Last updated on February 2018

The Reus-Tarragona Birth Cohort Study of Early Development and Ageing.

Brief description of study

The recent fall in birth and death rates has led to demographic changes such as low fertility and high life expectancy . The WHO reports the median age of the European population to be the highest in the world and predicts that the proportion of over-60s in will increase from 14% in 2010 to 25% in 2050. There is wide variability in the quality of health and well-being in the ageing population. Longevity with a good quality of life is a consequence of the combination of an individual's genes, nutrition, environment, lifestyle and medical interventions. There is increasing evidence that research into healthy ageing needs to start with early life data to capture all traits and exposures experienced by an individual throughout life. Epigenetic imprinting occurs both in utero and during early postnatal development. Maternal environmental exposures, including nutritional status, may have a permanent effect on the developing foetus by influencing epigenetic profiles and leading to life-long genome adaptation. Numerous reports show that restricted intra-uterine growth due to poor maternal nutrition during pregnancy increases risk in the offspring of developing mental disorders, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease or stroke in later life. To understand the basic mechanisms and interactions through which the ageing phenotype develops, systems involved in key processes of early development must be considered as well as those crucial to health in older persons. The Reus and Tarragona Birth Cohort is a longitudinal study. In the first phase, blood is collected from pregnant women at <12, 15, 24-27 and 34 gestational weeks (GW) and at labor and from the cord. Detailed lifestyle, habits and supplement use data are collected at 20 and 32 gestational weeks and on nutritional habits at <12GW and at birth. Placental vascular function is assessed at 20 and 32 GW by analysis of Doppler waveforms of the uterine arteries. Data on pregnancy evolution and outcome are also recorded. The first phase investigates the association between gene-environment (nutrient and lifestyle habits) interactions and fetal growth and pregnancy outcome. The second phase of the study follows up the children at 7.5 years of age. Growth, exercise and nutritional habits as well as environment and cognitive development are assessed. The aims are to investigate the association between gene-environment interactions associated with healthy development from early pregnancy until 7.5 years of age.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT01778205

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