Proposal summaries

These are research proposals that have been approved by the ALSPAC exec. The titles include a B number which identifies the proposal and the date on which the proposals received ALSPAC exec approval.

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B4590 - Examining Environmental and Genomic Contributions to Adolescent Risky Behaviors - 17/04/2024

B number: 
B4590
Principal applicant name: 
Gabriel Schlomer | University at Albany, SUNY
Co-applicants: 
Title of project: 
Examining Environmental and Genomic Contributions to Adolescent Risky Behaviors
Proposal summary: 

The purpose of this project is to expand the scope of a previous project (B3077) to include a broader range of environmental influences and outcomes pertinent to adolescent development. In this project, environmental influences, particularly during early development, will be examined as predictors of adolescent risk behaviors, such as risky sex, aggressive behavior problems, and delinquency. Genetic and epigenetic contributions will be examined as potential explanations for these associations and/or as controls.

Impact of research: 
Expanding the scope of B3077 will allow for greater insights on the environmental and genomic etiology of a broader range of adolescent risk behaviors and their antecedents.
Date proposal received: 
Thursday, 11 April, 2024
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 17 April, 2024
Keywords: 
Social Science, Behaviour - e.g. antisocial behaviour, risk behaviour, etc., Mental health, Statistical methods, Childhood - childcare, childhood adversity, Development, Epigenetics, Fathers, Genetics, Growth, Parenting, Puberty, Social science

B4580 - Maternal depression during pregnancy and child neurodevelopment and mental health outcomes - 17/04/2024

B number: 
B4580
Principal applicant name: 
Hanan El Marroun | Erasmus MC (Netherlands)
Co-applicants: 
Miss Jana Hermans, Dr. Charlotte Cecil
Title of project: 
Maternal depression during pregnancy and child neurodevelopment and mental health outcomes.
Proposal summary: 

Prenatal depression presents a burden and potential risks for the expecting women (Chung et al., 2001; Kim et al. 2013) and may have long-term consequences for the child regarding their cognitive, behavioural, and emotional development (Madigan et al., 2018; Rogers et al., 2020). However, there is a lack of large-scale studies investigating the relationship between prenatal maternal depression and child behavioural and emotional development that control for a common set of relevant potential confounding variables. In this project, we aim to study the effects of prenatal maternal depression on children’s long-term behavioural development and mental health, leveraging large-scale, multi-cohort data in the EU Child Cohort Network. As a secondary objective, we plan to disentangle the effects of pre-pregnancy, prenatal and postnatal depression on offspring development. The strength that comes with studying this research question in the LifeCycle cohort is the large amount of harmonised, multi-cohort data available, which allows us to investigate offspring outcomes over time while also controlling for relevant confounding factors. Furthermore, rather than focusing on a single behavioural outcome, our approach will be comprehensive in that it will examine a range of measures including cognition, internalising and externalising behaviour, and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This can aid our understanding of symptom profiles for children prenatally exposed to maternal depression.

Impact of research: 
This research will give insight into the prospective associations between exposure to prenatal maternal depression and cognitive and child mental health outcomes. This objective will be studied comprehensively by leveraging large-scale, multi-cohort data in the EU Child Cohort Network. Furthermore this project could disentangle the effects of pre-pregnancy, prenatal and postnatal depression on offspring development.
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 15 April, 2024
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 17 April, 2024
Keywords: 
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Behaviour - e.g. antisocial behaviour, risk behaviour, etc., Developmental disorders - autism, Mental health, Pregnancy - e.g. reproductive health, postnatal depression, birth outcomes, etc., Speech/language problem, Statistical methods, Cognition - cognitive function, Development, Offspring, Speech and language

B4592 - Investigating the relationship between prenatal alcohol exposure and musculoskeletal impairments - 15/04/2024

B number: 
B4592
Principal applicant name: 
Cheryl McQuire | University of Bristol, Centre for Public Health (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Gregory Allister, Dr Michael Daly, Dr Caroline Taylor , Dr Katherine Staines
Title of project: 
Investigating the relationship between prenatal alcohol exposure and musculoskeletal impairments
Proposal summary: 

Prenatal Alcohol Exposure (PAE) can lead to problems with learning and behaviour, as well as physical abnormalities including distinctive facial features and stunted growth. Existing studies have identified some associations between PAE and a wide variety of other abnormalities including various musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders. Studies on the MSK effects of prenatal alcohol exposure in mice have replicated this finding and found that males were more affected by PAE than females. This has yet to be studied in human participants. Our study seeks to estimate the association between PAE and MSK abnormalities among participants enrolled in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), and assess whether these effects differ between males and females.

