CSU, CU land $1.2M award to study environmental impacts on children

Friday September 23, 2016 0 comments Tags: Fort Collins, CSU, CU Anschutz Medical Campus, NIH, ECHO, Sheryl Magzamen, Dana Dabelea, Francis Collins

FORT COLLINS -- Colorado State University and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have been awarded $1.2 million to participate in a National Institutes of Health initiative called Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO).NIH_logo

The award is part of a planned seven-year grant with an estimated total value of $15 million for the Colorado participation. The funding was awarded to the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH), a partnership among CSU, CU and the University of Northern Colorado.

The ECHO program will investigate how exposure to a range of environmental factors in early development — from conception through early childhood — influences the health of children and adolescents. It is part of a $150 million NIH effort announced Sept. 21.

The Colorado study will leverage an existing and ongoing pre-birth cohort in Colorado, Healthy Start, which is currently following 1,410 mother-child pairs.

Sheryl Magzamen, an assistant professor of epidemiology in the ColoradoSPH and CSU’s Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, is CSU’s principal investigator on the study. She will lead the measurement and evaluation of Healthy Start participants’ exposure to indoor and outdoor pollutants.

“Being able to add this element to an already rich study lets us better understand the role of the environment in childhood development,” Magzamen said.

“A lot of adult disease has its roots in childhood, so this study may unlock clues for enhancing health, understanding the mechanics of disease, and improving environmental policies.”

The overarching goal of the Colorado study is to determine the early life “exposome” — the entirety of environmental stressors that can impact one’s health across a lifetime. The study also aims to connect health outcomes with biological pathways that occur from the moment of birth through childhood.

“By continuing to longitudinally follow up the Colorado Healthy Start cohort and collaborating with the larger ECHO consortium, we will be able to expand the scope of our work by refining and incorporating additional components of the exposome, exploring changes in the composition and impact of the exposome over time, targeting additional childhood outcomes, and participating in large gene-environment interaction studies,” said Dana Dabelea, professor of epidemiology and pediatrics at CU Anschutz, director of the LifeCourse Epidemiology of Adiposity and Diabetes Center at ColoradoSPH, and principal investigator of the Colorado ECHO project.

“It is our hope that this study will advance the scientific understanding of early life contributors to child health outcomes, and build a foundation for the development and evaluation of future prevention efforts.”

“Every baby should have the best opportunity to remain healthy and thrive throughout childhood,” said NIH Director Francis Collins.

“ECHO will help us better understand the factors that contribute to optimal health in children.”