The EpiBrain project will use data and biological samples from the following cohort studies and randomized controlled trials. 

Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition (APrON) Study

University of Calgary and University of Alberta, Canada

The Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition (APrON) cohort study is a prospective cohort study including pregnant women, their partners, and children, with follow-up visits until 6 years postpartum. The APrON study aims to determine the relationship of maternal nutrient status during pregnancy and maternal mental health and child health and development. In total, 2192 pregnant women aged >16 years, at <27 gestational weeks, and living within Edmonton or Calgary, Alberta, were enrolled between 2009 and 2012. Data collected include comprehensive maternal nutrition, and mental health data collected throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period, as well as obstetrical, birth, health and neurodevelopmental outcomes of these pregnancies. The EpiBrain project will include a subset of approximately 500 mother-child pairs from the APrON study, in which maternal and infant DNA methylation were assessed. 

B-vitamin and Brain Health in Older People (BrainHOP) Study

Ulster University, Northern Ireland

The B-vitamin and Brain Health in Older People (BrainHOP) trial was conducted in 328 participants from the Trinity Ulster Department of Agriculture (TUDA) ageing cohort (5000+ community-dwelling adults aged ≥ 60 years from Northern Ireland (UK) and the Republic of Ireland. Participants were randomized to receive either placebo, or a combined B-vitamin capsule (folic acid 400 μg, B12 10 μg, B6 10 mg and riboflavin 10 mg) per day for 2 years. At the start and end of intervention, relevant information was collected on biophysical, neuropsychiatric and functional assessments, drug usage, medical and social history and dietary intakes. At both time-points, cognitive performance was assessed, and anxiety and depression were assessed using validated scales. In a sub-set of 48 BrainHOP participants, functional brain (neural) activity was assessed at the end of the RCT by neuroimaging using magnetoencephalography (MEG). The EpiBrain project will include data from participants of the BrainHOP trial to investigate diet-epigenome relationships and their association with brain health in later life.

Folic Acid Supplementation in the Second and Third Trimester (FASSTT) Study

Ulster University, Northern Ireland

The ‘Folic Acid Supplementation in the Second and Third Trimester (FASSTT) randomized controlled trial in 2005-06 investigated the effect of folic acid in pregnancy on health of the mother and newborn and the subsequent FASSTT Offspring Trial involved follow-up sampling of the child at 7 years and 11 years of age. Healthy pregnant women (n=119) aged 18- 35 years were recruited at the 14th gestational week and randomly assigned to receive either 400 μg/d folic acid or placebo until the end of the pregnancy. Relevant information was recorded in mothers during pregnancy (dietary intakes, lifestyle and heath) and after delivery in newborns. Maternal samples (pre- and post-intervention) and cord blood samples, were analysed for B-vitamin biomarkers and, in a subset, DNA methylation analysis. Cognitive performance of the child was assessed by validated tests at 3, 7 years and 11 years. Functional brain activity was assessed in a sub-set of children at 11 years (n=40) by magnetoencephalography (MEG) providing an objective evaluation of the nervous system maturity. The EpiBrain project will include data from folic acid treated and untreated mothers and their children.

Reus-Tarragona Birth Cohort Study

Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain

The Reus-Tarragona Birth Cohort including mothers (n=563), fathers (n=300) and children (n=210), is an ongoing prospective cohort study of the association between prenatal diet, nutritional status and outcomes in the offspring. Dietary, biological, clinical, lifestyle and socioeconomic data were collected from <12 gestational weeks throughout pregnancy and from cord blood and placentas. A health check-up in the children at 7.5-8 years of age included measurements of adiposity, metabolic status, blood pressure as well as a battery of cognitive and behaviour tests. The EpiBrain project includes at subset of 100 mother-father-child triads from the Reus-Tarragona Birth Cohort for whom additional analyses will be conducted for maternal and infant DNA methylation.