Impact of research: 
We anticipate that this research will provide the first population-based estimate of the impact of PAE on MSK indicators and outcomes in a human sample.
Date proposal received: 
Friday, 12 April, 2024
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 15 April, 2024
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Bone disorders - arthritis, osteoporosis, Statistical methods, Bones (and joints)

B4582 - To what extent can genetic factors that are associated with empathy explain individual differences in parenting - 12/04/2024

B number: 
B4582
Principal applicant name: 
Florina Uzefovsky | ben gurion university of the negev
Co-applicants: 
emily hayun
Title of project: 
To what extent can genetic factors that are associated with empathy explain individual differences in parenting?
Proposal summary: 

Parenting is a broad term collating a host of behaviors and emotional responses to one's children. Sensitive and adaptive parenting is considered to reflect the parent's capacity for empathy, i.e., the ability to understand and share in the emotions of others. Interestingly, individual's differences in both parenting and empathy can be partially explained genetic factors. Yet it is still unknown whether genetic predisposition toward empathy can also explain differences in parenting. This project seeks to answer these questions by calculating individuals' empathy polygenic score, that is a score of their genetic potential for empathy, based on a previous genome wide study (N= 46,861, Warrier et al., 2018), and then to examine whether this score is associated with better parenting as measured by questionnaires within the ALSPAC cohort. This study promises to enhance our comprehension of the genetic dimensions of parenting and their interconnectedness with empathy as a fundamental trait. By unraveling these intricate connections, we can foster a more nuanced understanding of the complexities shaping parenting behaviors at the genetic level.

Impact of research: 
The findings are expected to enhance our understanding of how genetic factors are associated with parenting behaviors, contributing valuable insights into the mechanisms behind effective parenting. The research aims to deepen our comprehension of how genetic factors influence parenting behaviors, shedding light on effective parenting mechanisms. This understanding could lead to tailored interventions and support systems that promote empathetic parent-child relationships. Ultimately, the study aspires to contribute to the broader scientific understanding of the genetic basis of human behavior, particularly in the context of parenting, potentially influencing future research and strategies for promoting positive parenting outcomes.
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 2 April, 2024
Date proposal approved: 
Friday, 12 April, 2024
Keywords: 
Genetic epidemiology (including association studies and mendelian randomisation), parenting and empathy , GWAS, Parenting

B4584 - Neighbourhood effects and social cognition - 12/04/2024

B number: 
B4584
Principal applicant name: 
Dan Major-Smith | University of Bristol
Co-applicants: 
Dr Nikhil Chaudhary
Title of project: 
Neighbourhood effects and social cognition
Proposal summary: 

Examing the factors which shape social cognition (e.g., psychosis-like symptoms and emotional recognition) may help in understanding the precursors for later psychiatric disorders (e.g., schizophrenia) and potentially aid in identifying at-risk individuals and populations. Aspects of the local neighbourhood - such as crime rates and the state of the built environment - may shape our social cognition and therefore be an important modifiable risk factor for the development of such thoughts and behaviours. For instance, levels of threat in the local environment (e.g., crime and antisocial behaviour) may increase the risk of developing paranoid symptoms, a precursor for schizophrenia.

Impact of research: 
To hopefully provide a better understanding of the social determinants and precursors to sub-clinical symptoms of psychiatric disorders, which could help inform policy and identify/help at risk individuals/populations.
Date proposal received: 
Friday, 5 April, 2024
Date proposal approved: 
Friday, 12 April, 2024
Keywords: 
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Mental health, Cognition - cognitive function

B4585 - Cross-sectional and prospective associations between engagement in the arts and mental health issues - 12/04/2024

B number: 
B4585
Principal applicant name: 
Naomi Warne | University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Dr Helen Bould, Gideon Gyeabour Ansu
Title of project: 
Cross-sectional and prospective associations between engagement in the arts and mental health issues
Proposal summary: 

This project sets out to investigate whether involvement in the arts is associated with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and eating disorders among young people. By analysing data from this large community study tracking the development of young people over time, we aim to explore:
1) Current Relationship: We will look into the connection between participating in the arts and the mental health of young individuals at the same time.
2) Future Impact: We aim to understand if there's a link between participating in the arts at one time and later mental health outcomes of young people. This will help us determine if arts involvement could potentially act as a preventive measure against mental health issues.

By undertaking this careful analysis, we hope to provide high-quality evidence regarding the potential benefits of arts engagement in promoting good mental wellbeing in young people. This research could inform interventions and policies aimed at promoting mental health through creative activities, potentially offering valuable insights into preventive strategies for anxiety, depression, and eating disorders among young individuals.

Impact of research: 
This project will build evidence around the role of arts engagement in young people’s mental health. While this is a rapidly developing research area, there is a dearth of research using good-quality epidemiological methods. By providing a careful examination using ALSPAC, we can improve our understanding of whether engagement in the arts may play a role in protecting against mental health issues. This will help confirm and identify targets for vital new treatments and prevention measures, or highlight that investment in alternative causal mechanisms would be more fruitful.
Date proposal received: 
Friday, 5 April, 2024
Date proposal approved: 
Friday, 12 April, 2024
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Eating disorders - anorexia, bulimia, Mental health

B4588 - The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on self-harm thoughts and behaviours in the ALSPAC cohort - 12/04/2024

B number: 
B4588
Principal applicant name: 
Becky Mars | Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Gamaliel Apeawini, Dr Naomi Warne , Miss Bushra Farooq
Title of project: 
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on self-harm thoughts and behaviours in the ALSPAC cohort
Proposal summary: 

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had an immense impact on people’s lives worldwide. This may be particularly true for those with mental health issues. In the UK, presentations to hospitals for self-harm decreased markedly during the early period of the pandemic, before returning to normal levels (Paterson et al., 2023). This reduction was also reported in a systematic review (John, Eyles et al. 2020). However, one study found increased cases of self-harm thoughts in the emergency department, particularly for adolescent females (Sara, Wu et al. 2023). Patterns also differed according to factors such as socioeconomic status and age (Sara, Wu et al. 2023).

Results from a population-based survey suggest that suicidal thoughts and anxiety disorders increased during the pandemic, particularly among young adults, lower socioeconomic groups, and those with a history of mental health conditions (O'Connor, Wetherall et al. 2021). However, a population-wide data linkage study found unchanged patterns among individuals aged over 65 years, people living alone, or residents of affluent areas (Paterson et al., 2023). In another study, factors found to influence hospital presentations for self-harm during COVID-19 in the UK included COVID-19 infection, lockdown restrictions, limited access to psychiatric healthcare services, isolation, and mental health problems (Hawton, Lascelles et al. 2021).

The objective of this project is to identify the factors associated with self-harm thoughts and behaviours among young adults in the ALSPAC cohort during COVID-19. The study will contribute to the existing literature by using ALSPAC pre and post-pandemic data, collected prospectively, to identify different risk factors for self-harm thoughts and behaviours in the population. We will examine ten different risk factors related to self-harm thoughts and behaviours including participants’ demographics, mental health and personality, physical factors, and protective factors.

