Cohort Profile: The Barwon Infant Study.
Vuillermin P., Saffery R., Allen KJ., Carlin JB., Tang ML., Ranganathan S., Burgner D., Dwyer T., Collier F., Jachno K., Sly P., Symeonides C., McCloskey K., Molloy J., Forrester M., Ponsonby AL.
The modern environment is associated with an increasing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Mounting evidence implicates environmental exposures, experienced early in life (including in utero), in the aetiology of many NCDs, though the cellular/molecular mechanism(s) underlying this elevated risk across the life course remain unclear. Epigenetic variation has emerged as a candidate mediator of such effects. The Barwon Infant Study (BIS) is a population-derived birth cohort study (n = 1074 infants) with antenatal recruitment, conducted in the south-east of Australia (Victoria). BIS has been designed to facilitate a detailed mechanistic investigation of development within an epidemiological framework. The broad objectives are to investigate the role of specific environmental factors, gut microbiota and epigenetic variation in early-life development, and subsequent immune, allergic, cardiovascular, respiratory and neurodevelopmental outcomes. Participants have been reviewed at birth and at 1, 6, 9 and 12 months, with 2- and 4-year reviews under way. Biological samples and measures include: maternal blood, faeces and urine during pregnancy; infant urine, faeces and blood at regular intervals during the first 4 years; lung function at 1 month and 4 years; cardiovascular assessment at 1 month and 4 years; skin-prick allergy testing and food challenge at 1 year; and neurodevelopmental assessment at 9 months, 2 and 4 years. Data access enquiries can be made at [www.barwoninfantstudy.org.au] or via [email@example.com].