Melbourne Atopic Cohort Study (MACS)

Current CAR investigators involved: CIs Dharmage & Abramson

Melbourne Atopic Cohort Study (MACS) began as a randomised controlled trial assessing the impact of 3 different infant formulas. It has now become one of the leading international studies researching the natural history, environmental and genetic risk factors for childhood asthma and allergies. MACS recruited 620 babies through antenatal clinics in Melbourne. We refer to them as probands. The family environment and health of both parents and all older siblings were investigated during the antenatal period. Probands were then assessed regularly since birth i.e. every 4 weeks during the first 2 years, annually from 3 to 7 and then again at age 12 years. Skin prick tests (SPTs) were conducted at 6, 12, and 24 months and at 12 years. Lung function was measured at the 12 year follow-up. We are just about to complete the 18-year follow-up of the MACS probands and all the family members. In this follow-up we are measuring lung function, skin barrier function, and SPT to 12 allergens and collecting expired breath condensate. DNA will be genotyped for ten candidate genes. Currently the association between traffic air pollution and eczema at two years is being investigated. Further work investigating the associations between exposure to ambient air pollutants, incidence and persistence of other allergic diseases and lung function can be undertaken.

More information about MACS.