The MATEX cohort - a Finnish population register birth cohort to study health effects of prenatal exposures
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CitationRumrich IK. Vähäkangas K. Viluksela M. Gissler M. Surcel HM. de Ruyter H. Jokinen J. Hänninen O. (2017). The MATEX cohort - a Finnish population register birth cohort to study health effects of prenatal exposures. BMC PUBLIC HEALTH, 17, 871. 10.1186/s12889-017-4881-8.
The prevalence of chronic diseases, such as immune, neurobehavioral, and metabolic disorders has increased in recent decades. According to the concept of Developmental Origin of Health and Disease (DOHaD), developmental factors associated with environmental exposures and maternal lifestyle choices may partly explain the observed increase. Register-based epidemiology is a prime tool to investigate the effects of prenatal exposures over the whole life course.
Our aim is to establish a Finnish register-based birth cohort, which can be used to investigate various (prenatal) exposures and their effects during the whole life course with first analyses focusing on maternal smoking and air pollution. In this paper we (i) review previous studies to identify knowledge gaps and overlaps available for cross-validation, (ii) lay out the MATEX study plan for register linkages, and (iii) analyse the study power of the baseline MATEX cohort for selected endpoints identified from the international literature.
The MATEX cohort is a fully register-based cohort identified from the Finnish Medical Birth Register (MBR) (1987–2015). Information from the MBR will be linked with other Finnish health registers and the population register to link the cohort with air quality data. Epidemiological analyses will be conducted for maternal smoking and air pollution and a range of health endpoints.
The MATEX cohort consists of 1.75 million mother-child pairs with a maximum follow up time of 29 years. This makes the cohort big enough to reach sufficient statistical power to investigate rare outcomes, such as birth anomalies, childhood cancers, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The linkage between different registers allows for an extension of the scope of the cohort and a follow up from the prenatal period to decades later in life.