Tehran environmental and neurodevelopmental disorders (TEND) cohort study: Phase I, feasibility assessment

J Environ Health Sci Eng. 2020 Sep 9;18(2):733-742. doi: 10.1007/s40201-020-00499-4. eCollection 2020 Dec.


Purpose: To advance knowledge about childhood neurodevelopmental disorders and study their environmental determinants, we conducted a study in Tehran, Iran to assess the feasibility of prospective birth cohort study.

Methods: We evaluated participation of pregnant women, feasibility of sampling biological material, and health care services availability in Tehran in four steps: (1) first trimester of pregnancy; (2) third trimester of pregnancy; (3) at delivery; and (4) two to three months after delivery. We collected related data through questionnaires, also various biological samples were obtained from mothers (blood, urine, milk and nails-hands and feet) and newborns (umbilical cord blood, meconium, and urine samples) from February 2016 to October 2017.

Results: overall 838 eligible pregnant women were approached. The participation rate was 206(25%) in our study and about 185(90%) of subjects were recruited in hospitals. Out of 206 participants in the first trimester, blood, urine, hand nail, and foot nail samples were collected from 206(100%),193(93%), 205(99%), and 205(99%), respectively. These values dropped to 65(54%), 83(69%), 84(70%), and 84(70%) for the remaining participants 120(58%) in the third trimester, respectively. Also, we gathered milk samples from 125(60%) of mothers at two to three months after delivery.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that hospitals were better places for recruitment of subjects in a birth cohort in Tehran. We further concluded that birth cohort study recruitment can be improved by choosing appropriate gestational ages. Obtaining the newborn's urine, meconium, and umbilical cord blood were challenging procedures and require good collaboration between hospital staff and researchers.

Keywords: Biomonitoring; Birth cohort study; Environmental chemicals; Iran.