Study of Pregnancy Hormone Concentrations in Urban and Nomadic Mongolian Women
The National Cancer Institute has been conducting research in countries around the world
with the purpose of documenting international differences in hormone and growth factor
levels with the intent of trying to understand how these relate to health. In particular,
recent evidence suggests that hormones and growth factors very early in life may affect
later disease risk. Dr. Ganmaa, a native Mongolian physician and Harvard-trained scientist
suggested including Mongolia as one of the research settings for the NCI multi-centered
study since the country offers a distinct population with unique lifestyles and traditions.
Over the last decade and a half Mongolia has experienced profound economic changes resulting
in mass migration from a nomadic or semi-nomadic existence to a more western lifestyle in
the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. Together with the contrast in exposures between traditional
and urban settings, migration presents the opportunity to study women as they acculturate to
a more western lifestyle.
Mongolia provides a unique opportunity to assess whether differences in urban and rural
lifestyles and behaviors influence health. The purpose of the study is to assess whether the
pregnancy environment differs in women living a traditional lifestyle compared with a more
urban lifestyle, and by degree of western acculturation among those who have recently
migrated to the capital. We plan to compare steroid hormones and growth factors in maternal
and cord blood samples from pregnant Mongolian women living in rural and urban areas with
pregnant women from the US (at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston), UK (the Avon
Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children), Norway (the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort)
and outside Beijing, China (CDC's randomized trial of pregnancy supplements).
Time Perspective: Prospective
Rebecca Troisi, D.Sc.
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
United States: Federal Government