Impact of research: 
Date proposal received: 
Thursday, 11 April, 2024
Date proposal approved: 
Friday, 12 April, 2024
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Mental health, Statistical methods, self harm and suicide

B4586 - Multi-modal indices of connection in mother-infant relationships in UK and South Africa the role of mutual touch and eye gaze - 17/04/2024

B number: 
B4586
Principal applicant name: 
Nicky Wright | Manchester Metropolitan University (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
DEBORAH OKAGBARE, Dr Julia Wolska, Professor Rebecca Pearson
Title of project: 
Multi-modal indices of connection in mother-infant relationships in UK and South Africa, the role of mutual touch and eye gaze.
Proposal summary: 

Therefore, the primary objective of this study is to gain a deeper understanding of infant-mother touch and eye gaze, particularly examining; Are there more or lesser amounts of touch behaviour, gaze in UK vs South Africa caregivers, and are there similar or distinct connections between touch, eye gaze and positive emotional expression?
This is a project which is part of a project we already have approved (B4039), but Matt Hardcastle requested we need to submit a new proposal as the data will be used in Deborah's thesis.

Impact of research: 
Information on how to support positive mother-infant interaction.
Date proposal received: 
Saturday, 6 April, 2024
Date proposal approved: 
Friday, 12 April, 2024
Keywords: 
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Parenting

B4587 - Dietary patterns at 30 difference in generations and sexes - 12/04/2024

B number: 
B4587
Principal applicant name: 
Kate Northstone | University of Bristol, UK (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Dr Pauline Emmett, Caroline Taylor
Title of project: 
Dietary patterns at 30: difference in generations and sexes
Proposal summary: 

This project will aim to summarise the dietary patterns of the two generations of ALSPAC. The same food frequency questionnaire was administed to both the parents and their 30 year old offspring. Dietary patterns allow us to look at the diet as a whole rather than individiual foods or nutrients to provide an overall summary of dietary intake. Principal Components Analysis will be used - this method uses the existing correlations between food groups to identify those foods and gfood groups that are commonly consumed in combination.

Impact of research: 
To our knowledge no other study has the same data collected at the same timepoint in two different generations.
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 8 April, 2024
Date proposal approved: 
Friday, 12 April, 2024
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Nutrition - breast feeding, diet

B4589 - Tackling excess energy consumption and obesity ultra processed foods versus foods high in fat salt and/or sugar - 12/04/2024

B number: 
B4589
Principal applicant name: 
Kate Northstone | University of Bristol, UK (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Professor Eric Robinson, Genevieve Buckland
Title of project: 
Tackling excess energy consumption and obesity: ultra processed foods versus foods high in fat, salt and/or sugar
Proposal summary: 

It is well known that we are in the midst of an obesity epidemic and it's widely accepted that unhealthy eating behaviours are the biggest reason. Recently, the government has focussed on inverventions involving foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt and/or sugar (HFSS). However, this does not take into account the amount of processing that foods undergo - several recent studies have shown that increased consumption of ultra-processed foods (UPFs) are related to weight gain. As part of a wider grant, this proposal is specifically to use ALSPAC data collected from dietary diaries in childhood to examine dietary patterns associated with both HFSS and UPFs in the development of obesity.

Impact of research: 
A better understanding of the contribution of different food types and different dietary patterns to the obesity epidemic.
Date proposal received: 
Thursday, 11 April, 2024
Date proposal approved: 
Friday, 12 April, 2024
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Behaviour - e.g. antisocial behaviour, risk behaviour, etc., BMI, Nutrition - breast feeding, diet

B4530 - Association between Visceral Adiposity Index and risk of hypertension among adolescents - 10/04/2024

B number: 
B4530
Principal applicant name: 
Chen yanmei | Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou 510515, China.
Co-applicants: 
Zhou Jiajun MD, He Fengling MD, Xu wenlong MD, Tang Yating MD
Title of project: 
Association between Visceral Adiposity Index and risk of hypertension among adolescents.
Proposal summary: 

This project aims to explore the association between Visceral adipose index (VAI) and hypertension in adolescents in order to make the primary screening and prevention of hypertension among the adolescent population more convenient, thereby reducing the morbidity of hypertension.

