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UofL gets $13.1 million for National Children’s Study

October 3rd, 2008

University of Louisville researchers will take part in the largest government-funded long-term study of environmental and genetic effects on children’s health to be conducted in the United States. The National Institutes of Health announced today that UofL will receive a grant of $13.1 million over the next five years as a site in the National Children’s Study.

The study will follow 100,000 children from before birth to age 21, with the goal of understanding how genes and environment interact to affect their health and development. The study interprets environment broadly, to include water and house dust, nutrition, care, neighborhood safety, access to health care and other factors.

“We are proud to be part of what will be the most significant study of children’s health ever undertaken by the U.S. government, thanks to a truly outstanding collaborative effort across departments and schools within the university and with our community partners, including the Louisville Metro Department of Health and Wellness,” said UofL President James Ramsey.

The National Children’s Study has the potential to answer multiple questions and address multiple issues, ranging from how exposure to allergens affect the later development of asthma, to the causes of obesity, to the impact of infections on developmental progress, said Deborah Davis, an associate professor of pediatrics and one of two UofL principal investigators.

The program “has the potential to be as important as the human genome project in our understanding of health and disease,” said David Tollerud, co-principal investigator, chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences and professor of public health, medicine and pharmacology and toxicology.

“This is particularly important for children in Kentucky, where we have higher than average rates of obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes and more children born with low birth weight,” Davis said.

In addition to Tollerud and Davis, the study will include additional researchers from the School of Public Health and Information Sciences; the departments of Pediatrics, Psychological and Brain Sciences and Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health; and the Urban Studies Institute.

Recruitment of study participants in Louisville is slated to begin in 2010.

Related Link
National Children’s Study

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