- Published on Oct 03, 2008
- Contact Diane Swanbrow
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The University of Michigan has been awarded about $17 million of a new contract from the National Institutes of Health to expand the Michigan portion of the National Children's Study, designed to be the largest and longest study conducted of the health and development of more than 100,000 children across the nation.
Along with an earlier grant for the study announced last fall, the U-M portion now totals approximately $21 million of a total award to Michigan of approximately $75 million.
The Michigan segment of the study is being conducted by an alliance of Michigan's top research universities, health care systems and state and local health agencies. The institutions will collaborate to study children in Genesee, Grand Traverse, Lenawee, Macomb and Wayne Counties.
"The first, five-year phase of this ambitious study will include work to enroll a representative sample of about 5,000 Michigan women before conception, followed by a wide range of environmental, health and developmental assessments throughout the prenatal and neonatal periods, then up to the age of two," said Daniel Keating, director of the U-M Center for Human Growth and Development, and lead investigator of the U-M portion of the study. Keating is also a faculty associate at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR), which will assume primary responsibility for identifying and enrolling study participants, and will serve as the lead local investigator for the Lenawee County study.
"Ultimately, the study will improve our understanding of a wide range of issues affecting children and their families, from infant mortality and premature birth, to obesity, autism, asthma, behavior problems, and many other developmental outcomes," Keating said.
Keating is collaborating with ISR biostatistician Michael Elliott, along with a large team of ISR survey research specialists including Beth-Ellen Pennell, Steven Heeringa and William Axinn.
The overall state portion of the national project is being coordinated by Michigan State University, under the auspices of the Michigan Alliance for the National Children's Study, headed by MSU professor Nigel Paneth. In addition to U-M and MSU, Alliance members include Wayne State University, Children's Hospital of Michigan, Henry Ford Health System, and the Michigan Department of Community Health, as well as local health departments in areas where the study will be conducted.
The ISR team will begin enrolling Wayne County participants in 2009. Grand Traverse and Lenawee County participants will be enrolled in 2010, followed by Genesee and Macomb County participants in 2011.
"This study is a platform for a completely novel form of research," Keating said. "It combines survey research with biological, environmental and developmental assessments to help clarify how a broad range of factors—including genetics, environmental conditions, biology, chemistry, social relations and geography among them—interact with each other to influence children's health."