to develop life-long respiratory disorders.
This knowledge will translate directly into significant and measurable social and economic benefits for Canada.
CHILD will have a direct impact on public health-based prevention strategies for:
- asthma and allergic diseases; environmental exposure regulations and policies;
- safe home product standards and regulations;
- food safety regulations and policies;
- urban planning and home design;
- maternal-child health;
- prenatal care (diet, nutrition) guidelines;
- pediatric allergy and asthma guidelines; and,
- novel therapeutic targets for drug discovery and exposure modulation.
The CHILD Study has recruited over 3500 families !
Expectant mothers, most of whom in their second trimester, have been recruited from the general population in several areas in Canada including: Vancouver, British Columbia; Edmonton, Alberta; Manitoba (Winnipeg and 2 rural sites); and Toronto, Ontario. The children and their mothers are monitored throughout the remainder of pregnancy and until the babies reach 5 years of age.
- All children will be clinically assessed at:
- at a 3-month home visit, and
- at ages 1, 3, and 5 years.
- Home assessment with dust sample collection at 3 months is complemented by repeated detailed environmental questionnaires from pregnancy to age 5.
- Anthropometric measures, pulmonary function and viral infections are assessed longitudinally.
- Biological sampling includes:
- genetic material from the child and parents,
- cord blood,
- breast-milk at 3 months,
- infant peripheral blood at 1 and 5 years,
- viral swabs,
- urine and stool at multiple time points, and
- Questionnaire data will be collected on pre- and post-natal environment, nutrition, stress, health status and medication.