The goal of our research is to examine the association between prenatal and adolescent exposure to phthalates and phenols and physical, behavioral, and cognitive development. The Children's Center assesses the impact of prenatal and adolescent exposure to phthalates and phenols in two human cohorts—a cohort of infants and young children recruited Urbana-Champaign, IL and a cohort of adolescents in New Bedford, MA both of which have been studied prospectively since birth.
Project 1: Joint Effects of Endocrine-Disruptors, Diet and BMI on Child Development - Infant Cohort
Project 1 assesses the impact of prenatal or adolescent exposure to phthalates and phenols in two human cohorts—IKIDS, a new prospective birth cohort recruited Urbana-Champaign, IL, and an adolescent cohort in New Bedford, MA that has been studied prospectively since birth—on neurodevelopment. An additional goal is to investigate other prenatal risk factors such as maternal stress or obesity that could interact with chemical exposures to increase risk.
Project 1: Joint Effects of Endocrine-Disruptors, Diet and BMI on Child Development-Infant Cohort
Illinois Kids Development Study (IKIDS):
This prospective birth cohort study uses novel methods adapted from developmental psychology including infrared eye tracking to assess the impact of prenatal exposure to phthalates, phenols and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) on the cognitive and behavioral development of children from birth to age 4.
Project 1: Joint Effects of Endocrine-Disruptors, Diet and BMI on Child Development-Adolescent Cohort
New Bedford Adolescent Cohort:
This study evaluates the association between phthalate, phenol, or paraben exposures during the adolescent period, and neurobehavior. It is based on an ongoing study of 788 children followed since birth, taking advantage of the wealth of existing data available for this cohort of children.
Project 2: Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals, Diet and Gonadal Toxicity
The goal of this project was to use mouse models to determine the mechanisms by which BPA and phthalates adversely affect the development and function of the male and female reproductive system. The hypothesis was that BPA and phthalates cause oxidative stress in developing gonads leading to infertility and/or premature reproductive senescence. The project also investigated whether exposure to BPA and phthalates interact with a high-fat diet to adversely affect the reproductive system, and whether these outcomes are transgenerational.
Project 3: Endocrine-Disruptors and Diet: Effects on the Developing Cortex
The goal of this project was to use a rat model to investigate whether exposure BPA and phthalates during the perinatal or adolescent period can alter the developing brain and behavior. To better model the human situation, some of the rats are also fed a high fat diet. Tests of social behavior and cognition were administered and the anatomy of a part of the brain important for cognitive function, the prefrontal cortex, was examined.