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BMJ Open. 2018 Sep 10;8(9):e021311. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-021311.

Human Early Life Exposome (HELIX) study: a European population-based exposome cohort.

Author information

1
ISGlobal, Institute for Global Health, Barcelona, Spain.
2
Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona, Spain.
3
CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain.
4
Municipal Institute of Medical Research (IMIM-Hospital del Mar), Barcelona, Spain.
5
Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway.
6
Team of Environmental Epidemiology, IAB, Institute for Advanced Biosciences, Inserm, CNRS, CHU-Grenoble-Alpes, University Grenoble-Alpes, CNRS, Grenoble, France.
7
Department of Environmental Sciences, Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania.
8
Nursing School, Universitat de València, Valencia, Spain.
9
FISABIO-Universitat Jaume I-Universitat de València Joint Research Unit of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, Valencia, Spain.
10
Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology, Barcelona, Spain.
11
Unité Modèles pour l'Ecotoxicologie et la Toxicologie (METO), Institut National de l'Environnement Industriel et des Risques (INERIS), Verneuil en Halatte, France.
12
Fundación Pública Galega de Medicina Xenómica (SERGAS), Santiago, Spain.
13
Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Raras (CIBERER), Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago, Spain.
14
Research Department, Sidra Medicine, Doha, Qatar.
15
Genomics Unit, Dexeus Woman's Health, Barcelona, Spain.
16
Inserm UMR 1153-Centre de Recherche Epidémiologie et Biostatistique Sorbonne Paris Cité (CRESS), Equipe de recherche sur les origines précoces de la santé et du développement de l'enfant (ORCHAD), Villejuif, France.
17
School of Psychology, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, San Sebastian, Spain.
18
Biodonostia Health Research Institute, San Sebastian, Spain.
19
Department of Health, Public Health of Gipuzkoa, Government of the Basque Country, San Sebastian, Spain.
20
Department of Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece.
21
Division of Cancer, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, UK.
22
Integrative Systems Medicine and Digestive Disease, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, UK.
23
Bradford Institute for Health Research, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Bradford, UK.
24
Centre d'Investigation Clinique CIC1402, Inserm, Université de Poitiers, CHU Poitiers, Poitiers, France.
25
Department of Statistics, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
26
Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA.
27
Department of Genetics and Cell Biology, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
28
Veiligheids- en Gezondheidsregio Gelderland Midden (VGGM), Arnhem, The Netherlands.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Essential to exposome research is the collection of data on many environmental exposures from different domains in the same subjects. The aim of the Human Early Life Exposome (HELIX) study was to measure and describe multiple environmental exposures during early life (pregnancy and childhood) in a prospective cohort and associate these exposures with molecular omics signatures and child health outcomes. Here, we describe recruitment, measurements available and baseline data of the HELIX study populations.

PARTICIPANTS:

The HELIX study represents a collaborative project across six established and ongoing longitudinal population-based birth cohort studies in six European countries (France, Greece, Lithuania, Norway, Spain and the UK). HELIX used a multilevel study design with the entire study population totalling 31 472 mother-child pairs, recruited during pregnancy, in the six existing cohorts (first level); a subcohort of 1301 mother-child pairs where biomarkers, omics signatures and child health outcomes were measured at age 6-11 years (second level) and repeat-sampling panel studies with around 150 children and 150 pregnant women aimed at collecting personal exposure data (third level).

FINDINGS TO DATE:

Cohort data include urban environment, hazardous substances and lifestyle-related exposures for women during pregnancy and their offspring from birth until 6-11 years. Common, standardised protocols were used to collect biological samples, measure exposure biomarkers and omics signatures and assess child health across the six cohorts. Baseline data of the cohort show substantial variation in health outcomes and determinants between the six countries, for example, in family affluence levels, tobacco smoking, physical activity, dietary habits and prevalence of childhood obesity, asthma, allergies and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

FUTURE PLANS:

HELIX study results will inform on the early life exposome and its association with molecular omics signatures and child health outcomes. Cohort data are accessible for future research involving researchers external to the project.

KEYWORDS:

birth cohort; community child health; epidemiology; exposome; omics; public health

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