202110 Prevention research from human milk to the origins of disease and development in the life course (PRiMORDIAL)

Program seeks Council approval for an initiative titled “Prevention research from human milk to the origins of disease and development in the life course (PRiMORDIAL).”

The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) hypothesis posits that diet-related disease susceptibilities arise from a complex interplay of nutrition, health, and environmental factors in early life. And although there have been several observational studies utilizing pregnancy and birth cohorts to evaluate DOHaD-related questions, no studies to date have examined early life nutrition and related exposures in a sophisticated enough fashion due to the sheer volume of data and sampling required to describe this complex relationship. Many existing studies conducted only superficial analysis of human milk and in utero exposures, sampled at only one time point, and used older “-omics” methodology.  The field also currently suffers from a lack of data on nutrition in children from birth-24 months at a sufficient depth.

This initiative presents an opportunity to generate a full picture of the time course tying biological events from the in utero environment, to human milk or formula exposure, to first foods, to dietary behaviors and development in the critical window of the first 1000 days of life (Module 1) and from preconception to health and disease development in adulthood (Module 2).

Specifically, Module 1 will deeply characterize in utero, early life, and human milk exposures to answer time-sensitive questions on human milk and infant/childhood nutrition in a cohort for the first 1000 days. Module 1 will provide the necessary data to bring dietary requirements and recommendations for children up to 21st century within the first 5 years, with the centerpiece being a catalog of human milk as a biological system. Module 2 will expand the cohort to cover preconception and follow-up through adulthood, allowing the first comprehensive study of the role of well-characterized early life nutrition exposures on lifetime health and disease. Module 1 will also be a comprehensive platform for Module 2 to fully address DOHaD-related hypotheses and stimulate the development of precise early life interventions to prevent disease and promote health.

The proposed concept aligns with the NICHD Strategic Plan as well as the Strategic Plan for NIH Nutrition Research as well as the PGNB research priority on human milk composition and function.

Program Contact

Ashley Vargas
Pediatric Growth​ & Nutrition Branch (PGNB)

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