Introduction: The Research Advancement through Cohort Cataloguing and Harmonization (ReACH) initiative aims to provide Canadian and international research communities with the resource to leverage and carry out leading-edge collaborative research through the optimization and use of Canadian cohorts data and biological samples. The ReACH initiative has implemented a centralized web-based catalogue documenting pregnancy and birth cohorts, complemented by tools facilitating the harmonization and integration of data across cohorts.
Methods: The web-based catalogue describing the 26 pregnancy/birth cohorts which are part of the ReACH initiative was created using the software and methods developed by Maelstrom Research. In collaboration with each of the cohort investigators and data managers, information was gathered to provide study-level description of the cohorts as well as in depth description of all the variables collected at each wave of data collection. All variables were classified under domains of information, to facilitate identification of variables of interest and evaluation of the harmonization potential across studies.
Results: Together, the cohorts have recruited 35,053 mothers, 39,794 children, and 7,579 fathers, totaling 82,426 participants across Canada. The follow-up of participants varies in duration from 16 months to 20 years, with 19 of the cohorts still ongoing. All 26 cohorts collected information from questionnaires, 23 also collected biosamples and 21 performed physical measurements. All cohorts collected information about age, sex, anthropometric measures, and pregnancy and delivery outcomes. The majority of cohorts (≥80%) also collected information about tobacco use, breastfeeding, diseases of the circulatory or respiratory systems, hospitalizations, medication intake, education, income, residence ethnicity and psychological distress and emotions.
Conclusion: The ReACH web-based catalogue is increasingly used to identify studies and variables of interest to support secondary analysis of existing data. Two pilot projects studying maternal alcohol intake during pregnancy are underway, and we hope more initiatives will make use of the platform.
Stephanie Atkinson– Professor, McMaster University
Alan Bocking– Professor, University of Toronto
William Fraser– Professor, Université de Sherbrooke
Isabel Fortier– Associate professor, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre