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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B224 - Exposure to air pollution asthma and lung function - 01/03/2005

B number: 
B224
Principal applicant name: 
Prof John Henderson (University of Bristol, UK)
Co-applicants: 
Title of project: 
Exposure to air pollution, asthma and lung function.
Proposal summary: 

(No outline received).

Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 1 March, 2005
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 1 March, 2005
Keywords: 
Asthma, Environmental Exposure
Primary keyword: 

B230 - Genetic and environmental determinants of arterial function in childhood insight into causal pathways - 01/03/2005

B number: 
B230
Principal applicant name: 
Prof John Deanfield (University College London, UK)
Co-applicants: 
Title of project: 
Genetic and environmental determinants of arterial function in childhood: insight into causal pathways.
Proposal summary: 

Arterial disease that underlies stroke and heart attacks begins in childhood. Changes in the arterial structure and function are seen as early as age 10. We plan to examine which genetic and environmental factors are important at the onset of disease in a well characterised cohort of 7,507 9-11 year old children from the ALSPAC study, in whom we have made detailed measurements of arterial structure and function. This will help to understand the respective contributions of well-known risk factors, such as cholestrol and blood pressure, as well as novel influences such as inflammation and obesity. Better risk prediction and new opportunities for treatment should result.

Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 1 March, 2005
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 1 March, 2005
Keywords: 
Cardiovascular , Environmental Exposure, Genetics, Environmental
Primary keyword: 

B228 - Identification of pregnancies at high risk of pre-term delivery using data available in the 1st and 2nd trimesters - 01/03/2005

B number: 
B228
Principal applicant name: 
Prof Jean Golding (University of Bristol, UK)
Co-applicants: 
Title of project: 
Identification of pregnancies at high risk of pre-term delivery using data available in the 1st and 2nd trimesters.
Proposal summary: 

(No outline received).

Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 1 March, 2005
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 1 March, 2005
Keywords: 
Pregnancy, Pre term
Primary keyword: 

B227 - Sibling competition for family resources child development and the determinants of fertility an evolutionary analysis of British families - 01/03/2005

B number: 
B227
Principal applicant name: 
Mr David Lawson (University College London, UK)
Co-applicants: 
Title of project: 
Sibling competition for family resources, child development and the determinants of fertility: an evolutionary analysis of British families.
Proposal summary: 

1. Abstract

Evolutionary theories of parental investment suggest that parents face a trade-off between offspring quantity and quality, so that an increased number of children at the same wealth dictates negative consequences for individual children. Taking this prediction as a starting point, this study aims to 1) examine the consequences of high fertility on social and health aspects of child development, 2) examine the mechanisms, in terms of differential parenting behaviour, which lead to these consequences, and 3) investigate socioecological factors (namely kin support and wealth) which may relate to variation in the magnitude of effects across the British population. Finally, 4) the study will relate the findings of 3) to theories of fertility determination. When the effect of number of siblings is more negative, actual fertility is expected to relatively lower, and vice versa. All data will be sourced from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), an ongoing extensive longitudinal database of children, and their parents, born in the Avon area of the UK.

2. Theoretical Background

Human evolutionary ecology is the study of the ecological and evolutionary basis of human behaviour, and the roles of behaviour in enabling humans to adapt to their diverse environments (Cronk, 1991; Voland, 1998; Winterhalder & Smith, 2000). A principle focus of human evolutionary ecology is patterns of human reproduction, and the life-history trade-offs this presents. Two main categories of life-history trade-off can be identified, and in an evolutionary sense, how one mother fares relative to another depends on how well these are handled over the lifecourse. The first trade-off is between current and future reproduction (Gadgil & Bossert, 1970; Williams, 1966), and is investigated empirically on the potential impacts of high fertility and early age at reproduction on a mother's survival and subsequent fertility (Perls, Alpert, & Fretts, 1997; Sear, Mace, & McGregor, 2003; Westendorp & Kirkwood, 1998). The second, and the focus of the proposed research, is between offspring number and offspring quality (Lack, 1947, , 1954; Lessells, 1991; Smith & Fretwell, 1974; Williams, 1966). Since both trade-offs involve the allocation of parental resources (time, wealth, energy) into alternative investments, and since an individual's resource budget is finite, these trade-offs are seen as inevitable.

The quantity-quality trade-off envisages children as competing for family resources, so that, controlling for parental resources, higher fertility will be related to negative consequences for individual children. Within developed countries evidence for this primarily comes from sociological studies of educational achievement. Across various measures of intellectual skills and educational success, individuals with the fewest siblings do the best according to studies that have used multiple datasets collected in both the United States (Alwin, 1991; Blau & Duncan, 1967; Circirelli, 1978; Downey, 1995; Featherman & Hauser, 1978; Kuo & Hauser, 1997; Mercy & Steelman, 1982; Parcel & Menaghan, 1994; L. C. Steelman, 1985; Zajonc & Markus, 1975), and Europe (Belmont & Marolla, 1973; Demographiques, 1973; Eysenck & Cookson, 1970; Majoribanks, 1974; Nisbet & Entwistle, 1967).

Comparatively little research has been yet carried out on health outcomes, at least within the developed world. There are however, a number of studies demonstrating a negative relationship between sibship size and child health and nutrition in developing countries (Ballard & Neumann, 1995; Hagen, Barret, & Price, in press; Hagen, Hames, Craig, Lauer, & Price, 2001; Nanda, 1996; Rao & Goplan, 1969; Wofle & Behrman, 1982). Given that other aspects of family structure, such as parental divorce, are known to hold important health consequences in developed countries (Mauldon, 1990; Quinlan, 2003) it seems likely that such effects may also occur in countries such as Britain.

Variation in the Quantity-Quality Trade-off

While the inverse relationship between number of siblings and educational outcomes has been heralded as one of the most consistent findings in the status attainment literature (Downey, 1995; L. Steelman, Powell, Werum, & Carter, 2002), there is a clear indication of variation in its magnitude across population subgroups. For example, Shavit and Pierce (1991) reported that, within the US, although sibship size had a negative impact on educational attainment for Ashkenazi Jews and Oriental Jews, it had no effect on Moslem Arabs. Similarly, Downey & Neubauer (1998) found the negative effects of sibship size were slightly weaker amongst Mormons than Protestants. Blake (1989) reports comparable differences between American Catholics and Protestants. Furthermore, the few studies on the consequences of high fertility on child education in less developed countries have proven inconclusive. Some studies have found a strong negative impact of family size on child outcomes (Birdsall, 1982; Knodel, Havanon, & Sittitrai, 1990), others have found it to be less important ((Mock & Leslie, 1986)) or even positive (Chernochovsky, 1985; Gomes, 1984). There are also a number of developing world studies that have failed to find a relationship between family size and child health and nutrition (Hesketh, Qu, & Tomkins, 2003; Tada, Keiwkarnka, Pancharunti, & Charoonsawasdi, 2002). Many authors have made suggestions in attempt to explain this variation, between and within studies, however, there has so far been little formal testing of the socioecological factors that may lie behind it.

One factor that may be important is the presence and relationship of extended kin to the children under study (Downey, 2001). Intuitively if sibship size reflects the dilution of familial resources amongst children, then measures of extended family structure may reflect the amount of resources available for dilution. Even at an equal parental wealth, spreading the costs of child raising with a stable partner or extended kin may lower the burden placed on the mother and so buffer the disadvantages of children from large families. Could it be then that the variation outlined above may be attributable to differences in the role of extended kin? Mormons for example have particularly strong profamily norms, as do Catholics (Blake, 1989). Developed countries are also characterised by a much more pronounced nuclearisation of the family relative to developing countries.

Human behavioural ecologists have a long standing interest in assistance of extended kin given to mothers in rearing children, as it hypothesised that this assistance may be responsible for the evolution of a number of unusual features of human life-history. These features include short interbirth intervals relative to other primates, and menopause (Hawkes, 2003). Thus, the contribution made from kin groups has been analysed across a wide range of historical and contemporary populations (Beise, 2004; Lahdenpera, Lummaa, Helle, Tremblay, & Russell, 2004; Marwole, 2001; Sear, Mace, & McGregor, 2000; Sear, Steele, McGregor, & Mace, 2002; Tymicki, 2004). What is clear from this body of research is that, while there is much variation in the role of particular kin across cultures, extended kin are often central figures in the development of children. Gibson & Mace (2005) for example demonstrate clear positive effects of assistance from grandmothers on child height and survival in rural Ethiopia. Thus these studies provide supporting evidence for the hypothesis that differences in the magnitude of sibship effects, both within and between societies, may be attributable to differences in the role of extended family.

Another factor that may lead to variation in the quantity-quality trade-off across population subgroups is socioeconomic class.Downey and Neubauer(1998) for example, have suggested that additional siblings adversely affects finances set aside for children in high income families, but has virtually no effect in low income families. They propose this is due to a difference in how number of siblings affects the distribution of base resources (i.e. those needed for survival) versus surplus resources (i.e. investments designed to enhance long-term opportunities). Only parents above a certain threshold of wealth are able to distribute surplus resources to children, so that parents below this threshold pay few costs to higher fertility as each child will only receive the minimum (base) resources in any case. A potential example of this effect could be drawn on schooling. All children of low income families will go to comprehensive school regardless of the number of siblings they have, however, in high-income families children may be able to go to private school depending on the number of siblings the family resources are to be diluted amongst. A similar effect could lead to differences in access to public vs. private health care.Downey and Neubauer's(1998) distinction between base and surplus resources is insightful and warrants serious thought and empirical investigation.

Theories of Modern Fertility

Understanding the socioecological factors that lead to variation in the costs associated with high fertility amongst British families also has direct relevance to our understanding of the determinants of modern fertility.

Among hunter-gatherer and other subsistence-based societies there is considerable evidence that fertility patterns reflect a set of physiological and behavioural responses that optimise levels of parental investment in such a way as to maximise Darwinian fitness (for reviews: Bentley, 1999; Kaplan, 1996). Evolved decision rules are hypothesised, allowing parents to strategically track the effects of parental investment on child outcomes and optimise their behaviour accordingly (Kaplan, 1996). However, given the phenomenon of low fertility, sometimes below replacement level, in post demographic transition societies some controversy rests on the role of these decision rules in determining modern fertility rates. In traditional societies wealth and fertility show a positive correlation (e.g. Low, 1990; e.g. Mace, 1996; Voland, 1990). Yet in those societies that have undergone demographic transition; that is, a period of history in which dramatic changes in fertility and mortality have occurred along with a rise in living standards, (Borgerhoff Mulder, 1998) wealth and fertility appear to show a negatively relationship (e.g. Lam, 1986; Perrusse, 1993). Furthermore, during the transition the rich have tended to reduce their fertility first. Why would people choose to limit their reproduction voluntarily when resources are plentiful? Some authors have suggested that the lack of a positive relationship between wealth and family size in modern societies is proof that humans no longer behave in a manner that optimises their reproductive success and that evolutionary approaches do not explain current family sizes (Vining, 1986).

Traditional methods of historical and economic demography, however, have failed to develop a robust theory of demographic transition. In response human behavioural ecologists have suggested a number of hypotheses to solve this dilemma (reviewed in(Borgerhoff Mulder, 1998). At the centre of these hypotheses lie changes in the quantity-quality trade-off, and they identify similar socioecological factors as those discussed above. For example, Turke (1989) and Draper (1989)both hypothesise that the reduced levels of fertility seen in modern societies may be a response to the absence of close kin networks. This is because strong extended family relationships decrease the costs of childrearing by providing free childcare and investment.Draper(1989) further suggests that even if the traditional role of extended kin has been replaced by friends or the government in modern societies, our evolved decision rules may still lead us to act as if extended kin are necessary for high fertility.

Other authors have suggested that suggested that increased wealth itself, and the increased opportunities this brings, may be lead parents to evaluating low fertility as the optimal strategy. As Kaplan et al.(1995) argues; a reduction in fertility would be strategically beneficial for wealthier individuals if the vale of investing resources in a child are a (positive) nonlinear function of the amount invested. This might happen, for example, because knowledge is cumulative: each additional unit of knowledge or skill acquired provides the platform for an even larger subsequent educational gain or access to much greater socioeconomic opportunities (as seems plausibly to be the case in our knowledge-based economies). However, these hypotheses remain somewhat speculative in the face of a lack of empirical studies into the relative costs of high fertility across subgroups in modern populations, and data on how these costs relate to actual family size.

3. Research Questions & Methodology

All data will be sourced from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), an ongoing extensive longitudinal database of children, and their parents, born in the Avon area of the UK. The following research questions are identified:

A. What are the consequences of high fertility on child development in British families?

To date research into the effects of sibling number on child development has been heavily dominated by cross-sectional studies. Steelman et al.(2002), in a review of the sibling configuration literature to date, identify this as a area of major concern, not least because a recent large scale longitudinal analysis (Guo & VanWey, 1999) failed to replicate the negative impacts on child education that have been demonstrated in so many cross sectional analyses. ALSPAC then, provides the perfect resource to respond to these concerns, and estimate the effect of number of siblings on child outcomes with longitudinal data in Britain.

The nature of ALSPAC will allow for both educational and health aspects of child development to be considered. It is believed that analysing both within the same study will be extremely advantageous, as this will allow for a consideration of how different outcomes may be influenced by sibship size. Health measures will include growth (i.e. height), number of disease symptoms/infections (as a measure of general well-being) and the mother's opinion of the study child's general health. All these measures have been taken at regular intervals and are suitable for longitudinal analysis. Educational measures are taken less regularly and only towards the older ages in the ALSPAC study. It is proposed that the results of maths tests taken at 3 intervals by the study child will be investigated. However, at this stage of research planning it is unclear about the appropriateness or accessibility of these data. Alternatively then, child development scores may be used to assess cognitive development. The study will also consider the type of schooling the child receives (private/non-private). Parental resources (socioeconomic class, mother's general health) is an obvious potential confounding factor, and so will also be incorporated to the models.

B. Can differences in parenting behaviour be identified as family size increases?

In attempt to further our understanding of the mechanisms by which high fertility impacts on child development, an estimation of the effect of number of siblings on parenting behaviour will also be included in the study. Taking advantage of the rich nature of the ALSPAC dataset, proposed measures of parenting behaviour will include; parenting scores of mother and father figure; freq of visits to places of interest; entertainment, to see friends and family; number of books owned, and the amount of television watched. Once again these measures have been taken at regular intervals and are thus suitable for longitudinal analysis.

C. Can socioecological differences explain variation in the magnitude of "sibling competition" within the British population?

As discussed above, variation across population subgroups in the magnitude of sibship size effects has been suggested by several studies. Yet despite suggestions there has so far been little empirical testing of the socioecological factors that may lie behind this variation. The proposed study will investigate how measures of both kin and non-kin social support, and also parental wealth, relate to the magnitude of effects. Several proxies of kin support will be included: father presence/involvement with child, presence of grandparents; regularity maternal/paternal relatives seen; and grandparent/relative role in child care arrangements. Mother's membership of a close group of friends and opinion of neighbourhood will be included as proxies of non-kin social support. While standard measures of socioeconomic class and household income will be used to explore the influence of parental resources on the costs of high fertility.

D. Are higher costs of large family size on child development associated with lower actual fertility?

As a final research question, the study will consider how the costs of high fertility, in terms of child development outcomes, relate to the actual fertility decisions of the population. After identifying the relationship of social support and wealth to sibship size effects, a model of age-controlled fertility will be constructed entering these same socioecological factors. It is predicted that those socioecological conditions associated with larger costs of high fertility, in terms of child development (e.g. low social support/ high wealth), will be strong predictors of lower actual fertility. This prediction is based on the assumption that even parents in modern societies adaptively track the effects of parental investment on child development outcomes and respond accordingly.

4. Relevant Qualifications

1. Bachelor of Science (BSc) Hons, Biology University College London, 2003

2. Master of Science (MSc), Evolutionary Psychology University of Liverpool, 2004

3. Ph.D Candidate in Biological Anthropology University College London, expected 2008

4. During the early period of my PhD I will follow courses in these specialised statistics and the analysis of longitudinal data at the Centre for Applied Social Surveys (CASS), University of Southampton and at the UCL Graduate School. Multi-level models and event history models will be employed in the analysis of the ALSPAC data. Event-history analysis can be used to accommodate two common features of longitudinal event histories: censored observations and time varying variables. The inclusion of time-varying covariates in particular is crucial, since the key variables of interest in the study are the presence of kin during childhood which can clearly change over time.

5. References

Alwin. (1991). Family of origin and cohort differences in verbal ability. . American Sociological Review, 56, 625-638. Ballard, T. J., & Neumann, C. (1995). The effect of malnutrition, parental literacy and household crowding on acute lower respiratory infections in young Kenyan children. Journal of Tropical Pediatrics, 41(8-13). Beise, J. (2004). The helping and the helpful grandmother - The role of maternal and paternal grandmothers in child mortality in the 17th and 18th century population of French Settlers in Quebec, Canada MPIDR Working Paper WP-2004-2004. Belmont, L., & Marolla, F. A. (1973). Birth order, family size, and intelligence. Science, 182, 1096-1101. Bentley, G. (1999). Aping Our Ancestors: Comparative Aspects of Reproductive Ecology. Evolutionary Anthropology, 7, 175-185. Birdsall, N. (1982). A cost of siblings. Child schooling in urban Colombia. Research in Population Economics, 2, 115-150. Blake, J. (1989). Family Size and Achievement. Los Angeles: University of California. Blau, P. M., & Duncan, O. D. (1967). The American occupational structure. New York: Wiley. Borgerhoff Mulder, M. (1998). The Demographic Transition: Are We Any Closer to an Evolutionary Explanation? . Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 13, 266-270. Chernochovsky, D. (1985). Socioeconomic and demographic aspects of school enrolment and attendance in rural Botswana. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 33, 319. Circirelli, V. G. (1978). The relationship between sibling structure to intellectual abilities and achievements. . Review of Education Research, 55, 353-386. Cronk, L. (1991). Human Behavioural Ecology. Annual Review of Anthropology, 20, 25-53. Demographiques, I. N. d. E. (1973). Enquete national sur le niveau intellectuel des enfants d'age scolaire [National report on the intellectual development of school age-age children]. Paris: Author, with Presses Universitaires de France. Downey, D. B. (1995). When Bigger is Not Better: Family Size, Parental Resources and Children's Educational Performance. American Sociological Review, 60(5), 746-761. Downey, D. B. (2001). Number of Siblings and Intellectual Development: The Resource Dilution Explanation. American Psychologist, 56(6/7), 497-504. Downey, D. B., & Neubauer, S. (1998). Is resource dilution inevitable? The association between number of siblings and educational outcomes across subgroups. . San Fransico, CA: Paper presented at the meeting of the American Soiological Association Draper, P. (1989). African Marriage Systems: perspectives from evolutionary ecology. . Ethology and Sociobiology, 10, 145-169. Eysenck, H. J., & Cookson, D. (1970). Personality in primary school children: Family background. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 40, 117-131. Featherman, D., & Hauser, R. (1978). Opportunity and change. New TYork: Academic Press. Gadgil, M., & Bossert, W. H. (1970). Life Historical Consequences of Natural Selection. . American Naturalist, 104, 1-24. Gibson, M. A., & Mace, R. (2005). Helpful grandmothers in rural Ethiopia: A study of the effect of kin on child survival and growth. Evolution and Human Behaviour, 26, 462-482. Gomes, M. (1984). Family size and educational attainment in Kenya. Population and Development Review, 10, 647-660. Guo, G., & VanWey, L. K. (1999). Sibship Size and Intellectual Development: Is the Relationship Causal? American Sociological Review, 64(2), 169-187. Hagen, E. H., Barret, C., & Price, M. E. (in press). Do Human Parents Face a Quantity-Quality Trade-off? Evidence from a Shuar Community. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 128. Hagen, E. H., Hames, R. B., Craig, N. M., Lauer, M. T., & Price, M. E. (2001). Parental investment and child health in a yanomamo village suffering short-term food stress. Journal of Biosocial Science, 33, 503-528. Hawkes, K. (2003). Grandmothers and the evolution of human longevity. American Journal of Human Biology, 15, 380-400. Hesketh, T., Qu, J. D., & Tomkins, A. (2003). Health effects of family size: Cross sectional survey in Chinese adolescents. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 886, 467-471. Kaplan, H. (1996). A Theory of Fertility and Parental Investment in Traditional and Modern Human Societies. Yearbook of Physical Anthropology, 39, 91-135. Kaplan, H., Lancaster, J. B., Bock, J., & Johnson, S. (1995). Fertility and fitness among Alburquerque men: a competitive lbour market theory. In R. I. M. Dunbar (Ed.), Human Reproductive Decisions: Biological and Social Perspectives (pp. 96-136). London: Macmillan. Knodel, J., Havanon, N., & Sittitrai, W. (1990). Family size and the education of children in the context of rapid fertility decline. Population and Development Review, 28, 31-67. Kuo, H.-H. D., & Hauser, R. M. (1997). How does size of sibship matter? Family configuration and family effects on educational attainment. Social Science Research(26), 69-94. Lack, D. (1947). The significant of clutch size. Ibis, 89, 302-352. Lack, D. (1954). The natural regulation of animal numbers. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Lahdenpera, M., Lummaa, V., Helle, S., Tremblay, M., & Russell, A. F. (2004). Fitness benefits of prolonged post-reprodctive lifespan in women. Nature, 428, 178-181. Lam, D. (1986). The dynamics of populations growth, differential equality, and inequality American Economic Review, 76, 1103-1116. Lessells, C. M. (1991). The evolution of life histories. In J. R. Krebs & N. B. Davies (Eds.), Behavioural ecology (3rd ed) (pp. 32-68). Oxford: Blackwell. Low, B. (1990). Occupational status, landownership, and reproductive behaviour in 19th Century Sweden: Tuna Parish. American Anthropologist, 92, 457-468. Mace, R. (1996). Biased parental investment and reproductive success in Gabbra pastoralists. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, 38, 75-81. Majoribanks, K. (1974). Academic achievement: Family size and social class correlates. In K. Majoribanks (Ed.), Environments for learning. Windsor, England: NFER Publishing. Marwole, F. (2001). Male contribution to diet and female reproductive success among foragers Current Anthropology, 42(755-760). Mauldon, J. (1990). The effect of marital disruption on children's health. Demography, 27(3), 431-446. Mercy, J. A., & Steelman, L. C. (1982). Familial influence on the intellectual attainment of children. American Sociological Review, 47, 532-542. Mock, R. R., & Leslie, J. (1986). Childhood malnutrition and schooling in Terai region of Nepal. Journal of Development Economics, 20, 33-52. Nanda, S. (1996). The impact of family milieu on the prevalence of protein-energy malnutrition in infants. Indian Journal of Maternal Child Health, 71, 20-23. Nisbet, J. D., & Entwistle, N. J. (1967). Intelligence and family size: 1949-1965. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 37, 188-193. Parcel, T. L., & Menaghan, E. G. (1994). Parent's job and children's lives. New York: Aldine De Gruyter. Perls, T. T., Alpert, L., & Fretts, R. C. (1997). Middle aged mothers live longer. Nature, 389(133-133). Perrusse, D. (1993). Cultural and reproductive success in idustrial societies: Testing the relationship at the proximate and ultimate levels. Brain and Behavioral Sciences, 16, 267-323. Quinlan, R. J. (2003). Father absence, parental care & female reproductive development. . Evolution and Human Behaviour, 24, 376-390. Rao, K., & Goplan, C. (1969). Nutrition and family size. Journal of Nutrition and Diet, 6, 258-266. Sear, R., Mace, R., & McGregor, I. A. (2000). Maternal grandmothers improve the nutritional status and survival of children in rural Gambia. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Sciences, 267, 461-467. Sear, R., Mace, R., & McGregor, I. A. (2003). A life-history analysis of fertility rates in rural Gambia: evidence for trade-offs or phenotypic correlations? In J. Rodgers & H.-P. Kohler (Eds.), The Biodemography of Human Reproduction and Fertility (pp. 135-160). Boston: Kluwer Press. Sear, R., Steele, F., McGregor, I. A., & Mace, R. (2002). The effects of kin on female fertility in rural Gambia. Evolution and Human Behaviour, 24, 25-42. Shavit, Y., & Pierce, J. (1991). Sibship size and educational attainment in nuclear and extended families. American Sociological Review, 56, 321-330. Smith, C. C., & Fretwell, S. D. (1974). The optimal balance between size and number of offspring. American Naturalist, 108, 499-506. Steelman, L., Powell, B., Werum, R., & Carter, S. (2002). Reconsidering the Effects of Sibling Configuration: Recent Advances and Challenges. Annual Review of Sociology, 28, 243-269. Steelman, L. C. (1985). A tale of two variables: A review of the intellectual consequences of sibship size and birth order. Review of Education Research, 55, 353-386. Tada, Y., Keiwkarnka, B., Pancharunti, N., & Charoonsawasdi, K. (2002). Nutritional status of the preschool children of the Klong Toey slum, Bangkok. Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health, 33, 628-637. Turke, P. W. (1989). Evolution and the demand for children. Population and Development Review, 15, 61-90. Tymicki, K. (2004). Kin influence on female reproductive behavior: The evidence from reconstitution of the Bejsce parish registers, 18th to 20th centuries, Poland. American Journal of Human Biology 16, 508-522. Vining, D. R. J. (1986). Social versus reproductive success: the central theoretical problem of human sociobiology. Behaviour and Brain Sciences, 9(167-216). Voland, E. (1990). Differential reproductive success within the Krummhorn population (Germany, 18th and 19th centuries). Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, 26, 65-72. Voland, E. (1998). Evolutionary Ecology of Human Reproduction. Annual Review of Anthropology, 27, 347-374. Westendorp, R. G. J., & Kirkwood, T. B. L. (1998). Human longevity at the cost of reproductive success. Nature, 396, 743-746. Williams, G. C. (1966). Natural selection, the costs of reproduction, and a refinement of Lack's principle. . American Naturalist, 100, 687-690. Winterhalder, B., & Smith, E. A. (2000). Analyzing Adaptive Strategies: Human Behavioural Ecology at 25. Evolutionary Anthropology, 9, 51-72. Wofle, B., & Behrman, J. (1982). Determinants of child mortality, health, and nutrition in a developing country. Journal of Development Economics, 11, 163-193. Zajonc, R. B., & Markus, G. B. (1975). Birth order and intellectual development. Psyhcological Review, 82(74-88).

Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 1 March, 2005
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 1 March, 2005
Keywords: 
Development, Environment, Social Conditions
Primary keyword: 

B226 - Development of an automatic diagnostic video otoscope using medical image analysis techniques - 01/03/2005

B number: 
B226
Principal applicant name: 
Richard Maw (Not used 0, Not used 0)
Co-applicants: 
Title of project: 
Development of an automatic diagnostic video otoscope using medical image analysis techniques.
Proposal summary: 

(No outline received).

Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 1 March, 2005
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 1 March, 2005
Keywords: 
Hearing
Primary keyword: 

B225 - Gambling problems and their antecedents - 01/03/2005

B number: 
B225
Principal applicant name: 
T Trythall (Not used 0, Not used 0)
Co-applicants: 
Title of project: 
Gambling problems and their antecedents.
Proposal summary: 

(No outline received).

Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 1 March, 2005
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 1 March, 2005
Keywords: 
Social Conditions
Primary keyword: 

B222 - Lead Exposure - 01/02/2005

B number: 
B222
Principal applicant name: 
P Harrison (Not used 0, Not used 0)
Co-applicants: 
Title of project: 
Lead Exposure.
Proposal summary: 

(No outline received).

Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 1 February, 2005
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 1 February, 2005
Keywords: 
Environmental Exposure
Primary keyword: 

B220 - Antibiotic resistance and pet ownership - 01/02/2005

B number: 
B220
Principal applicant name: 
T Humphrey (Not used 0, Not used 0)
Co-applicants: 
Title of project: 
Antibiotic resistance and pet ownership.
Proposal summary: 

(No outline received).

Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 1 February, 2005
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 1 February, 2005
Keywords: 
Drugs, Pets
Primary keyword: 

B219 - MRSA and pet ownership - 01/02/2005

B number: 
B219
Principal applicant name: 
T Humphrey (Not used 0, Not used 0)
Co-applicants: 
Title of project: 
MRSA and pet ownership.
Proposal summary: 

(No outline received).

Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 1 February, 2005
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 1 February, 2005
Keywords: 
Pets, Infection
Primary keyword: 

B218 - The use of homeopathic products in childhood data generated over 85 years - 01/02/2005

B number: 
B218
Principal applicant name: 
Dr Elizabeth Thompson (University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol)
Co-applicants: 
Title of project: 
The use of homeopathic products in childhood: data generated over 8.5 years.
Proposal summary: 

The overall aim of this project is to increase the awareness, knowledge and understanding of homeopathic product use in such a large cohort of children and to generate hypotheses for future research. Objectives included identifying the following:

* The number of children using homeopathic products and at what ages.

* The frequency of homeopathic product use at these different ages.

* The types of conditions for which homeopathy is used by children.

* The names of the actual homeopathic products used (names of remedies, creams, preparations etc).

* The source of the child's homeopathic prescription e.g. GP, Homeopathic doctor, Professional Homeopath, chemist etc.

Further objectives included:

* What are the misconceptions of homeopathic product use for children?

* What are the patterns of use? How often are children given homeopathic remedies over time, infrequently or frequently?

* What is the perceived usefulness of homeopathic medicine use and is there greater usefulness in certain indications such as glue ear, eczema and asthma?

* What are the differences in conditions treated with products/treatments prescribed by GP, Homeopathic doctor, Professional Homeopath, chemist etc.?

* Does family use determine whether children receive homeopathic medicine?

Methods

The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), is a population-based cohort study of 14,000 children recruited in Avon, South-West England during 1990-92 while their mothers were pregnant(6). The study has generated data regarding many aspects of the families' health, well being, social, demographic and environmental features. Questionnaires completed by the mother at regular time points during pregnancy and throughout the life of the child have provided a valuable data source of CAM use including use during pregnancy and over time by the children (now aged 12-14 years) and their parents. For this project, 7 time points were identified as providing available data on child homeopathic product use at 18, 54, 65, 78, 81, 91 and 103 months. These included a specific question enquiring about the child's use of homeopathic medicines asked at 18 and 81 months and also provides information on conditions treated using homeopathic products at these ages.

At 81 months the question asks about who had prescribed the homeopathic medicine, whether it was, for example, a homeopathic doctor, professional homeopath or chemist. A question enquiring about treatments for accidents and illnesses (that included a list of substances including homeopathic medicines) was asked at 54, 65, 78, 91 and 103 months. A further question dedicated to the child's use of CAM was asked at 103 months. This will provide information on the use of CAMs (including homeopathic medicines) ever taken, the age of the child when taken, the condition it was taken for and the perceived usefulness of the treatment. Table 1 summarises the above questions asked at each time point.

For the data analysed here, all questions had both a tick box response and a space for a written text description of the homeopathic products used. Tick box entries were keyed and entered into a statistical program. Text descriptions were keyed and then coded by a Homeopath using a coding frame specifically devised for the ALSPAC CAM data.

The criteria of inclusion for the written descriptions of homeopathic products were: (a) named individual remedies, (b) New Era Tissue Salt products, (c) Nelson's formulated range, (d) specific products from Weleda's range, (e) other combination remedies, (f) homeopathic creams and tinctures, and (g) Bach Flower Remedies and Essences (including Bach Flower Rescue cream). Each remedy or product was assigned an individual code.

Where written descriptions did not automatically link to any of the products listed in the inclusion criteria above (such as "remedy for...", "from my homeopath...", "constitutional remedy" etc) they were assigned a non-specific homeopathic product code (labelled as 'HPNS'). Any descriptions that were clearly non-homeopathic were coded as such and will be used in the analyses of the specific homeopathic questions at 18 and 81 months as analyses of other products confused with homeopathic ones to show misconceptions of use.

All data were analysed using SPSS v.12.0.1, frequencies of overall use and of specific homeopathic products were generated at each time point.

Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 1 February, 2005
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 1 February, 2005
Keywords: 
Drugs
Primary keyword: 

B236 - Average blood pressure blood pressure variability and post-exercise pressure in adolescents - 01/02/2005

B number: 
B236
Principal applicant name: 
Dr Marie-Therese Webster (King's College London, UK)
Co-applicants: 
Title of project: 
Average blood pressure, blood pressure variability and post-exercise pressure in adolescents.
Proposal summary: 

(No outline received).

Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 1 February, 2005
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 1 February, 2005
Keywords: 
Blood Pressure, Physical Fitness
Primary keyword: 

B216 - The effect of early childhood exposure to lead on neurodevelopment and behaviour of school age children - 01/02/2005

B number: 
B216
Principal applicant name: 
Dr Kanakalatha Chandramouli (North Bristol NHS Trust, Bristol)
Co-applicants: 
Dr Matthew Ellis (University of Bristol, UK), Dr Jon Heron (University of Bristol, UK)
Title of project: 
The effect of early childhood exposure to lead on neurodevelopment and behaviour of school age children.
Proposal summary: 

1) To examine whether or not an association exists between early (age 2 to 3 years) high exposure to lead as indicated by top percentile blood levels (full range at this age 0.5-30) and IQ, attention and behaviour at 8 years of age amongst the "Children in Focus" cohort group from the ALSPAC (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children) - Children of the 90s database.

2) To examine whether or not there is any association between lead level and IQ, attention and behaviour at 8 years of age and levels of early exposure below the current level of concern.

Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 1 February, 2005
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 1 February, 2005
Keywords: 
Autism, Environmental Exposure, Motor Co-ordination, Neurology, Vision
Primary keyword: 

B215 - Is the use of homeopathic medicine inversely related to the use of antibiotics in pre-school children - 01/02/2005

B number: 
B215
Principal applicant name: 
Dr Lesley Wye (University of Bristol, UK)
Co-applicants: 
Dr Alastair Hay (University of Bristol, UK), Dr Elizabeth Thompson (University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol), Prof Jean Golding (University of Bristol, UK)
Title of project: 
Is the use of homeopathic medicine inversely related to the use of antibiotics in pre-school children?
Proposal summary: 

To explore:

1) If children who take homeopathic medicine take fewer antiobiotics.

2) Socio-demographic determinants of homeopathic and antibiotic use amongst pre-school children.

Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 1 February, 2005
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 1 February, 2005
Keywords: 
Drugs
Primary keyword: 

B306 - DNA Banking for 1958 Cohort extension of B285 - 06/01/2005

B number: 
B306
Principal applicant name: 
Prof David Strachan (University of London, UK)
Co-applicants: 
Title of project: 
DNA Banking for 1958 Cohort (extension of B285).
Proposal summary: 

A nationally representative set of EBV-transformed lymphocyte cultures has been established from 44-45-year-old participants in the biomedical examination of the British 1958 birth cohort. These have been used to create a renewable DNA collection for use as a reference series in genetic case-control studies. This has proved a popular resource.

There are currently 20 active users of this DNA collection, many of them funded by the Wellcome Trust. 1500 samples are currently being genotyped as a control group for the WT-funded Genetic Case-Control Consortium. Results for 1 million SNPs, on sample sizes between 1500 and 8000 DNAs, are expected during 2006.

This application requests continuity of support for the Bristol laboratory to maintain the cell line resource and to continue providing DNA arrays at no charge to users. It also proposes extension of the data management and website development activity at St George's, so that incoming genotypes can be processed in a timely and user-friendly fashion into a publicly accessible on-line reference library of genotype and allele frequencies, already piloted with over 9000 SNPs deposited to date.

Our key goal is to maximise scientific value for money from this large population-based cell line collection (WT programme grant068545/Z/02).

Date proposal received: 
Thursday, 6 January, 2005
Date proposal approved: 
Thursday, 6 January, 2005
Keywords: 
Genetics
Primary keyword: 

B213 - Parental attitudes to healthcare administration of medicinal products to children occurrence of side effects - 01/01/2005

B number: 
B213
Principal applicant name: 
J Headley (Not used 0, Not used 0)
Co-applicants: 
Title of project: 
Parental attitudes to healthcare, administration of medicinal products to children & occurrence of side effects.
Proposal summary: 

(No outline received).

Date proposal received: 
Saturday, 1 January, 2005
Date proposal approved: 
Saturday, 1 January, 2005
Keywords: 
Drugs
Primary keyword: 

B212 - The use of complementary medicine and the implications for NHS healthcare provision in Bristol a qualitative study - 01/01/2005

B number: 
B212
Principal applicant name: 
Dr Elizabeth Thompson (University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol)
Co-applicants: 
Title of project: 
The use of complementary medicine and the implications for NHS healthcare provision in Bristol: a qualitative study.
Proposal summary: 

The main purpose of the proposed research is to explore the use of complementary medicine among families participating in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), in order to examine the implications of this for health care provision in Bristol.

Specific objectives to be addressed are:

* To examine why families (within ALSPAC) use complementary medicine and the implications of this for NHS patient care in Bristol.

* To investigatewhich particular complementary medicines are used by different family members and for what reasons.

  • To examine where family members access complementary medicine (e.g. private complementary therapists, over-the-counter complementary medicines, complementary medicine within the NHS) and the reasons for this.
  • To investigate the sources of information on complementary medicine used by family members and how they make judgements about the quality or trustworthiness of that information.
  • To investigate whether families/family members disclose their complementary medicine use to NHS health professionals and the implications of this for their NHS care and professional-patient relationships.
  • To explore how families/family members integrate complementary medicine use with conventional NHS healthcare.
Date proposal received: 
Saturday, 1 January, 2005
Date proposal approved: 
Saturday, 1 January, 2005
Keywords: 
Drugs
Primary keyword: 

B211 - Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and lung function in childhood using Mendelian Randomisation in ALSPAC - 01/01/2005

B number: 
B211
Principal applicant name: 
Dr Bruna Galobardes (University of Bristol, UK)
Co-applicants: 
Title of project: 
Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and lung function in childhood using Mendelian Randomisation in ALSPAC.
Proposal summary: 

Background. 1) Current research has shown that atherosclerosis starts early in life. The social patterning of coronary heart disease (CHD) in adulthood is also likely to start early in life. However, knowledge of the social patterning of the pre-clinical phases of CHD (endothelial function) and its early life determinants in childhood is scarce. 2) The role of passive smoking, a potential exposure linked to the early social patterning of disease, on CHD aetiology is controversial. Applying the principle of Mendelian randomisation will allow me to investigate whether there is a link between exposure to passive smoking in childhood and measures of early-life atherosclerosis.

Objectives.

