A pilot study was launched in 2007 to test the Elfe study’s feasibility and acceptability. Today, we continue to track around 300 families living in the following regions: Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (Savoie, Isère, Loire, Ardèche), Bourgogne-Franche-Comté (Yonne, Nièvre, Côte-d’Or, Saône-et-Loire), Hauts-de-France (Somme, Oise, Aisne) and Île-de-France (Yvelines, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne). This year, new families are being invited to join the pilot study.
Thanks to all the families involved in the pilot study, Elfe’s organization is continually being fine-tuned to ensure that each stage goes as smoothly as possible for all concerned, from the way the parents are contacted to the way the information we collect is used.
This pilot study provides an opportunity to check the study’s feasibility, validate the methods on a small scale, and then adapt them to the different stages rolled out at national level. Invaluable lessons have been (and continue to be) learned at the logistical, organizational and scientific levels, concerning data collection tools, the transport and storage of biological samples, and the types of questions that are asked.
Our latest survey: we caught up with the children enrolled in the pilot study as they turned 10 or 11
In spring 2018, parents in the pilot study were invited to take part in a new phone interview and a home visit. Meeting the children at home allowed us to measure their height and weight, assess their respiratory function, and give them computer games to test their memory and attention span. Children also answered questions about their everyday lives and performed exercises to measure their physical fitness and motor abilities. In addition, families were asked to undergo biological sampling in a laboratory so that we could study various biological markers of their children’s health or measure their exposure to certain pollutants.
Focus on the biological sampling at 10-11 years
For this operation, families went to their local medical laboratory to have samples of their children’s blood, hair, urine and saliva taken. The purpose of this sampling was to enrich the health data we have been collecting from the families since their children were born.
The laboratories immediately measured blood fat and sugar levels. The remaining samples were frozen and will remain so until they are needed for research projects. The analyses conducted for research purposes will tell us which substances the children are exposed to, so that we can find out how their health is affected, and give us a clearer picture of their health status.