Impact of research: 
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 12 March, 2024
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 10 April, 2024
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Hypertension, Statistical methods, Cardiovascular

B4579 - The dominance dynamic in the family social control prestige attachment style and downstream consequences - 09/04/2024

B number: 
B4579
Principal applicant name: 
Drew Altschul | The University of Edinburgh (UK)
Co-applicants: 
Dr Adam Moore
Title of project: 
The dominance dynamic in the family: social control, prestige, attachment style, and downstream consequences
Proposal summary: 

Attachment insecurity (e.g., attachment avoidance and anxiety) is a fundamental characteristic linked to how people engage with and experience power dynamics inherent in social relationships. Social power motives (e.g. dominance, prestige) also predict various behaviours, preferences for, and experiences of social relationships, many of which overlap those connected to attachment insecurity. However, there is no extant work directly linking attachment insecurity to social power motives.

Yet there is ample evidence to hypothesize a relationship. The power motives are associated with the quality and outcomes of various close relationships, including friendships and romantic partnerships. A stronger general power motive in men is linked to breakups, intimate partner violence, and sexual coercion in romantic relationships. In non-romantic friendships, power motives predicts fewer dyadic interactions, increased frustration and guilt in friendship episodes, and more instrumental, assertive, and self-expansive striving in friendship. Similar outcomes have also been linked to differences in adult attachment orientations, suggesting a possible link between power motives and attachment orientations. On the other hand early-life attachment insecurity is also related to important later life outcome variables, such as antisocial behaviour and mental health. Might this relationship be mediated by individuals’ goals are and the way they behave, which are captured by dimensions of social power?

The aims of this project are to look at several factors in an individual’s upbringing, including attachment style, parental personality, socioeconomic status, and parental dynamics, to see how these factors are linked to dominance and prestige seeking personality traits, as well as life outcome variables.

Impact of research: 
At least two scholarly papers are planned to emerge from this research. All told, this project will lead to a better understanding of dysfunctional interpersonal dynamics, both in terms of how parental dynamics are relevant to the futures of their children, and why prior personal experiences and linked with dysfunctional dynamics. Understanding these dynamics will advance our knowledge on issues like relationship quality and satisfaction, domestic violence and dyadic aggression, and sexual coercion. Understanding these links will help to develop policy in education, organizations, and elsewhere to promote healthy and positive interpersonal relationships and behaviour. Moreover, the links between early-life factors such as attachment insecurity and later life outcomes like mental health are complex and multifaceted, and we are far from achieving a complete understanding of these outcomes. Power dynamics and power seeking traits are a fruitful and underexplored area that may significantly contribute to these important outcomes, and by understanding these factors we may gain considerable understanding of how people develop poor mental health and antisocial dispositions. Power dynamics and associated traits are also linked to socioeconomic status and social class, and by particularly examining the intergenerational transfer of these traits, we will gain a better understanding of the enduring effects of socioeconomic position.
Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 27 March, 2024
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 9 April, 2024
Keywords: 
Social Science, Behaviour - e.g. antisocial behaviour, risk behaviour, etc., Statistical methods, Psychology - personality

B4565 - Investigating the Influence of Problem Gambling and Socioeconomic Factors on Suicidality and Negative Mental Health - 03/04/2024

B number: 
B4565
Principal applicant name: 
Anya Skatova | University of Bristol, Bristol Medical School (PHS), MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Mr Oliver Bastiani, Dr Philip Newall, Dr Romana Burgess
Title of project: 
Investigating the Influence of Problem Gambling and Socioeconomic Factors on Suicidality and Negative Mental Health
Proposal summary: 

Recent analysis of longitudinal cohort studies suggests that problem gambling in young adults is associated with subsequent suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts. Our study proposes to replicate these findings in a new cohort (ALSPAC), and expand upon the existing research by investigating whether socioeconomic status factors interact with these relationships, if they exist. Socioeconomic factors are associated with problem gambling and suicidality, but little is known about whether they interact to increase the risk of suicidality. We also hope to investigate if other gambling factors, such as gambling frequency, predict suicidality, as well as investigating if gambling behaviour predicts other negative mental health outcomes, such as self-harm, depressive mood and negative well-being. As problem gambling and suicidality are both public health issues, especially amongst young adults in the UK, understanding the relationships and mechanisms of these problems is important. It is hoped that this research can reveal potential negative mental-health consequences of problem gambling and help identify populations who may be at specific risk of these negative consequences, such as those with lower socioeconomic status. Thus, evidence from this study may inform gambling reduction or suicide prevention strategies to improve their effectiveness and improve the lives of those who may be at risk of gambling problems or suicide.