1. To systematically review the current evidence regarding social patterning of CHD exposures and pre-clinical disease indicators occurring in early life.

2. To describe the social patterning of endothelial function in childhood.

3. To describe the social patterning of CHD risk factors in early life.

4. To investigate how the social patterning of potential CHD early-life risk factors contributes to the social patterning of endothelial function in childhood.

5. To investigate whether candidate genetic polymorphisms associated with slower detoxification of tobacco smoke are associated with endothelial dysfunction among children exposed to environmental tobacco smoke.

Methods.

Systematic reviews will establish the strongest candidate factors in early life contributing to the development of atherosclerosis and social inequalities in adulthood (Objective 1).

TheAvon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) is a unique prospective cohort study set up to investigate the health and development of children. Vascular function measures are available from at least 6,000 children and include flow mediated dilation, arterial distensibility and pulse wave velocity. DNA for genotyping was obtained from 10,232 children. Early life CHD risk factors and detailed childhood socioeconomic circumstances data are available.This will allow establishing which exposures are likely to initiate and contribute to the social patterning of CHD risk (Objectives 2 to 4).

Polymorphisms in candidate genes related to detoxification of tobacco smoke and their association with endothelial dysfunction will be assessed in the ALSPAC cohort (Objective 5).

Scientific opportunity. The ALSPAC cohort offers a unique opportunity to answer scientific questions regarding the early life determinants of disease andseveral funders have given program support to this cohort. The analyses, proposed here for the first time, will enhance the scientific return from this investment.

Public health importance This proposal will inform interventions for public health policy by identifying the early life factors that may contribute to the adult social patterning of CHD risk. In addition, it will provide evidence regarding a potential link between passive smoking and vascular dysfunction.

Date proposal received: 
Saturday, 1 January, 2005
Date proposal approved: 
Saturday, 1 January, 2005
Keywords: 
Allergies, Genetics, Respiratory, Smoking, Atopy
Primary keyword: 

B217 - The effect of COMT and other genetic polymorphisms on cognition in childhood with reference to potential intermediate phenotypes in schizophrenia and other neuro-psychiatric disorders - 01/12/2004

B number: 
B217
Principal applicant name: 
Prof Peter Jones (University of Cambridge, UK)
Co-applicants: 
Title of project: 
The effect of COMT and other genetic polymorphisms on cognition in childhood, with reference to potential intermediate phenotypes in schizophrenia and other neuro-psychiatric disorders.
Proposal summary: 

The study aimed to determine the cognitive effect of the Val108/158Met polymorphism in the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene in children before and during puberty. This polymorphism affects cognitive function in healthy adults and may contribute to risk for schizophrenia. METHOD: COMT genotype was determined for 8,707 children from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), a geographically defined general population cohort of children born between April 1, 1991, and Dec. 31, 1992, in the southwest of England.

Fourteen measures of cognitive function--including working memory, verbal and motor inhibition, attentional control, and IQ--were assessed at ages 8 and 10 years. Any pubertal development at age 9 years was reported by parents. Effects of COMT genotype on cognition and interactions with gender and puberty were assessed using general linear models. RESULTS: In boys, genotype significantly affected executive function and explained up to 10 points normal variation in verbal IQ. The effects on IQ were significantly greater in pubertal than in prepubertal boys. In girls, there were no significant effects of genotype on cognition. CONCLUSIONS: This common polymorphism may be one of the genes of small effect that contribute to normal variation in IQ. The gender-specific nature of the effect and its possible interaction with puberty may be relevant to both normal cognitive and brain development and to abnormal development in disorders such as schizophrenia.

Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 1 December, 2004
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 1 December, 2004
Keywords: 
Genetics, Schizophrenia, Psychiatry
Primary keyword: 

B209 - European research collaboration - Decode - 01/12/2004

B number: 
B209
Principal applicant name: 
M Sanders (Not used 0, Not used 0)
Co-applicants: 
Title of project: 
European research collaboration - Decode.
Proposal summary: 

(No outline received).

Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 1 December, 2004
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 1 December, 2004
Keywords: 
Diet, Eating disorders, Miscellaneous
Primary keyword: 

B205 - Infants with initial evidence of perinatal asphyxia but rapid clinical improvement and subsequent cognitive ability - 01/12/2004

B number: 
B205
Principal applicant name: 
Dr David Odd (University of Bristol, UK)
Co-applicants: 
Title of project: 
Infants with initial evidence of perinatal asphyxia but rapid clinical improvement and subsequent cognitive ability.
Proposal summary: 

Severe intrapartum hypoxia is associated with neurodevelopmental disability, however little is known about the possible long-term effects of mild hypoxia during birth on subsequent neurodevelopment. Around one in 30 neonates have an initially low Apgar Score (less than 7) but recover by 5-10 minutes and the accepted view is such hypoxia can only cause later disability if the infant develops encephalopathy. There is evidence that perinatal hypoxia can injure areas of the brain which are more concerned with cognitive function, only becoming apparent later in life when cognitive function becomes possible to assess.

The aim of the proposed fellowship is the study the association of initially low Apgar Scores, a measure of fetal compromise, with measures of neurodevelopment age 8-10 years and in early adulthood (age 18) in two complimentary datasets. The first dataset is based on a linkage of the Swedish birth register (including 1, 5 and 10 minute Apgar Scores) with the conscription intelligence test records (age 18) of around 110,000 Swedish men. The second complementary dataset , the Bristol-based Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) is a birth cohort of 14,000 intants containing more detailed measures of neurodevelopment up to age of 10 years.

Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 1 December, 2004
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 1 December, 2004
Keywords: 
Autism, Motor Co-ordination, Neurology, Vision, Cognition
Primary keyword: 

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