B3071 - Parental alcohol use and offspring mental health - 06/03/2018

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Marcus Munafò | MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit (UK)
Miss Kayleigh Easey, Dr Luisa Zuccolo, Professor Nicholas Timpson
Title of project: 
Parental alcohol use and offspring mental health
Proposal summary: 

Previous research has shown detrimental offspring outcomes for children prenatally exposed to alcohol. However, uncertainty remains as to whether these negative offspring outcomes are due to the intrauterine environment, or environmental influences after birth, for example parental lifetime drinking. Further investigation is required to assess the impact of parental alcohol use on offspring outcomes. The research that has been previously conducted in this area has focused on academic outcomes, with less focus on the influence maternal and partner drinking may have on offspring mental health.
In addition, valid reports of alcohol use may be affected by under-reporting. Using parental methylation markers that are predictive of alcohol use, could be a more biologically valid method for assessing alcohol consumption. These methylation-based biomarkers were developed by Liu et al (2018) and are currently being validated by co-applicants (LZ) in ALSPAC. The proposed study will use such biomarkers to assess if this produces a stronger signal, in comparison to self-reported alcohol use.

Impact of research: 
To further inform the evidence of child mental health risks and steps that can be taken to reduce harm.
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 20 February, 2018
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Mental health, Statistical methods, Biomarkers - e.g. cotinine, fatty acids, haemoglobin, etc., Epigenetics, Mental health, alcohol