Objectives of the project

The overall specific aim of the project is to systematically examine the effects of stress exposure to bereavement during foetal and early life on both common and rare health outcomes in 6.7 million study subjects. Its novel approaches will break major obstacles or go beyond the limitations in the following research areas:

  • Foetal origins of diseases. It will be the first major study to use a single upstream exposure as the programming factor for a broad range of long-term health consequences. To investigate biomarkers in different stages along the programming pathway in humans is another unique nature.
  • Bereavement. This will fill the significant knowledge gap in research in children who are exposed to bereavement that takes place either during foetal life or during early years in life.
  • Stress. A well-recorded and well-defined stress exposure is used. The design with both short- and long-term outcomes of stress and the biological link between early stress responses and disease susceptibility in humans is the first of its kind. 
  • Register-based research in European countries. It is the first of its kind for large-scale use of multinational data. The joint efforts to use the research infrastructure in Europe will provide invaluable experience for collaboration and strengthen the European leadership in epidemiology and public health, and will open a new horizon for frontier research. It meets the aims to make better value of the register system for the public, in terms of knowledge, disease prevention and treatment, and public health services and policy.