Impact of research: 
We aim to publish the results of this research in a peer-reviewed journal. It is hoped that these results can be used to inform future problem gambling interventions if we find associations between problem gambling and negative mental health outcomes. Also, if we find associations between the interactions of problem gambling and socioeconomic status and suicidality, we hope that such results can help inform the effectiveness of suicide prevention measures by identifying populations which may be at specific risk. Ultimately, we hope that the impact of this research will improve population health by reducing problem gambling and suicidality.
Date proposal received: 
Thursday, 28 March, 2024
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 3 April, 2024
Keywords: 
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Addiction - e.g. alcohol, illicit drugs, smoking, gambling, etc., Behaviour - e.g. antisocial behaviour, risk behaviour, etc., Mental health, Statistical methods, Cohort studies - attrition, bias, participant engagement, ethics, Environment - enviromental exposure, pollution, Social science, Statistical methods, Gambling, Suicidality, Mental Health

B4575 - Adverse health outcomes in offspring following in utero exposure to maternal medication - 12/04/2024

B number: 
B4575
Principal applicant name: 
Michael Fleming | School of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow. (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Ahmed Aldakhil, Professor Daniel Mackay, Professor Jill Pell
Title of project: 
Adverse health outcomes in offspring following in utero exposure to maternal medication
Proposal summary: 

Pregnancy is a vulnerable period when the foetus undergoes rapid development; therefore, exposure to adverse risk factors can have lifelong implications. Use of medicines during pregnancy is avoided where possible but is sometimes unavoidable. Whilst acute adverse effects following foetal exposure in utero have been assessed for several medicines, possible longer-term effects are not well understood. In particular, their effect on dental and oral outcomes is poorly understood. Using ALSPAC health data will enable us to do novel research to improve our understanding of the effects of taking medication during pregnancy on the child’s oral and dental health and development.

Impact of research: 
Demonstration of adverse associations or failure to demonstrate adverse associations would both be informative to clinicians and pregnant women in terms of caution or reassurance regarding use of the specific drugs during pregnancy.
Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 20 March, 2024
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 27 March, 2024
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Congenital abnormalities, Pregnancy - e.g. reproductive health, postnatal depression, birth outcomes, etc., Statistical methods, Birth outcomes, Development, Dental, Growth, Offspring, Statistical methods

B4572 - Does climate anxiety impact subsequent mental health - 26/03/2024

B number: 
B4572
Principal applicant name: 
Dan Major-Smith | University of Bristol
Co-applicants: 
Dr Isaac Halstead, Mrs Katie Major-Smith
Title of project: 
Does climate anxiety impact subsequent mental health?
Proposal summary: 

Climate change is increasingly affecting our planet, impacting people’s health, security and livelihood, as well as wider biodiversity. Given this, it is perhaps not surprising that many studies have identified ‘climate anxiety’ (or ‘eco-anxiety’) as an emotional response to these events. Numerous studies have found that anxiety regarding climate change is associated with worse mental health, such as higher rates of depressive and anxiety symptoms, although the majority of these studies are small, cross-sectional and from unrepresentative samples, limiting both generalisability and the extent to which causal conclusions can be drawn. There is therefore a need to explore these questions using data from a large-scale longitudinal population-based study; this is what we intend to do here, using data from ALSPAC.

