Urban Planning, Environment and Health

HELIX

Novel tools for integrating early-life environmental exposures and child health across Europe

Duration
2013-2017
Coordinator
Martine Vrijheid (ISGlobal)
Funded by
European Comission. Seventh Framework Programme

Due to our ever changing environment and habits, exposure to environmental contaminants is growing increasingly complex. The totality of environmental (non-genetic) exposures from conception until old age is defined as the ‘exposome’. The HELIX ‘early-life exposome’ approach involves combining all environmental hazards that mothers and children are exposed to, and linking this to the health, growth and development of children.

Pregnancy and the early years of life are well recognized to be periods of high susceptibility to environmental damage with lifetime consequences. Characterisation of the exposome in early life can provide very effective tools for disease prevention, given that interventions at that time can reshape biological programming and shift the body’s developmental track to the normal function. This makes early life an important starting point for development of the exposome.

The results of the project will help us to better understand how various types of exposures combine to influence our risk of disease.

The project will develop a comprehensive set of high-tech tools, methods and prospective data to measure and integrate the chemical, physical and molecular environment and link this to health of children. Smart phones are used to measure air pollution, UV radiation, physical activity and noise exposure. The latest laboratory techniques is used to measure biological indicators of many chemical exposures including contaminants in food, consumer products and water. In all, HELIX will collect full exposome data from 1,200 mothers and their children, the largest study to do this.

To achieve this, HELIX uses six existing, prospective birth cohort studies in Europe (BiB, EDEN, INMA, KANC, MoBa, Rhea). These cohorts have already collected large amounts of data as part of national and EU-funded projects. Results will be integrated with Europe-wide data to estimate health impacts at the larger European scale.

HELIX is funded by the EU and will receive €8.6 million over the course of five years. The project comprises of thirteen European partners, including two SMEs.

Related blog posts

Endocrine Disruptors—What Do They Disrupt?
The Exposome: Understanding the Effect of the Environment on Our Health

 

Our Team

Principal Investigator (PI)

  • Martine Vrijheid
    Martine Vrijheid Head of the Childhood and Environment Programme, Research Professor and Coordinator of INMA-Sabadell Cohort

Our Team

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Other projects

See Past Projects

ATHLETE

Advancing Tools for Human Early Lifecourse Exposome Research and Translation

HELIX-NAFLD

Developmental origins of child liver injury: the effect of early life environmental exposures

EGG/EAGLE

Early Genetics Growth/Early Genetics and Lifecourse Epidemiology

PACE

Pregnancy and Childhood Epigenetics

APACHE

Air Pollution, Autism spectrum disorders, and brain imaging in CHildren amongst Europe

LIFECYCLE

Early-life stressors and LifeCycle health

MOOD-COVID

Pre- and post-natal Maternal mental health and newbOrn neurOdevelopment during the COVID-19 panDemic

EUCAN-Connect

A federated FAIR platform enabling large-scale analysis of high-value cohort data connecting Europe and Canada in personalized health

OBERON

An integrative strategy of testing systems for identification of EDs related to metabolic disorders

The Lungfit Project

Socioeconomic Status, Physical Activity, and Respiratory Health in Pregnant Women, Children, and Adolescents

ExPEC-TEEN

Prenatal Exposure to Environmental Pollutants and Metabolic and Cardiovascular Health of the Teenagers

AURORA 2021

Actionable eUropean ROadmap for early-life health Risk Assessment of micro- and nanoplastics

UrbaMet

Entorno Urbano y Salud Cardiometabólica desde el Nacimiento hasta la Adolescencia

NutriPROGRAM

Early-life Nutritional Programming of Metabolic Health through Epigenetic Pathways

ELHNA

Exposures to light pollution and heat, and neurodevelopment in adolescents

ONES

Fine Particle Matter, Fetal Growth, and Neurodevelopment: Examining Critical Windows of Susceptibility

AIR-NB

Pre-natal exposure to urban AIR pollution and pre- and post-Natal Brain development

FRONTIER

Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Birth Weight: the Roles of Noise, Placental Function, Green Space, Physical Activity, and Socioeconomic Status

The APBO Project

Air Pollution and Birth Outcomes: Windows of Exposure and Health and Economic Impact Assessment

INMA-Ado-Sueño

Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Fields, Noise, and Sleep Disorders in Adolescence

ANSES HyPAXE

Prenatal Exposure to a Family of Short Half-Life Endocrine Disruptors, Dysregulation of the Hypothalamic–Pituitary–Adrenal Axis and Potential Implication for Child Neurodevelopment at Early Age

EXPO-ENFANTS

Caractérisation des usages et de l’exposition aux radiofréquences induite par les dispositifs de communication mobiles chez les enfants

Lily

Light at Night Exposure and Sleep Quality

EMBRYORAD

Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields, Other Environmental Factors, and Development of the Embryo and Fetus

IGRO

The Impact of Maternal-Fetal Steroid Metabolome Exposure on Child GROwth and Neurological Outcomes

NutinBrain

The role of seafood and nut consumption on human neurodevelopment from pregnancy to adolescence