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ROme and Bologna BIrth Cohorts

ROBBIC  is a network of two Italian birth cohorts: GASPII (from Rome) and CONER (from Bologna). These two cohorts are currently participating, as a unique cohort, in the MeDAll  (Mechanisms of the Development of Allergy) project aiming to generate novel knowledge on the mechanisms of initiation of allergy from early childhood to young adulthood, in order to propose early diagnosis, prevention and targets for therapy. MeDAll is a collaborative project supported by the European Union under the Health Cooperation Work Programme of the 7th Framework programme.

ROBBIC participates in the Work Package 3 (Younger cohorts) of the project,  whose objective is to combine existing early-life birth cohorts and to follow up the initiation of early-onset allergy and to define novel phenotypes.


At the beginning of the 2000’s, despite several large birth cohort studies were underway in Europe, no long term follow-up study of newborns had yet been conducted in Italy. In 2001 and 2002, a specific funding from the Italian Ministry of Health was given in order to plan and conduct birth cohort studies in two Italian cities: Rome (Central Italy) and Bologna (North-east Italy). These two cohorts were considered as pilot studies, testing the feasibility for  the definition of a detailed protocol and the establishment of a biological bank in a long term follow-up. This could have been useful for future comprehensive national research.


GASPII and CONER have also been involved in several EU-funded Network projects, such as GA2LEN, ENRIECO, CHICOS

The principal aims of the cohorts

The principal aims of the two birth cohorts were:

  • To evaluate the effect of environmental exposures and diet on children’s health
  • To test several hypotheses regarding genetic-environmental interactions.
The principal outcomes
The principal outcomes of interest were:
  • Common childhood diseases (
  • Wheeze/asthma and allergies,
  • Obesity
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Home injuries.