Pau-Chung CHEN (陳保中)

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Research Outline      2014-03-24 10:22:18

We started to conduct a longitudinal birth cohort follow-up study to investigate the environment, genetics, and children's health issues in recent years. Children's environmental health is increasingly recognized as a global public health issue of great importance. Given our current limited knowledge, the distribution of environmental contaminant exposure levels among reproductive-age, infants, and children is unknown; and the role of prenatal and postnatal exposures to environmental and genetic factors in the etiology of adverse child health is unsolved. Children's Health also became a new section of Environmental Health Perspectives in 1999 and a new scientific society "International Society for Children's Health and the Environment (ISCHE)" has been organized in 2006. The current problems in Taiwan we have identified to perform researches including: the prevalence of asthma is still increasing up to more than 10%; preterm delivery has been increasing up to 9% in 2003; neurodevelopmental disorders are highly prevalent and affected 8% of the examined children under the age of four years; and the prevalence of childhood obesity has doubled; also, there were up to one-seventh infants born by foreign mothers in 2004. Therefore we started to conduct a project "Taiwan Birth Panel Study" to investigate prenatal and postnatal factors on infant and early childhood health. Through this prospective birth cohort, the main health outcomes focused on atopic diseases, child growth and development, and neurocognitive and language development. We investigated the main prenatal and postnatal factors including infection, herb use in pregnancy, breastfeeding, allergens and other pollutants such as environmental tobacco smoke, heavy metals, non-persistent pesticides, melamine, perfluorinated chemicals, and psychosocial stress under the consideration of interaction of the environment and genes. This project bridges knowledge gaps and answer unsolved issues in the low-level, prenatal or postnatal, and multiple exposures, genetic effect modification, and the initiation and progression of "environmentally-related childhood diseases." In addition, we play an active role in education, research, and services in the field of "pediatric environmental health" via integrating multi-disciplines.