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Twin Res Hum Genet. 2006 Dec;9(6):907-12.

The Birmingham Registry for Twin and Heritability Studies (BiRTHS).

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  • 1Unit of Genetic Epidemiology, Department of Public Health and Epidemiology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.


In this article we present the protocol of the Birmingham Registry for Twin Heritability Studies (BiRTHS), which aims to establish a long-term prospective twin registry with twins identified from the antenatal period and subjected to detailed follow-up. We plan to investigate the concordance in anthropometrics and early childhood phenotypes between 66 monozygotic and 154 dizygotic twin pairs in the first 2 years of recruitment. In this project we plan to determine the relative contributions of heritability and environment to fetal growth, birth size, growth in infancy and development up to 2 years of age in an ethnically mixed population. Twins will be assessed with the Griffitth's Mental Development Scales, which will enable us to obtain detailed information on development. As maternal depression may have an effect on the twins' neurodevelopment, the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale will be used at various stages during pregnancy and after delivery to assess maternal depressive symptoms. The increasing prevalence of obesity in both adults and children has raised concerns about the effect of maternal obesity in pregnancy on fetal growth. The prospective study design gives us the opportunity to obtain data on maternal nutrition (reflected by body mass index) and ante- and postnatal growth and development of twins.

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