Open Access Research article

The Taiwan Birth Panel Study: a prospective cohort study for environmentally- related child health

Chia-Jung Hsieh1, Wu-Shiun Hsieh2, Yi-Ning Su3, Hua-Fang Liao4, Suh-Fang Jeng4, Feng-Ming Taso5, Yaw-Huei Hwang1, Kuen-Yuh Wu1, Chia-Yang Chen6, Yueliang Leon Guo7 and Pau-Chung Chen1*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, National Taiwan University College of Public Health, Taipei, Taiwan

2 Department of Pediatrics, National Taiwan University Hospital and National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan

3 Department of Medical Genetics, National Taiwan University Hospital and National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan

4 School and Graduate Institute of Physical Therapy, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan

5 Department of Psychology, National Taiwan University College of Science, Taipei, Taiwan

6 Institute of Environmental Health, National Taiwan University College of Public Health, Taipei, Taiwan

7 Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital and National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:291  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-291

Published: 12 August 2011

Abstract

Background

The Taiwan Birth Panel Study (TBPS) is a prospective follow-up study to investigate the development of child health and disease in relation to in-utero and/or early childhood environmental exposures. The rationale behind the establishment of such a cohort includes the magnitude of potential environmental exposures, the timing of exposure window, fatal and children's susceptibility to toxicants, early exposure delayed effects, and low-level or unknown neurodevelopmental toxicants.

Methods

A total of 486 mother-infant paired was enrolled from April 2004 to January 2005 in this study. Maternal blood before delivery, placenta and umbilical cord blood at birth, and mothers' urine after delivery were collected. The follow-up was scheduled at birth, 4, 6 months, and 1, 2, 3 and 5 years. The children's blood, urine, hair, and saliva were collected at 2 years of age and children's urine was collected at 5 years of age as well. The study has been approved by the ethical committee of National Taiwan University Hospital. All the subjects signed the inform consent on entering the study and each of the follow up.

Results

Through this prospective birth cohort, the main health outcomes were focused on child growth, neurodevelopment, behaviour problem and atopic diseases. We investigated the main prenatal and postnatal factors including smoking, heavy metals, perfluorinated chemicals, and non-persistent pesticides under the consideration of interaction of the environment and genes.

Conclusions

This cohort study bridges knowledge gaps and answers unsolved issues in the low-level, prenatal or postnatal, and multiple exposures, genetic effect modification, and the initiation and progression of "environmentally-related childhood diseases."

Keywords:
Cohort study; prenatal environmental exposure; child growth; neurodevelopment; behaviour problem; single-nucleotide polymorphisms