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Not Enough Takers

The UK has called off its long-term study of some 80,000 babies, Nature News reports. The Life Study had aimed to follow this cohort throughout their lives and collect data on their health, development, and wellbeing.

However, the study has been shuttered following low enrollment, Nature News says. The researchers expected to have 16,000 prospective mothers sign up by July 2016, but between January and early September of this year, only 249 women did. A July review of the project highlighted recruitment as a major concern.

"We couldn't take the risk of putting more and more money into it," Fiona Armstrong, who was responsible for Life Study at the Economic and Social Research Council, says. ESRC and other funding agencies spent £9 million (US$13.8 million) on the study.

This move comes shortly on the heels of the cancellation of similar US-based study, the National Children's Study. The NCS was halted at the end of last year due to scientific disagreements and mismanagement.

The abandonment of such projects, Nature News says, may make other researchers wary of taking on such grand studies in the future.

"I am afraid that the scientific community may not dare to embark on similarly ambitious cohort studies in the near future," says Camilla Stoltenberg, who heads the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and chaired the inter­national scientific-advisory committee to the UK Life Study.

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