Study completed and recruitment closed


The Cork BASELINE Birth Cohort Study is the first Irish prospective birth cohort study and is led by Dr. Deirdre Murray and a multidisciplinary team including Prof. Jonathan Hourihane, Prof. Mairead Kiely, Prof Alan Irvine and Prof. Louise Kenny as Principal Investigators.

BASELINE is providing detailed information on maternal health, fetal growth, childhood nutrition, growth and development in the first five years of life.

This research was funded by the National Children’s Research Centre with a substantial investment in 2008 and again in 2012.

How does BASELINE work?

BASELINE stands for Babies After SCOPE: Evaluating the Longitudinal Impact using Neurological and Nutritional Impact.

BASELINE is providing detailed information on maternal health, foetal growth, childhood nutrition, growth and development in the first 5 years of life. It includes a number of nutrition-led strands, focused around biomarkers of diet and nutritional status and growth during pregnancy and early infancy as a predictor of early health outcomes

The BASELINE study has used several channels of communication to inform the public about its research. A Facebook page for the study has consistently updated the public about how follow-ups are going, reporting on research and media attention the study has attracted.

The study specific aims were and continue to be:

1. To establish the fetal and early life growth trajectories which foretell later neurocognitive disability and metabolic disorder

2. To establish the incidence and prevalence of food allergy and eczema in Irish children and investigate the relationship between Vitamin D deficiency and allergic disorders of early childhood.

3. To establish the prevalence of maternal and neonatal vitamin D deficiency in an Irish paediatric population.

The BASELINE study is Ireland’s opportunity to establish a longitudinal birth cohort with the potential to answer important questions in the study of diseases in early life, later childhood and beyond. It has the potential to identify risk factors for common disorders such as diabetes, eczema, and asthma. This study has the potential to transform the landscape of paediatric research in Ireland.

During the BASELINE study the team used several channels of communication to inform the public about its research. A Facebook page for the study consistently updated the public about how the study was progressing, reporting on research and media attention the study attracted.

In 2019/2020 reconsenting of the cohort was undertaken where all parents of participants were sent an updated GDPR compliant consent/assent form and asked to complete and send back to the centre. Approximately 634 replied positively and 25 requested either their data to be removed, their samples to be removed or both, therefore approximately 660 (30%) replied. The INFANT centre continues to store and analyse data and samples from participants who did not reconsent to the BASELINE study as a consent declaration was obtained from the Health Research Consent Declaration Committee (HRCDC) in 2021 which permits the continued storage and processing specifically for the BASELINE study and related research in the absence of reconsenting the participants. The Health Research Regulation (HRR) is also adhered to.

Biosamples and personal data from the study continue to be processed for the purpose of the BASELINE study and are stored securely for future related research which can only be undertaken subject to Ethics Committee approval.

We are continuing to carry out important secondary data analysis of the stored data and biosamples collected from the BASELINE cohort, for example data from the BASELINE study is now being used in the IDEA study.
A summary of the outputs from BASELINE data from June 2021-June 2022 is outlined below:

1: Maher, G, et al (2022) ‘Periconceptual and Prenatal Alcohol Consumption and Neurodevelopment at Age Two and Five Years’ European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology.

2: Bowe, A, et al (2022) ‘The predictive value of the ages and stages questionnaire in late infancy for low average cognitive ability at age 5’  Acta Paediatrica111(6), 1194-1200.

3:McCarthy, E., et al (2021) ‘Iron deficiency during the first 1000 days of life: are we doing enough to protect the developing brain?’ Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 1-11.

4: Carter, M, et al (2021) ‘Mid-gestation cytokine profiles in mothers of children affected by autism spectrum disorder: a case–control study’ Scientific Reports11(1), 1-17.

5: Casey, S, et al  (2021) ‘Maternal mid-gestation cytokine dysregulation in mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder’ Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 1-14.

Should you wish to obtain more information regarding the continued storage of your samples and data please contact: Professor Deirdre Murray 
If you would like more information about your rights (including the right to withdraw) please visit our Data Protection page.

Further Reading

Visit the BASELINE website:

More information on the BASELINE study can be found here.