Alberta Bloom

The microbiome is the large community of microbes (tiny living things such as bacteria and fungi) that live in and on our bodies. The gut microbiome is especially important because it plays a key role in how the body functions and our everyday wellbeing.

The Alberta BLOOM Premature Child Study (PCS) is dedicated to investigating how the microbiome and immune health of children born premature and term develops over the first years of life and its association with childhood health outcomes like allergies and asthma later in life. We will also study how the microbiome of children born premature differs from the microbiome in the term population.

The study is inviting children born at less than 37 weeks of pregnancy and their mothers AND participants of Pregnancy during the Pandemic (PdP) Study, BLOOM-LTFU, BLOOM-PTN, or PROBIO to join. All participating families will be from the Calgary, Alberta area.

The number of samples collected and clinic visits we ask you to attend will depend on your child’s age at enrollment. If your child is less than 2-years at enrollment, we will ask you to collect samples and attend a clinic visit when they are 1 year old and a second one when they are about 3 years old. If your child is older than 2-years at enrollment, we will only ask you to collect samples and attend one clinic visit when your child is about 3 years old.

The clinic visits take place at the Alberta Children’s Hospital and last about 1 hour. At the clinic visits:

  • A pediatric nurse will do a skin prick allergy test, a quick nose swab and collect a small hair sample to look at stress.
  • A highly trained pediatric health professional will also collect a small blood sample (3-5 mLs) from participating children. The reason we collect this sample is because it provides us with unique information to gain a deeper understanding of children’s immune system and how it develops.

Participating families will also be asked to collect a urine and stool sample from their child at home and complete an online questionnaire within 2 weeks of their study clinic visit(s). The questionnaire asks about your child’s nutrition, environment, medical history, care, health, feeding, sleep habits, hygiene, pets and animal exposure.

The invaluable participation of babies born premature and at term will greatly add to our understanding of the microbiome and will also provide future opportunities to predict outcomes and provide better treatments to children born premature.

Will I be informed about the results from the allergy test done at the clinic visit(s)?

The allergy tests in this study are done to answer research questions and are not diagnostic. However, if we detect a positive result, we will let you know through your family physician or pediatrician.

How long will my child and I be in the research study?

This study plans to follow children until they are around 3.5 years old, but your active involvement in the study will only be at the clinic visit(s) that you are asked to attend.

Are there any costs associated to the study?

There are no costs associated to the study. As part of your child’s participation, you will receive $50.00 in cash for every clinic visit you are asked to attend. This is to help cover costs associated with transportation, parking, etcetera.

My child was born at term and is more than 12 months old, are we still eligible to participate?

Yes absolutely! The study is asking families who have children that are less than 3.5 years old, were born at term or preterm, and participated in the Pregnancy during the Pandemic (PdP) Study, BLOOM-LTFU, BLOOM-PTN, or PROBIO to join.

Thank you so much for considering this opportunity. Please feel free to contact us if you would like more information.