Mount Sinai Researchers Launch Nation’s Largest Federally-Funded Children’s Health Study in Queens

The National Children’s Study will examine how environmental factors affect 100,000 children over the next 20 years. Philip J. Landrigan, MD, is the study’s principal investigator for New York.

New York, NY
 – January 13, 2009 /Press Release/  –– 

Researchers began visiting neighborhoods in Queens today to recruit families to participate in the National Children’s Study (NCS). The $3 billion NCS will be the largest federally funded child health study in the nation’s history, with the goal of following 100,000 children from before birth through age 21 to document how various environmental and genetic factors influence their health and development.

Queens is one of two counties chosen by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to launch the massive Study, along with Duplin, North Carolina. Ultimately the Study will expand to 105 counties nationwide, including Manhattan, Brooklyn and Nassau in New York and Passaic, Middlesex, Warren and Monroe in New Jersey.

Over 12,000 Queens residences will be visited by researchers under the guidance of Dr. Philip Landrigan, Chair of the Mount Sinai Department of Community and Preventive Medicine and also the Study’s principal investigator for New York and northern New Jersey. Researchers will be looking to sign up 4,000 pregnant women and women who intend to soon become pregnant.

The goal of the NCS is to discover preventable environmental risk factors for disease in children, said Dr. Landrigan. "By following children from before birth and examining factors such as family history, environmental quality and exposure to chemicals we can develop guidelines that in the future may reduce childhood illnesses such as asthma, autism and diabetes. The NCS will give us the ability to understand these epidemics and fundamentally enhance the health of our children."

Participants in the NCS will receive numerous benefits, including free pre-natal and post-natal medical screenings and medical referrals if health issues are detected by NCS investigators. Eligibility in the study is not affected by previous health conditions or immigration status. Study participants are also guaranteed protection under the strict HIPAA laws that safeguard the confidentiality of private health information.

The benefits of the National Children’s Study extend to much more than just improved health, said Dr. Leo Trasande of Mount Sinai, Director of the Queens Vanguard Center where the Study’s Queens operations will be coordinated. "The U.S. spends almost $700 billion per year to manage and treat just six of the medical conditions that the Study focuses on – obesity, injury, asthma, diabetes, autism and schizophrenia. Even a one percent reduction in those six conditions would result in an annual savings of more than double the Study’s total cost."

More information about the NCS is available at www.nationalchildrensstudy.gov.

About The Mount Sinai Medical Center
The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The Mount Sinai Hospital is one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. Founded in 1852, Mount Sinai today is a 1,171-bed tertiary-care teaching facility that is internationally acclaimed for excellence in clinical care. Last year, nearly 50,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients, and there were nearly 450,000 outpatient visits to the Medical Center.

Mount Sinai School of Medicine is internationally recognized as a leader in groundbreaking clinical and basic-science research, as well as having an innovative approach to medical education. With a faculty of more than 3,400 in 38 clinical and basic science departments and centers, Mount Sinai ranks among the top 20 medical schools in receipt of National Institute of Health (NIH) grants.