Impact of research: 
By exploring climate anxiety in this longitudinal setting, we hope to inform the debate on climate anxiety and inform potential intervention efforts (e.g., if climate anxiety does not cause mental health, then it would be better to target the root mental health problems rather than climate anxiety to improve population mental health).
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 26 March, 2024
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 26 March, 2024
Keywords: 
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Mental health

B4573 - Using statistical and machine learning approaches to predict bone health from physical activity measured with accelerometers - 26/03/2024

B number: 
B4573
Principal applicant name: 
Louise Millard | Department of Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School
Co-applicants: 
Dr Gemma Clayton, Professor Jon Tobias, Zhousiying Wu
Title of project: 
Using statistical and machine learning approaches to predict bone health from physical activity measured with accelerometers
Proposal summary: 

Weight bearing physical activity is known to be beneficial for bone health. Predicting future bone health from accelerometer data may be useful to inform targeted interventions. We will use machine learning and statistical approaches to determine the extent to which bone health can be predicted from physical activity measured with accelerometers.

Impact of research: 
This study will improve understanding of the extent that bone health can be predicted from objectively measured physical activity data, and of the types of activity features that are most predictive of subsequent bone health in adolescence.
Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 20 March, 2024
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 26 March, 2024
Keywords: 
Statistics/methodology, Bone disorders - arthritis, osteoporosis, Statistical methods, Machine learning methods, Bones (and joints), Physical - activity, fitness, function

B4574 - Epigenome-wide association study of exposure to air pollution and NDVI - 26/03/2024

B number: 
B4574
Principal applicant name: 
Ana Goncalves Soares | IEU, University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Sarah Watkins
Title of project: 
Epigenome-wide association study of exposure to air pollution and NDVI
Proposal summary: 

Changes in DNA methylation have been associated with exposure to air pollution and other environmental exposures. However, it is yet unclear whether early life developmental sensitivity or the accumulation of exposures have the most significant effects.
This study will analyse the association of air pollution and normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) with DNA methylation at different ages.

Impact of research: 
Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 20 March, 2024
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 26 March, 2024
Keywords: 
Molecular genetics and genomics, DNA methylation, DNA sequencing, Epigenetics

B4578 - Genome-Wide Association Study of Blood Pressure and the influence of education - 26/03/2024

B number: 
B4578
Principal applicant name: 
Marisa Canadas Garre | University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Professor Nicholas Timpson, Dr Laura Corbin
Title of project: 
Genome-Wide Association Study of Blood Pressure and the influence of education
Proposal summary: 

The Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) consortium is an international organization founded to facilitate large-scale genetic studies among multiple large and well-characterised groups of participants.

The goal of the CHARGE studies is to identify susceptibility genes involved in diseases of the heart, lung, and blood and their risk factors.
In our study, we will analyse the association of gene variants with blood pressure, considering the effect of the educational level in ALSPAC participants. The results will be combined with results from other groups of participants around the world to be able to identify new gene variants that help understand the biology of blood pressure.

Impact of research: 
Greater understanding of the aetiology of blood pressure. This study will help identify novel genetic variants involved in blood pressure and how genetic variants affect these traits considering potential interactions with educational attainment.
Date proposal received: 
Friday, 22 March, 2024
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 26 March, 2024
Keywords: 
Genetic epidemiology (including association studies and mendelian randomisation), Hypertension, Obesity, Computer simulations/modelling/algorithms, Gene mapping, GWAS, Metabolomics, Statistical methods, Biological samples -e.g. blood, cell lines, saliva, etc., Biomarkers - e.g. cotinine, fatty acids, haemoglobin, etc., Metabolic - metabolism, Methods - e.g. cross cohort analysis, data mining, mendelian randomisation, etc., Statistical methods, Blood pressure, BMI, Cardiovascular, Cohort studies - attrition, bias, participant engagement, ethics, Genetic epidemiology, Genetics, Genomics, Genome wide association study

B4577 - Policy engagement project to address Areas of Research Interest of Bristol City Council - 29/03/2024

B number: 
B4577
Principal applicant name: 
Sarah Sullivan | University of Bristol (UK)
Co-applicants: 
Ms Rhiannon Wilson, Dr Jo Williams
Title of project: 
Policy engagement project to address Areas of Research Interest of Bristol City Council
Proposal summary: 

A link between ALSPAC and Bristol City Council (BCC) is needed to ensure that ALSPAC findings can be translated into useful policymaking evidence for Bristol City Council. The link will enable a sustainable infrastructure to be set up to ensure that BCC is aware of the level of evidence that ALSPAC is able to provide on priority health issues and BCC is able to make ALSPAC aware of issues that they would like evidence on. The data to answer these policy questions might already be in the data repository or it might require new funding applications to provide this evidence.

