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Largest-Ever Study of U.S. Child Health Begins

WASHINGTON - Scientists begin recruiting mothers-to-be in North Carolina and New York this week for the largest study of U.S. children ever performed - aiming eventually to track 100,000 around the country from conception to age 21.

"We are embarking on the road to discovering the preventable causes of the major chronic diseases that plague American children today," Dr. Philip Landrigan of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, one of the lead researchers, declared Tuesday.

Nearly a decade in the planning, the ambitious National Children's Study tackles a major mystery: How the environment - everything from a pregnant woman's diet to a child's exposure to various chemicals - interacts with genetics to affect youngsters' health and development.

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