The ENVIRONAGE (Environmental Influences on Early Ageing) birth cohort was initiated in February 2010 as a collaboration between Hasselt University and East-Limburg Hospital in Genk, Limburg, Belgium. This longitudinal study aims to investigate the influence of environmental exposures during pregnancy and early life on the health of children. Recruitment occurs at birth and the first follow-up occurs at the age of four to six years, and at the pre-adolescent age.
Why is ENVIRONAGE relevant?
Environmental factors, such as air pollution and nutrition, can affect the fetal health during the prenatal period. The importance of the prenatal health has been hypothesised by David Barker, and is now known as the 'developmental origins of health and disease', or DOHaD for short. Hitherto it is commonly known that age-related disorders, such as cardiovascular diseases, dementia and diabetes arise early in life.
ENVIRONAGE (environmental influence on early ageing) investigates the underlying mechanisms of these age-related disorders. By studying newborns and children, we aim to find predictive markers of ageing, which are linked to environmental exposures.
Furthermore, we can spearhead innovative strategies and specific applications in the environmental healthcare to protect unborn children against environmental exposures. This would mean that we could safeguard our future generation from age-related diseases by an early prevention method.
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