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 National Children's Study Plenary Session on Study Hypotheses (March 2003)

Technology Update

NCS Upgrades eRoom Technology

This month, the NCS will upgrade its eRoom software to assist NCSAC and Working Group Members in streamlining communication. Version 6 of eRoom offers new functions, including a real-time component to allow for online meetings and presentations. eRoom is user friendly and can help with:

  • Scheduling meetings and conference calls
  • Making decisions and moving forward on key action items
  • Developing documents with the input of other members of your group or committee

eRoom users will soon receive further information about the upgrade via e-mail.

Opportunities with the NCS

The NCS program office has several job openings. For more information, view the online job listings.

Good To Know

A Major Environmental Hazard for Children in the United States

Lead is a serious environmental health hazard for children in this country. Even though paint containing lead and leaded gasoline have been phased out of use, lead from old paint, household dust, soil, and pipe solder continue to cause adverse effects on children's intellectual and physical development.

The success of research related to lead exposure highlights the benefits of studies about environmental effects on children's health. The NCS will explore a range of environmental exposures to uncover what is harmful, as well as what is helpful to children's development.

For more information, consult Eliminating Childhood Lead Poisoning: A Federal Strategy Targeting Lead Paint Hazards, from the President's Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children.


I'd like to welcome you to the first National Children's Study (NCS) e-update. Because many of you are involved with the planning process for this large-scale effort, the study organizers felt that messages like these would help keep you informed of progress throughout the study's development. We encourage you to voice recommendations, ideas, and strategies for the NCS-a work-in-progress that will evolve with your input.

President Bush signed the federal appropriations bill for fiscal year 2003 on February 20, 2003, which allotted approximately $10 million to the NCS. This amount will help move the study another step closer to implementation.

Study organizers are currently working to update the NCS timeline to reflect the fiscal year 2003 federal budget. We hope to share the updated timeline with you in June. Meanwhile, we appreciate your feedback on topics related to the NCS, or on this e-update. You can use the link below to contact the study.

Thank you for your important participation in this landmark study.


Dr. Alexander's Signature

Duane Alexander, M.D.
Director, National Institute of Child Health
and Human Development (NICHD)
National Institutes of Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


NCS Plenary Session on Study Hypotheses, December 17, 2002

December's Study Assembly Plenary SessionAt December's Study Assembly Plenary Session, attendees learned about the progress of structuring the hypotheses that will be examined by the NCS.

The purpose of establishing core hypotheses is to build a framework for the study design to create the study protocol. The protocol will determine the sampling strategies, the frequency of follow-up activities, and the collection of data. The study framework will also help to prioritize recommended pilot studies and to provide a public identity for the study, which will be important for helping NCS funders understand what the study is trying to accomplish.

Based on the recommendations of the NCS Advisory Committee (NCSAC), the Interagency Coordinating Committee (ICC) reviewed the more than 50 hypotheses proposed by the Working Groups and others and grouped them into a condensed list of five broad areas or themes.

  1. Pregnancy outcomes
  2. Altered neurobehavioral development, developmental disabilities, and psychiatric outcomes
  3. Injury outcomes
  4. Asthma outcomes
  5. Obesity and altered physical development outcomes

Dr. Robert Michael, a member of the NCSAC, noted that even a very large study couldn't address every issue worthy of investigation; he added that there was a limit to the amount of questioning and examining with which participants could be expected to cooperate. He explained that priorities would have to be set, and that the hypotheses were critical to guiding the content of the study.

The refinement of the hypotheses will be driven by feedback from the Working Groups, the NCSAC, and the rest of the Study Assembly. Evaluation guidelines for hypotheses had been developed by the Study Design Working Group and were adopted by the NCSAC.

Presenters at the Session emphasized the importance of receiving feedback on the more than 50 proposed hypotheses in a timely manner.

"The NCS is a large, complex, and challenging effort," said Dr. Peter Scheidt, director of the NCS program office. "The planning process involves many individuals. Interaction among them is critical to the success of the NCS."

Dr. Duane Alexander, director of the NICHD, noted the hard work and input from the hundreds of members of the Working Groups and the NCSAC. "I am very pleased with the progress of the NCS," he said. He also emphasized the need to move ahead with refining and defining the core hypotheses.

It was also noted that, although the NCS received federal funding to support planning for fiscal year 2003, the lead agencies hope for augmented funding for fiscal year 2004, to complete pilot work and to move forward with NCS activities.

Mark Your Calendars for the Next NCSAC Meeting

Dates and Times

Thursday, March 6, 2003, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Friday, March 7, 2003, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.


6100 Executive Boulevard
5th Floor Conference Room
Rockville, MD 20892

R.S.V.P. to (Space is Limited)

Circle Solutions
Phone: 703-902-1339


Primary objectives for this meeting are to discuss: the ICC primary outcome and core hypotheses; recruitment prior to conception; life-course timeline and study architecture; thematic areas for study focus; and prioritization of pilot studies. Ethical and community outreach issues will also be reviewed.

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