Within this line of research, the 'Obstetrics Research Group' conducts studies into the distinction between heredity and environment in twins.

Since 1964, the East Flanders Prospective Twin Survey (EFPTS) keeps medical records of pregnancy and birth of all multiple births born in East Flanders. Registered twins can later be addressed to participate in scientific studies. After all, twin studies make it possible to distinguish between heredity "nature" and environment "nurture".

Research projects

A green environment, exposure to traffic and stress during pregnancy as determinants of neurocognitive development during the first life cycle of twins

We analyse the hypothesis that a lot of greenery in the living environment and a reduction of air pollution can have a favorable effect on stress during pregnancy. This concerns both social stress (especially that experienced by the mother) and biological stress (an inflammatory process); where both seem to play a role in the child's cognitive and behavioral development.


The TwinssCan project

The TwinssCan project aims to get a better picture of the neurobiological mechanisms involved in mental wellbeing in general. Studying twins can help determine the extent to which hereditary factors and everyday events can affect mental well-being.

  • researchers: Catherine DeromEvert Thiery + collaboration with Prof. Dr Bart Rutten (Maastricht University)
  • fonds: Part of the "European Community's Seventh Framework Program grant agreement" (Project EU-GEI), 2016 - 2020


The impact of the residential greenness on fetal growth and preterm birth in twin pregnancies. Does stress play a role?


  • The research project on a green living environment and the TwinssCan project are carried out in collaboration with Prof. Dr Tim Nawrot (Hasselt University) and Prof. Dr Bart Rutten (Maastricht University).
  • The "CODATwins" database: The East Flanders Prospective Twin Survey (EFPTS) collaborates with 20 other countries from different continents on the influence of heredity and environment on body weight and height, smoking and lifestyle.



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