Introduction: There are few longitudinal male cohort studies with serial assessments of growth and puberty.
Objective: To describe the design and implementation of a longitudinal cohort study of Russian boys evaluated annually for growth, development and puberty.
Design/methods: We assembled a multi-disciplinary team of U.S. and Russian researchers to design and conduct a longitudinal boys cohort study in Chapaevsk, Russia with the primary goal of evaluating associations of environmental exposures with growth and puberty. At annual study visits scheduled at each subjects birth month, the same study physician (O.S.) assesses pubertal staging and one nurse (L.S.) measures anthropometric variables. Pubertal assessments are based on a 15 scale for genitalia and pubic hair staging by visual inspection, testicular volume is measured using orchidometers, and penile length is measured with a ruler. Blood and urine samples for hormonal, chemical and genetic analysis were collected at baseline and biennially.
Results: In 20032005, 516 prepubertal boys were recruited at ages 89 years (86% of all eligible Chapaevsk boys) and will be followed annually for at least 10 years. The participation rate has remained high with over 75% followed for 6 years and 64% at 9 years of follow-up with 4319 visits as of February 2014. A core set of 23 anthropometric indices measured at annual visits (e.g., height, weight, segment lengths and diameters, circumferences, skinfolds) are available, as well as an additional 30 measures conducted biennially. Longitudinal curves for selected anthropometric and pubertal measures will be constructed.
Conclusions: To our knowledge, this longitudinal male cohort is the first to have serial assessments of growth and puberty performed by the same physician and nurse followed for over 10 years, from prepuberty to young adulthood. This cohort provides an excellent foundation for describing growth and pubertal development trajectories and evaluating associations with environmental exposures.
20 - 22 Sep 2014
European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology