At this time, cardiovascular diseases and cancer are the main causes of mortality and morbidity in Portugal. Although these diseases show higher incidence after the 4th decade of life, the disease onset occurs since early childhood and even during pregnancy.
Both individual’s genetic characteristics and environmental factors through life have been proved to be involved in the risk of developing disease. The exposome concept refers to environmental exposures including air pollution, chemicals exposure, lifestyle and dietary habits, in addition to endogenous processes which occur through individual’s life since in útero.
HEALS - Health and Environment-wide Associations based on Large Population Survey is a European project developed to accomplish a better understanding of these relations and possible impacts on human health. HEALS purpose is to collect and harmonize data in order to study associations between long-term and short-term exposures on infant’s health (for instances asthma, neurologic diseases, overweight/obesity and diabetes).
Incorporated in the HEALS study, we design the Bitwin cohort which is the first national birth cohort of twins. This birth cohort will follow newborns from birth through life who are born at Centro Materno Infantil do Norte (CMIN), no Centro Hospitalar de S. João, no Centro Hospitalar Vila Nova de Gaia/Espinho e no Hospital Pedro Hispano.
Therefore, we are collecting data and biological samples of twins and singletons during pregnancy and delivery. We are committed to create a robust database and assess environmental and genetic interactions in children development.
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