Conditions Affecting Neurocognitive Development and Learning in Early Childhood

What Is CANDLE?

What is the CANDLE study?

CANDLE is an observational, longitudinal cohort research study of the development and ability to learn in children from birth to age four. The Candle study has enrolled 1503 healthy pregnant women in Shelby County. The study name "CANDLE" stands for Conditions Affecting Neurocognitive Development and Learning in Early Childhood.

What is the Purpose of the Candle study?

The purpose of the Candle study is to identify factors during a pregnancy and baby's first three years that impact the baby's development and ability to learn.

Special note: Women who join the CANDLE study will continue to receive prenatal care and education from their own obstetrician. They will not be asked to take any study medications or change any of their eating or health habits.

What questions do the CANDLE researchers want to answer?

  • What is the effect of a mother's home environment, prenatal habits, and nutrition intake, on the child's development and ability to learn?
  • What is the effect of a child's home environment, parental and non-parental care (daycare, grandparents or other babysitters etc.), and health care on the child's development and ability to learn?
  • What is the effect of exposure to toxins before and after birth on a child's development and ability to learn?
  • What is the effect of genetics on a child's development and ability to learn?

How will they learn the answers?

The CANDLE research study staff will follow healthy pregnant Shelby County weman through their pregnancy and delivery, and continue to follow their babies until the baby is four years old. "CANDLE Moms" will provide information by completing questionnaires and providing routine lab samples. Information about "CANDLE babies" will be gathered when a mom answers questions about her baby (health, eating and sleeping habits) and when the baby is assessed by a child development specialist each year. During the approximately four and a half years that a woman and baby are part of the CANDLE study there are a total of 9 CANDLE visits (see below). CANDLE moms will receive gift cards at each visit as our way of saying "Thank you for being such an important part of this important study!"

CANDLE Visit Schedule

  • Enrollment (M1): The CANDLE mother comes for a clinic visit when she is 16-26 weeks pregnant. This visit includes questionnaires and a blood and urine sample. A $50 gift card given at the 1st visit.
  • 3rd Trimester (M2): The CANDLE mother comes for a clinic visit when she is 27-42 weeks pregnant. This visit includes questionnaires and a blood and urine sample. A $30 gift card given.
  • Delivery (M3): When the baby is born, mothers will receive a brief hospital visit from a CANDLE staff member before you go home. During delivery, hospital labor and delivery staff will routinely collect maternal blood, maternal urine, placenta, and umbilical cord blood samples. $50 gift card given at the hospital.
  • 4-week Home Visit (HV1): 4 weeks after delivery, a CANDLE research assistant will visit the home and collect information from the mother about herself and the child. A $35 gift card is given.
  • 12-month Clinic Visit (CV1): When the child is 12 months old, both mom and child will come to the clinic for a 4-hour visit. Mom will fill out questionnaires and baby will receive cognitive, motor and language skills assessments by a child development specialist. Clinic staff will take standard measurements of growth. $100 gift card is given.
  • 24-month Clinic Visit (CV2): When the child is 24 months old, both mom and child will come to the clinic for a 4-hour visit. Mom will fill out questionnaires and baby will receive cognitive, motor and language skills assessments by a child development specialist. Clinic staff will take standard measurements of growth. $100 gift card is given.
  • 24-month Home Visit (HV2): When the child is 24 months old, a CANDLE research assistant will visit the home and collect information from the mother about herself and the child. A $35 gift card is given.
  • 36-month Clinic Visit (CV3): When the child is 36 months old, both mom and child will come to the clinic for a 4-hour visit. Mom will fill out questionnaires and baby will receive cognitive, motor and language skills assessments by a child development specialist. Clinic staff will take standard measurements of growth. $100 gift card is given.
  • 48-60-month Clinic Visit (CV4): When the child is between 48-60 months old, both mom and child will come to the clinic for a 4-hour visit. Mom will fill out questionnaires and baby will receive cognitive, motor and language skills assessments by a child development specialist. Clinic staff will take standard measurements of growth. A blood sample is taken from the child. $100 gift card is given.
  • Phone Visits: Our friendly CANDLE staff will contact moms every 3 months to collect health and dietary information and give appointment reminders.