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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B3090 - Epigenetics in peer victimization and behavioural and emotional development - 05/04/2018

B number: 
B3090
Principal applicant name: 
Matthew Suderman | Integrative Epidemiology Unit (UK)
Co-applicants: 
Rosa Mulder, MSc, Esther Walton
Title of project: 
Epigenetics in peer victimization and behavioural and emotional development
Proposal summary: 

Peer victimization is a widespread phenomenon with many harmful and persistent consequences, such as anxiety, depression, and even suicidal ideation. However, consequences of can vary widely in presentation and severity, which hinders development of appropriate interventions targeted at alleviating the effects of peer victimization. This may in part stem from the fact that little is known about the biological mechanism through which bullying affects children's psychological development and wellbeing. Therefore, we aim to study how peer victimization is related to epigenetic development and explore to what extent epigenetics mediate the association between peer victimization and negative outcomes in children. We will do this by combining data of two large comparable cohorts, ALSPAC in England and Generation R in Holland.

Impact of research: 
Findings could offer novel insights into the role of epigenetics in bullying and child psychological outcomes.
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 26 March, 2018
Keywords: 
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Behaviour - e.g. antisocial behaviour, risk behaviour, etc., Mental health, Computer simulations/modelling/algorithms, Childhood - childcare, childhood adversity, Epigenetics

B3118 - Genome-wide association study of anxiety and depression - 24/05/2018

B number: 
B3118
Principal applicant name: 
Nicholas Timpson | ALSPAC/IEU
Co-applicants: 
Mr Alex Kwong, Professor Cathryn Lewis, Dr John Hettema
Title of project: 
Genome-wide association study of anxiety and depression
Proposal summary: 

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been instrumental in highlighting associations between genetic variants and 1000s of traits. A recent GWAS of major depressive disorder (MDD) by the psychiatric genetics consortium (PGC) has recently identified 44 genetic variants associated with the disorder (Wray et al., 2018). We plan to include ALSPAC data from the mothers and the children in the next round of analysis for both forthcoming MDD and anxiety PGC GWAS. We will prepare summary statistics from the GWAS to be shared with the PGC and perform subsequent in cohort analysis. This will be a big step towards incorporating ALSPAC data into psychiatric genetics. The summary statistics will contain no identifiable information.

Impact of research: 
These will be the largest GWAS on both MDD and anxiety disorders
Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 23 May, 2018
Keywords: 
Genetic epidemiology (including association studies and mendelian randomisation), Mental health, GWAS, Genome wide association study

B3133 - Exploring the longitudinal effect of early maturation on physical and mental wellbeing - 14/06/2018

B number: 
B3133
Principal applicant name: 
Fiona Gillison | University of Bath (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Dr Sean Cumming, Dr Lauren Sherar, Ms Irma Fehratovic
Title of project: 
Exploring the longitudinal effect of early maturation on physical and mental wellbeing
Proposal summary: 

Research suggests that children who reach puberty early are at risk of poorer health and wellbeing. Such ‘early maturing’ children also tend to take part in riskier health behaviours, such as smoking, drinking alcohol and risky sexual activity. However, most studies look at these links at a single point in time, which limits how confident we can be that early maturing causes poorer wellbeing. Few studies have looked at what factors may increase or decrease some of these risks. Our study aims to use the ALSPAC data explore three questions relating to the longer-term health risks of adolescents who mature early. The first builds on work we have done with parents, showing many believe we should judge whether or not a child is overweight differently if they are an early maturer, to avoid labeling them as overweight when they are not. This is a particularly important time to consider how we respond to children's weights, as it is the point at which over 95% of children in England are weighed and measured as part of the National Child Measurement Programme. Some parents have been strong critics of this process, so public health teams and parents alike are interested in exploring how we could interpret and use this information better. To explore whether it is appropriate to use the same means of classifying early and on-time maturers as overweight, we will apply an adjustment for maturity to our calculations of weight status for children at age 11, and explore whether this is a better way of predicting which children will have higher/lower future health risks at age 17 (including obesity, blood pressure and other risk factors). Second, we will compare which factor at at age 10/11 is the stronger predictor of wellbeing in later adolescence; being overweight, or maturing early. Finally, to explore what factors might help children to avoid some of the potential consequences of maturing early, we will look at whether children’s views of the strength and importance of their relationships with parents and peers influence the effect of being an early maturer on their wellbeing by the age of 17 (including depression, positive wellbeing, and risk behaviours such as smoking and drinking).

Impact of research: 
This study will contribute to an increasing body of work exploring how we should use NCMP data being undertaken by the lead investigator. Depending on the findings, it will inform future funding applications and work with policy makers (namely PHE in the first instance) aiming to find better ways of engaging with parents of overweight children in ways that are meaningful to them to help children to maintain a healthy weight in childhood, and experience subsequent benefits to their physical and mental health. It will provide a case study of how we can learn from one field to apply it to another (e.g., applying Dr Cumming's work on biobanding to relevant health settings), developing our understanding of the more individual health and health-preventive needs of adolescents.
Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 13 June, 2018
Keywords: 
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Behaviour - e.g. antisocial behaviour, risk behaviour, etc., Mental health, Obesity, Statistical methods, BMI, Development, Psychology - personality, Physical - activity, fitness, function, Puberty, Sex differences, Social science

B606 - Microvascular Architecture Growth Patterns and Adult Chronic Disease

B number: 
B606
Principal applicant name: 
Prof Robyn Tapp (Monash University, Australia)
Co-applicants: 
Title of project: 
Microvascular Architecture, Growth Patterns and Adult Chronic Disease
Proposal summary: 

27 SEPT 08 Update from Robyn - The data collection for this project is complete. A number of manuscripts are under various stages of completion.

Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 22 January, 2008
Keywords: 
Primary keyword: 

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