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Intrauterine infections and risk of stillbirths and neurodevelopmental disorders

Awarded: NOK 5.1 mill.

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Project Period:

2012 - 2016

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Reported cases of neurodevelopmental disorders e.g. autism, attention deficit disorders, delayed language or intellectual development have increased in recent years, placing a larger burden on society. The causes are predominantly unknown; although prenat al factors have been suggested. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and parvovirus B19, for which no vaccines are yet available, remains the two most important agents causing infections during pregnancy. Intrauterine infections caused by CMV and parvovirus have been associated with adverse outcomes of pregnancy, e.g. abortion and stillbirth. The knowledge acquired on intrauterine CMV or parvovirus infection and stillbirths has been based on single case reports or small studies on consecutive cases. Little knowledge is available on the long term effects of intrauterine infections and later developmental disorders in the affected children. No previous studies have investigated these infectious agents as possible causes of neuropsychiatric developmental disorders in ch ildhood. The present study aims to investigate the prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders and intrauterine infections due to CMV and parvovirus in a population based cohort, The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort (MoBa) using a nested case-control de sign. Also, the objective of this study is to analyse association between CMV and parvovirus infections in pregnancy and stillbirths. The cohort consists of more than 100.000 children and their mothers, large enough numbers for the best possible platform for this study. Biological samples have been taken from both mother and child, mother at week 18 during pregnancy and again at birth together with the child, giving invaluable material for studying the problems with intrauterine infections.

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