The Medical University of South Carolina is going to be part of a $157 million environmental health study.
The report is called the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes Program. According to the Post and Courier, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is providing $157 million in awards to MUSC and 34 other institutions across the nation.
Researchers at MUSC and other universities will conduct a study to find out if environmental factors, like pollution and chronic stress, contribute to or hamper a child’s development. For the first two years of the research project, MUSC’s portion has the possibility to be roughly $9.6 million.
The study is partly based on MUSC’s own research of nearly 2,400 racially, ethnically and geographically-diverse healthy mothers in the early stages of pregnancy. The school’s researchers followed the pregnant women from 2009-2013 for the study, monitoring the growth of the fetus, exposures, nutritional considerations and other factors at 10 clinical centers throughout the U.S.
Backdrop for the study is news that rates have doubled or tripled in certain regions of the country, for autism, asthma, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obesity.
Several factors are cited, like changes in physical activities and diet, better detection and diagnosis, have been proffered as explanations for the causes, but environmental factors have not been examined as extensively.