The Saint Louis University School of Public Health has been awarded a government grant of 26 million dollars to conduct what will be the largest study of child and human health ever carried out in the United States.
The federal money will be used over a 25 year period to fund a national children's study into children's health and development; it aims to recruit 100,000 children from before birth and track them to age 21.
The grant was awarded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and will enable researchers to track children from birth to adulthood collecting data on a genetic makeup and a number of biological, chemical, environmental, physical and psychosocial factors.
Dr. Duane Alexander, director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development says the "National Children's study" is the largest and longest research study ever to look at the ways in which environment and genetics interact to influence child health and human development.
The 35 to 45 centers, in 105 locations, involved in the study will begin enrolling pregnant women within the next 9 to 10 months and important scientific information is expected to be available as early as 2011 and 2012, says study director Dr. Peter Scheidt.
The study will be conducted by Saint Louis University School of Public Health along with Saint Louis University School of Medicine, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Nursing, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and St. Louis Battelle Memorial Institute.
The study is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at the NIH, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.