IKIDS uses novel methods developed in our Formative Children’s Center and in experimental neuropsychology laboratories to assess the impact of prenatal exposure to phthalates, BPA, and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) on the physical and behavioral development of the child from birth to 5 years of age. Steroid hormones play a critical organizing role in physical and brain development during the prenatal period, and exposure to EDCs could result in behavioral deficits and/or changes in the typical pattern of sex differences in physical development and cognitive function. Thus, IKIDS examines the impact of exposure to EDCs on general, as well as sex-specific measures of physical health and cognitive function. The goals of our project consist of:
- Assess sources of exposure to phthalates, BPA, and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in pregnant women.
- Examine the relationship between prenatal exposures to EDCs and children’s physical and cognitive function at birth and during the first 5 years of life.
- Investigate whether there are risk factors such as maternal obesity or a maternal diet high in saturated fat that increase susceptibility to prenatal exposure to EDCs.
- Examine the hypothesis that increased oxidative stress or inflammation may mediate associations between prenatal exposure to EDCs and children’s physical development or cognitive function.
- Investigate whether prenatal exposure to EDCs affects the child's gut microbiome which could, in turn, impact the child's development and health.
In addition, IKIDS is concerned with recent findings suggesting that maternal obesity may be linked to various health problems in the offspring. A large percentage of reproductive-age women consume diets high in saturated fats (HFD) and are either overweight or obese. Thus, another important goal of the study is to investigate if maternal obesity and/or HFD increase the health risks from prenatal exposure to EDCs.
Our Principal Investigator is Susan Schantz.
Check out our website here to learn more.