National Children's Study
The National Children's Study (NCS) is a long-term research study that examines how the environment affects children's health and development. What we learn from the study will improve the health and well-being of children here in Cache County as well as nationally.
More than 100,000 children across the United States will participate in the National Children's Study. Researchers will follow children from before they are born until they are 21 years old. They will study children's families, neighborhoods and schools, and learn about each child's health as he or she grows up. Scientists will examine chemicals in the food, water, dust and soil.
The goal is to look at as many factors as possible that may affect children's health and use this information to understand the causes of many of today's childhood diseases, with the goal to then work at preventing these diseases.
The NCS is led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention and by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Over the next two decades, more than 40 federal agencies and departments will work with child and environmental advocacy and support groups, private industries and foundations, community leaders, university-based scientists and local medical sites across the country to sustain the Study and ensure it remains focused on common goals. The National Institute for Child Health and Development is coordinating the study from Washington, D.C. to combine all of the information from each participating community.
In December 2009, Cache County became one of 37 locations piloting the National Children's Study across the United States. The Department of Pediatrics at the University of Utah is leading the Cache County Children's Study in collaboration with the Early Intervention Research Institute (EIRI) at the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University. They are working closely with Primary Children's Medical Center, Logan Regional Hospital, city governments and community-based organizations throughout Cache County.
The Biomedical Laboratory within the CPD is also subcontracted to develop a protocol to extract and purify DNA, RNA and proteins from dried newborn blood spots. Once purified, the quality of the samples will be assessed using standard laboratory procedures such as PCR, RNA expression studies and SDS-PAGE gels. This research will focus on children's health and potential for health risk.
Children are different from adults. Their young bodies make them more vulnerable than adults to environmental exposures. It is important to understand which of these exposures is harmful, harmless or helpful to children's health and development.
Timelines and Enrollment:
The National Children's Study is inviting women throughout Cache County, between the ages of 18 and 49, to join the Study. The study includes observing children's environments even before they are born, so pregnant women and those who are likely to become pregnant in the next four years are invited to join the Study.
NCS hopes to have the participation of women and families that represent the whole community, including all racial, ethnic, religious, income and educational groups. There will be a total of 1,000 children from Cache County involved in the study.
When completed, the National Children's Study will be the richest information resource for questions related to child health ever. It will guide professionals in preventing childhood asthma, cancers, neuro-developmental disorders, obesity and type 2 diabetes, and birth defects.
The study will not provide health care or directly affect the health of the children who participate. However, in the future it will save the lives and improve the health of millions of American children.
Results about the associations for conditions such as birth defects will be available within two to three years after the study begins. Additional results will be released throughout the study.
Cache Vanguard Center began an intensive media and marketing campaign aimed to build name recognition and a positive image of the NCS, and to motivate eligible women to engage in the study. Radio and local newspapers were used in delivering a specific Cache County message. Advertising was done through grassroots outreach in churches, schools, physicians' and providers' offices and other community organizations in the county.
A community advisory board (CAB) for Cache County was established to help link the study with the community and vice versa. A local NCS website (http://eiri.usu.edu/projects/ncs) was developed and all outreach materials and contact information is available on it.