School of Public Health

Northern Finland Birth Cohorts (NFBC)

study leader
Professor Marjo-Riitta Jarvelin, Dept. of Epidemiology and Public Health, Imperial College London, and Dept. of Public Health and General Practice, University of Oulu

principal investigator
Professor Anna-Liisa Hartikainen, Dept. of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Public Health and General Practice, University of Oulu

The Northern Finland Birth Cohorts (NFBC) are geographically defined population samples collected from the region covering Lapland and the Province of Oulu.

a) 12231 people born in 1966 (NFBC 66)
The cohort has been followed prospectively since the 24th gestation week. Data have been collected on maternal biological, clinical (BP,infections, BMI, gestational length), genetic, and sociodemographic factors. Data collection began during pregnancy and at birth with later follow-ups at 0-1, 14 and 31 years (BP, heart rate, respiratory function, physical fitness, alcohol intake, smoking, serious bacterial and viral infections including chlamydia antibodies) Register data on morbidity, mortality and socioeconomic factors are collected from hospital records and official registers over the life course. Blood samples for 6,000 people including DNA, fasting lipids, insulin and glucose are available.

During the EURO-BLCS study we carry out genetic analysis of candidate genes involved in insulin and steroid hormone metabolism for 6,000 people in the cohort. Data analysis will be carried out on the relationship between maternal, fetal, social, life style and genetic factors and intermediate CVD risk factors.

A subset of the cohort will be used to examine the relationship between PIH ( pregnancy induced hypertension) and intermediate CVD risk factors. Further data on clinical characteristics during their first pregnancy will be obtained from the National Birth Registry for a subset of 3,000 women from the cohort. Data analysis will be carried out to assess the relationship between PIH and intermediate CVD risk profile (including serum lipids, glucose and insulin) at 31 years of age.

b) 9479 people born in 1985-86 (NFBC 86)
The cohort has been followed prospectively since the first contact to antenatal care among pregnancies lasting  beyond the 24th gestational week. Detailed biological and clinical data on course of pregnancy (BP, Hb, pregnancy complications, associating diseases including infections) are available. Data were collected during pregnancy and at birth, and 7 and 8 years of age on social and developmental issues.

During the EURO-BLCS study we aim to collect new clinical outcome data and blood samples (social factors, BP, blood biochemistry, diet, physical fitness and activity) at adolescence, at age 14-15 years. The methods of data collection will be harmonised with the greek national cohort to allow data pooling and comparisons across populations. Data will be analysed to assess the relationship between maternal, fetal and social factors and intermediate CVD risk factors, in particular BP.

Web site: http://cc.oulu.fi/~kttylwww/psko1966.html

Selected publications

Xu B, Pekkanen J, Jarvelin MR. Obstetric complications and asthma in childhood. J Asthma 2000;37(7):589-94

Xu B, Jarvelin MR, Hartikainen AL, Pekkanen J. Maternal age at menarche and atopy among offspring at the age of 31 years. Thorax 2000 Aug;55(8):691-3

Sorri M, Jarvelin MR. Well-being and health. Background to the northern Finland 1966 birth cohort research. Int J Circumpolar Health 1998 Jul;57(2-3):82-3

Jones PB, Rantakallio P, Hartikainen AL, Isohanni M, Sipila P. Schizophrenia as a long-term outcome of pregnancy, delivery, and perinatal complications: a 28-year follow-up of the 1966 north Finland general population birth cohort. Am J Psychiatry. 1998 Mar;155(3):355-64.

Jarvelin MR, Elliott P, Kleinschmidt I, Martuzzi M, Grundy C, Hartikainen AL, Rantakallio P. Ecological and individual predictors of birthweight in a northern Finland birth cohort 1986. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol 1997 Jul;11(3):298-312

Olsen P, Laara E, Rantakallio P, Jarvelin MR, Sarpola A, Hartikainen AL. Epidemiology of preterm delivery in two birth cohorts with an interval of 20 years. Am J Epidemiol 1995 Dec 1;142(11):1184-93

Rantakallio P, Myhrman A. Changes in fertility and the acceptability of pregnancies in northern Finland during the last 20 years. Int J Epidemiol 1990 Mar;19(1):109-14

Rantakallio P. The longitudinal study of the northern Finland birth cohort of 1966. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol 1988 Jan;2(1):59-88

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