Impact of research: 
The impact of these exercise could be very large. It will the first time that there has been open and two way conversation with stakeholders at BCC who commission public health policy in Bristol.
Date proposal received: 
Thursday, 21 March, 2024
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 26 March, 2024
Keywords: 
Potentially this project might use all or any of the health data included in ALSPAC, Behaviour - e.g. antisocial behaviour, risk behaviour, etc.

B4566 - Transgenerational influence of parental cardiometabolic health and depressive symptoms on child development - 10/04/2024

B number: 
B4566
Principal applicant name: 
Jian Huang | Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) (Singapore)
Co-applicants: 
Prof Dennis Wang, Dr Michelle Kee, Ms Jinyi Che, Ms Ai Ling Teh, Ms Pei Fang Tan, Dr Pan Hong, Dr Evelyn Lau, Dr Candida Vaz, Dr Varsha Gupta, Dr Priti Mishra
Title of project: 
Transgenerational influence of parental cardiometabolic health and depressive symptoms on child development
Proposal summary: 

Over the past three decades, there has been a substantial increase in the prevalence of mental disorders, which remain a leading cause of disease burden worldwide. Mental disorders in adulthood are found associated with poorer overall health and quality of life. Cardiometabolic mechanisms have been implicated in mental illness. For example, overweight and obese individuals are also more likely to be diagnosed with mental illness. Furthermore, perinatal depression and anxiety in mothers can influence offspring's cardiometabolic health and neurodevelopment. However, the effectiveness of parental interventions to improve offspring’s health outcomes is not conclusively established. Given these gaps in knowledge, the transgenerational effects of parental health warrant a more comprehensive investigation. In this project, we will use the ALSPAC cohort to investigate the transgenerational effects of parental cardiometabolic and mental health on offspring’s development. We will also investigate potential mediating pathways via early-life environmental and molecular mechanisms. This project will contribute to identifying potential targets for intervention and critical windows for interventions.

Impact of research: 
Given that parental cardiometabolic health and depressive symptoms may influence offspring’s development via both genetic transmission and genetic nurture, it is crucial to identify potential targets for intervention and critical windows for interventions. Our project will be able to provide insight into both by constructing parental genetic risk scores. By investigating paternal genetic risk, we will also be able to elucidate the role of paternal factors, which are often neglected. In addition, by investigating potential mediating mechanisms via early-life environmental factors, epigenetics metabolomics, and proteomics, this project will be able to provide insight into interventions targeting lifestyle behaviours and nutrition supplements. A better understanding of how multi-omic mechanisms are responsible for early-life cardiometabolic and neurocognitive health may also inform drug development for relevant health conditions in later life. Ultimately, this project has a high translational potential for the improvement of children’s development and its impacts may extend to general health in adulthood.
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 12 March, 2024
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 25 March, 2024
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Behaviour - e.g. antisocial behaviour, risk behaviour, etc., Developmental disorders - autism, Cancer, Cognitive impairment, Diabetes, Learning difficulty, Mental health, Obesity, Pregnancy - e.g. reproductive health, postnatal depression, birth outcomes, etc., Speech/language problem, Computer simulations/modelling/algorithms, Metabolomics, Microarrays, NMR, Proteomics, RNA, Statistical methods, Ageing, Biomarkers - e.g. cotinine, fatty acids, haemoglobin, etc., Expression, Fathers, Genetic epidemiology, Genetics, Genomics, Growth, Immunity, Intelligence - memory, Methods - e.g. cross cohort analysis, data mining, mendelian randomisation, etc., Neurology, Birth outcomes, Nutrition - breast feeding, diet, Offspring, Parenting, Physical - activity, fitness, function, Puberty, Sex differences, Speech and language, Statistical methods, Blood pressure, BMI, Cardiovascular, Childhood - childcare, childhood adversity, Cognition - cognitive function, Development, Epigenetics

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