Slideshow of scenes from the Toronto five-year celebration
On June 10, 2018, children participating in the CHILD Study at its Toronto site celebrated the completion of their “five-year old” clinical visits. Completion of the five year visits at all four Study sites (Toronto, Manitoba, Edmonton, and Vancouver) was the original end-point of this national birth cohort study of nearly 3,500 children.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have such dedicated families participating in CHILD,” says Dr. Theo Moraes, who leads the Study’s Toronto site. “These parents and kids are research heroes, helping scientists understand how asthma, allergies and other chronic diseases begin very early in life. Their commitment to the CHILD Study is helping Canadian kids live happier and healthier lives.”
The celebration was held at the Hospital for Sick Children’s Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning. About 100 CHILD Study participants, their families, site staff and researchers attended the event. Medical science demonstrations, facepainting, games, crafts, dress-up photos and a giant birthday cake all contributed to a celebratory vibe. In a special “graduation” ceremony, each child received a “Junior Scientist” certificate recognizing his or her contribution to Canadian research.
Dr. Moraes and other Toronto-based CHILD researchers—Drs Indra Narang, Wendy Lou and Padmaja Subbarao (CHILD Study Director)— provided an overview of groundbreaking discoveries arising from CHILD and described the connections between sleep and asthma, the importance of CHILD statistics to inform health findings, and plans for the upcoming eight-year clinical visits. Debbie Morrison, an enthusiastic CHILD Study donor, shared the story of her journey with asthma and why supporting this research is so important to her.
“Completing the five-year clinical assessments of CHILD participants is a significant achievement,” says Dr. Subbarao. “Moving forward, CHILD has secured additional resources from AllerGen along with matching partner investments to support another round of clinical visits when the children turn eight.”
Dr. Subbarao notes that the CHILD team is just beginning to tap into the wealth of data and associated research opportunities available to Canadian scientists: “We have so many questions to answer as these children grow older. We want to know how they do in school; how sleep, screen time, physical activity and nutrition affect their health and development; whether the kids how have asthma now will outgrow it later; and so on.”
The future of research into children’s health has been enhanced and accelerated by CHILD Study researchers and their dedicated junior scientists.
As Dr. Subbarao notes, “Truly, the greatest promise of CHILD still lies ahead.”