University of Oulu

Jaddoe, V.W.V., Felix, J.F., Andersen, A.N. et al. The LifeCycle Project-EU Child Cohort Network: a federated analysis infrastructure and harmonized data of more than 250,000 children and parents. Eur J Epidemiol 35, 709–724 (2020).

The LifeCycle Project-EU Child Cohort Network : a federated analysis infrastructure and harmonized data of more than 250,000 children and parents

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Author: Jaddoe, Vincent W. V.1,2; Felix, Janine F.1,2; Andersen, Anne‑Marie Nybo3;
Organizations: 1Department of Pediatrics, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, The Generation R Study Group, (Na 29-18), PO Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands
2Generation R Study Group, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
3Section of Epidemiology, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
4Université de Paris, Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Statistics (CRESS), INSERM, INRAE, Paris, France
5ELFE Joint Unit, French Institute for Demographic Studies (Ined), French Institute for Medical Research and Health (INSERM), French Blood Agency, Aubervilliers, France
6Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
7Department of Epidemiology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
8Concentris Research Management GmbH, Fürstenfeldbruck, Germany
9MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
10Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
11Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
12Folkhälsan Research Center, Helsinki, Finland
13Obstetrics and Gynecology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore and National University Health System, Singapore, Singapore
14Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS), Agency for Science and Technology (A*STAR), Singapore, Singapore
15Telethon Kids Institute, Perth, WA, Australia
16School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia
17Department of Pediatrics, Dr. von Hauner Children’s Hospital, University Hospital, LMU, Munich, Germany
18University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Genomics Coordination Center, Groningen, The Netherlands
19Institute of Developmental Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
20NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK
21Centre for Fertility and Health, The Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway
22Division of Health Data and Digitalization, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway
23MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, UK
24Center for Life-Course Health Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
25Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, UK
26Department of Life Sciences, College of Health and Life Sciences, Brunel University London, London, UK
27Unit of Primary Health Care, Oulu University Hospital, OYS, Oulu, Finland
28NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre, Bristol, UK
29Department of Economics, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
30Bradford Institute for Health Research, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Bradford, UK
31Department of Genetics and Bioinformatics, Division of Health Data and Digitalisation, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway
32Cancer Epidemiology Unit, Department of Medical Sciences, University of Turin, Turin, Italy
33ISGlobal, Barcelona, Spain
34Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona, Spain
35CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain
36IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute), Barcelona, Spain
37Department of Genetics, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
38Department of Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-08-19


Early life is an important window of opportunity to improve health across the full lifecycle. An accumulating body of evidence suggests that exposure to adverse stressors during early life leads to developmental adaptations, which subsequently affect disease risk in later life. Also, geographical, socio-economic, and ethnic differences are related to health inequalities from early life onwards. To address these important public health challenges, many European pregnancy and childhood cohorts have been established over the last 30 years. The enormous wealth of data of these cohorts has led to important new biological insights and important impact for health from early life onwards. The impact of these cohorts and their data could be further increased by combining data from different cohorts. Combining data will lead to the possibility of identifying smaller effect estimates, and the opportunity to better identify risk groups and risk factors leading to disease across the lifecycle across countries. Also, it enables research on better causal understanding and modelling of life course health trajectories. The EU Child Cohort Network, established by the Horizon2020-funded LifeCycle Project, brings together nineteen pregnancy and childhood cohorts, together including more than 250,000 children and their parents. A large set of variables has been harmonised and standardized across these cohorts. The harmonized data are kept within each institution and can be accessed by external researchers through a shared federated data analysis platform using the R-based platform DataSHIELD, which takes relevant national and international data regulations into account. The EU Child Cohort Network has an open character. All protocols for data harmonization and setting up the data analysis platform are available online. The EU Child Cohort Network creates great opportunities for researchers to use data from different cohorts, during and beyond the LifeCycle Project duration. It also provides a novel model for collaborative research in large research infrastructures with individual-level data. The LifeCycle Project will translate results from research using the EU Child Cohort Network into recommendations for targeted prevention strategies to improve health trajectories for current and future generations by optimizing their earliest phases of life.

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Series: European journal of epidemiology
ISSN: 0393-2990
ISSN-E: 1573-7284
ISSN-L: 0393-2990
Volume: 35
Pages: 709 - 724
DOI: 10.1007/s10654-020-00662-z
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3141 Health care science
Funding: The LifeCycle project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant Agreement No. 733206 LifeCycle). All study specific acknowledgements and funding are presented in the supplementary materials. This manuscript reflects only the author's view and the Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
EU Grant Number: (733206) LIFECYCLE - Early-life stressors and LifeCycle health
Dataset Reference: Electronic supplementary material:
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