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How a $1.3-billion, 21-year study of U.S. children's health fell to pieces
How a $1.3-billion, 21-year study of U.S. children's health fell to pieces

The National Children's Study was launched with a fanfare of expectation and ambition in 2000. The idea was to follow 100,000 American children from the pre-natal stage to age 21, collecting an unprecedented volume of data on "environmental influences (including physical, chemical, biological, and psychosocial) on children’s health and development," in the words of the enabling federal legislation, the Children's Health Act. As Science Magazine reported, it was the largest and most complex longitudinal study of its kind ever planned in the United States. Today, after 14 years and the allocation of $1.3 billion to the task, it's dead. On Dec. 12, National...

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