The Kingston Allergy Birth Cohort: Exploring parentally reported respiratory outcomes through the lens of the exposome

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2017 Apr;118(4):465-473. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2017.01.002. Epub 2017 Mar 8.


Background: The Kingston Allergy Birth Cohort (KABC) is a prenatally recruited cohort initiated to study the developmental origins of allergic disease. Kingston General Hospital was chosen for recruitment because it serves a population with notable diversity in environmental exposures relevant to the emerging concept of the exposome.

Objective: To establish a profile of the KABC using the exposome framework and examine parentally reported respiratory symptoms to 2 years of age.

Methods: Data on phase 1 of the cohort (n = 560 deliveries) were compiled, and multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to determine associations with respiratory symptoms.

Results: The KABC exhibits diversity within the 3 exposome domains of general external (socioeconomic status, rural or urban residence), specific external (cigarette smoke, breastfeeding, mold or dampness), and internal (respiratory health, gestational age), as well as significant associations between exposures from different domains. Significant associations emerged between parental reports of wheeze or cough without a cold and prenatal cigarette smoke exposure, mold or dampness in the home, and the use of air fresheners in the early-life home environment. Breastfeeding, older siblings, and increased gestational age were associated with decreased respiratory symptoms.

Conclusion: The KABC is a unique cohort with diversity that can be leveraged for exposomics-based studies. This study found that all 3 domains of the exposome had effects on the respiratory health of KABC children. Ongoing studies using phase 1 of the KABC continue to explore the internal exposome through allergy skin testing and epigenetic analyses and the specific external domain through in-home environmental analyses, air pollution modeling, and ultimately potential convergences within and among domains.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Hypersensitivity / etiology*
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical
  • Parents*
  • Phenotype
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Report*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires