Vanderbilt Medical Center needs a thousand children to participate in the largest study of its kind. The challenge is that many of those children may not be conceived for years.
The National Institutes of Health is launching a study to track a total of 100,000 children from before birth, all the way through their childhood. It includes more than 100 study centers around the country. Vanderbilt is one of the first 30 to come online, and one of even fewer locations recruiting women that aren’t even pregnant yet.
Scientists are looking at all kinds of childhood diseases, including autism, diabetes and birth defects. Katherine Hartmann is the principal investigator at Vanderbilt and says the study requires a long-term commitment.
“We really are inviting moms and families of babies, before they’re even born, to at least consider a 21 year involvement with the study. So that’s a pretty big ask.”
Hartmann says the study will be time consuming, but children will also be under frequent medical observation, which could be a selling point to families. She says the benefit to medical science will be “huge.”
Vanderbilt will begin enrolling participants December 15th.
Here’s a link to the National Children’s Study.