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Rationale, Study Design, and Cohort Characteristics for the Markers for Environmental Exposures (MEE) Study.

  • Author(s): Lucia, Rachel McFarland;
  • Huang, Wei-Lin;
  • Alvarez, Andrea;
  • Thampy, Daphne;
  • Elyasian, Melodie;
  • Hidajat, Amanda;
  • Yang, Kailynn;
  • Forman, Danielle;
  • Pebdani, Asana;
  • Masunaka, Irene;
  • Brain, Susie;
  • Heditsian, Diane;
  • Lee, Vivian;
  • Goodman, Deborah;
  • Norden-Krichmar, Trina M;
  • Odegaard, Andrew O;
  • Ziogas, Argyrios;
  • Park, Hannah Lui
  • et al.

Environmental factors have been linked to many diseases and health conditions, but reliable assessment of environmental exposures is challenging. Developing biomarkers of environmental exposures, rather than relying on self-report, will improve our ability to assess the association of such exposures with disease. Epigenetic markers, most notably DNA methylation, have been identified for some environmental exposures, but identification of markers for additional exposures is still needed. The rationale behind the Markers for Environmental Exposures (MEE) Study was to (1) identify biomarkers, especially epigenetic markers, of environmental exposures, such as pesticides, air/food/water contaminants, and industrial chemicals that are commonly encountered in the general population; and (2) support the study of potential relationships between environmental exposures and health and health-related factors. The MEE Study is a cross-sectional study with potential for record linkage and follow-up. The well-characterized cohort of 400 postmenopausal women has generated a repository of biospecimens, including blood, urine, and saliva samples. Paired data include an environmental exposures questionnaire, a breast health questionnaire, dietary recalls, and a food frequency questionnaire. This work describes the rationale, study design, and cohort characteristics of the MEE Study. In addition to our primary research goals, we hope that the data and biorepository generated by this study will serve as a resource for future studies and collaboration.

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