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Special Issue "Population-Based Birth Cohort Studies in Epidemiology"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2020

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Cristina Canova

Department of Cardio-Thoraco-Vascular Sciences and Public Health, University of Padova, 35131 Padova, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: population-based birth cohort study; longitudinal studies; environmental epidemiology; pharmacoepidemiology; real-world data
Guest Editor
Dr. Anna Cantarutti

Laboratory of Healthcare Research & Pharmacoepidemiology, Unit of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Public Health, Department of Statistics and Quantitative Methods, University of Milano-Bicocca, 20126 Milan, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: population-based birth cohort study; longitudinal studies; pharmacoepidemiology; utilization, comparative safety and effectiveness of prescription medications in pregnant women and their offspring

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Progressive technological and organizational improvements in recording, storing and integrating healthcare data have increased interest in the use of real-world data to enhance the efficiency of research and to bridge evidentiary gaps between clinical research and practice. Real-world data derives from a variety of sources, including health administrative databases (HADs) and electronic health records. HADs are designed to collect information related to healthcare services such as drug prescriptions, hospital discharge records, birth and mortality records, exemptions from health-care copayments and so on for administrative purposes. However, they are increasingly being used to examine features of healthcare delivery such as practice patterns, quality of care, safety and effectiveness of drugs, and other parameters that can be evaluated by means of epidemiological studies, as well as to support healthcare/policy decision-making. In countries with a universal healthcare system, these data sources reliably reflect health-related conditions at a population level, by gathering widespread information at the individual level.

Despite the difficulty of disentangling risk factors, the period of in utero development is one of the most critical windows during which adverse conditions and exposures may influence the growth and development of the fetus, as well as its future postnatal developmental and behavioral outcomes. Therefore, the prenatal and early postnatal periods are important for identifying critical windows of susceptibility.

Birth cohort studies are the most appropriate design to determine the causal relation between potential risk factors during the prenatal period and the health of the newborn and child. Since individuals are followed longitudinally across their life span from birth, or even from the intrauterine period, birth cohorts allow us to delineate associations between early exposures and subsequent outcomes. Birth cohorts based on the recruitment and active follow-up of mothers and children allow the collection of biological material, and specific clinical and genetic information. However, they require a considerable amount of time and resources and, besides being usually of limited size, they are exposed to the risk of loss of subjects to follow-up, with decrease statistical power and possible selection bias. For these reasons, linking the medical birth register with administrative health records for mothers and babies—first carried out in the Scandinavian countries—is increasingly being used in other countries, including Italy, Scotland, Canada, Australia, the US and the Netherlands, amongst others.

This Special Issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH) focuses on the current state of knowledge on perinetal and postnatal exposures and adverse pregnancy, maternal, fetal and neonatal outcomes through record-linkage, population-based birth cohort study designs. Papers of a high academic standard addressing these topics are invited for submission to this Special Issue.

Possible topics for this Special Issue include:

  1. Pharmacoepidemiology in pregnancy and childhood and the epidemiology of pregnancy and related neonatal complications;
  2. Maternal social disadvantage and birth outcomes;
  3. Exposure to prenatal environmental risk factors (i.e. air pollution, chemicals, etc.) on perinatal and childhood outcomes;
  4. Safety and effectiveness of prescription medications in pregnant women and their offspring.

Prof. Dr. Cristina Canova
Dr. Anna Cantarutti
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Birth cohort study
  • Epidemiology
  • Real-world data
  • Record linkage
  • Perinatal and postnatal exposure
  • Environmental exposure
  • Pharmacoepidemiology

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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