Between March and August 2020, we halted the BLOOM study operations due to unprecedented times. Fortunately, as of September 2020, we resumed the enrolment and follow-up of 'BLOOM babies’, following the guidelines from Alberta Health Services. We have implemented a series of steps to reduce or eliminate in-person contact with study participants. For example, we are using a telemedicine platform that allows BLOOM Study personnel to contact participants via teleconference in a confidential and secure manner. We are devoted to continuing with this important study during these challenging times while strictly adhering to UCalgary and Alberta Health Services guidelines for clinical research studies.

The BLOOM Study Team
Our sincere thanks for your continued participation!

What is the Alberta BLOOM Premature Child Study (PCS)?

Keywords: Observational clinical study, microbiome, health, premature infants.

The PCS (Premature Child Study) is an observational clinical study that aims to understand the role of gut microbes found in children born premature and the risk of developing childhood health conditions, like asthma and allergies. BLOOM-PCS will also investigate how the developing microbiome and immune system differs between children born premature and children born at term. We began recruiting participants in Fall 2021. We are recruiting babies from birth as well as from other studies. More details below.

Who can be part of the study?

Infants born in a Calgary, Alberta hospital before 37-weeks gestation and their mothers; or participants of previous studies including Pregnancy During the Pandemic (PdP), BLOOM-PTN,   BLOOM-LTFU, and PROBIO will be invited to participate in the study.  About 405 children born premature and 130 children born at term from Alberta will take part in this study.

What will my and my child's participation in the study involve?

For infants joining at birth

The study will follow infants born premature and their mothers for the first 3.5 years of life. The study will collect several biological samples from the infant and mother in the first 60 days of life, and follow-up with samples from the child at 3 months, 1 year and 3 years (corrected age). Mothers will also be asked to complete questionnaires when their child is 2 weeks, 2 months, 1 year and 3 years corrected age, as well as participate in an interview at 3 months corrected age. Please see figure below for more details.

For children joining from previous studies

 The study will follow children until they are 3.5 years old. Participation in the study involves visiting the Alberta Children’s Hospital for allergy testing and sample collection. The study will also ask participating families to collect biological samples from their child at home and complete online questionnaire(s). Please see figure below for more details. 

What is being studied?

BLOOM PCS is studying biological samples collected from infants and their mothers to gain a better understanding of how the gut microbiome may impact immune response and health outcomes in children born prematurely. The study is also collecting samples from babies born at term to investigate how their microbiome and immune development is different from babies born premature.

Where is this study taking place?

For infants joining at birth

The study will take place at hospitals throughout Calgary while the infant is still in the NICU, and later at the participant’s home. Families will also be asked to attend two clinic visits at the Alberta Children’s Hospital when the participating child is 1 to 2 years of age and again at 3 years of age.  

For children joining from previous studies

The study involves visiting the Alberta Children’s Hospital for allergy testing and sample collection. The rest of the sample collection can be done from the participating child’s home.