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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B3717 - European resource for research into the early life origins of asthma allergy and eczema across the life course EU Child Cohor - 17/02/2021

B number: 
B3717
Principal applicant name: 
Liesbeth Duijts | The Generation R Study Group (the Netherlands)
Co-applicants: 
Annemiek Mian, MSc
Title of project: 
European resource for research into the early life origins of asthma, allergy, and eczema across the life course. EU Child Cohor
Proposal summary: 

Since 2003, novel birth cohorts arose and prevalences of asthma, allergy and eczema have not been studied. Combining these data might lead to better understanding of a.o. the impact of these conditions. The aim of our project is to describe the harmonization process of asthma, allergy, and eczema, and relevant related data. We will perform a meta-analysis using individual participant data of cohorts participating in the EU Child Cohort Network and describe the prevalences of wheezing, asthma, upper and lower respiratory tract infections, lung function values, inhalant allergy, inhalant allergic sensitization, food allergy, food allergic sensitization, itchy rash and eczema measured at each age from birth until adolescence while taking country of cohort and main subject characteristics into account. Additionally,we provide a framework for further research into early life stressors, genetic, epigenetic, and microbiome pathways on the risk of developing respiratory and related outcomes.

Impact of research: 
Very high impact, because since 2003 no new prevalence data of respiratory and allergy outcomes have been published, while combining data from different cohorts.
Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 10 February, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Thursday, 11 February, 2021
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Allergy, Eczema, Respiratory - asthma, Statistical methods, Cohort studies - attrition, bias, participant engagement, ethics, Childhood - childcare, childhood adversity, Environment - enviromental exposure, pollution, Growth, Sex differences

B3715 - COVID-19 specific antibody testing in ALSPAC G0/G1 - 11/02/2021

B number: 
B3715
Principal applicant name: 
Nic Timpson | University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Ms Lynn Molloy, Dr Kate Northstone, Dr Sue Ring
Title of project: 
COVID-19 specific antibody testing in ALSPAC (G0/G1)
Proposal summary: 

The study aims to estimate how many people in ALSPAC have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. We don’t know yet if having antibodies gives someone long-lasting protection from the virus. The results of this study may help guide public health policy and the government’s plan for its antibody testing strategy.

Other population-based research studies in the UK are also asking their participants to complete the same antibody test. Analysing the information from ALSPAC alongside these other studies will allow a greater understanding of variations across ethnicity, age, socio-economic status and geography. We can use these antibody test results in several ways alongside information already collected in ALSPAC. Such as
information on COVID-19 symptoms, (already collected via questionnaires) medical outcomes, (through record linkage), and data from other clinics and questionnaire that could be related.

Impact of research: 
This work has the chance to assess antibody response VS infection rate VS clinical presentation in Bristol with a home-based test able also to compare patters in Bristol to those in other (demographically different) cities/areas. Careful interpretation of the data will be required, however this work does have the chance to inform understanding of infection, prevalence, age differences, socio-demographic gradients, life course contributions to outcomes and susceptibility and the utility of this form of testing.
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 9 February, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 9 February, 2021
Keywords: 
Immunology, Infection, Biological samples -e.g. blood, cell lines, saliva, etc.

B3713 - Nutrition and immunity in pregnancy maternal responses and consequences for offspring - 08/02/2021

B number: 
B3713
Principal applicant name: 
Sinead English | School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Dr Doretta Caramaschi, Dr Gemma Sharp
Title of project: 
Nutrition and immunity in pregnancy: maternal responses and consequences for offspring
Proposal summary: 

During pregnancy, the immune system faces a particular challenge of protecting mother and vulnerable offspring. Mothers rely on nutrients to maintain their physiological condition and immune system, as well as to nourish developing young. A key question is: when mothers face challenges to their physiological state, how do they adjust energy allocation to protect themselves and their young? When does this result in adverse outcomes, such as pre-term birth? To date, most research on pregnancy and immunity involves longitudinal studies in humans or experiments on laboratory rodents. We have a solid understanding of how nutrition or inflammation in pregnancy influences birth timing, offspring physiology and behaviour. Surprisingly few studies have, however, considered the interaction between nutrition and inflammation. This project will aim to fill this gap by using a diverse toolkit: evolutionary models, experiments in insect models of pregnancy, and analyses of human cohort studies.

Impact of research: 
This project will provide fundamental insights on how maternal nutrition and immune responses interact to determine pregnancy outcomes and longer-term consequences for offspring, across diverse organisms. In the longer term, it can also yield insights to improve birth outcomes: for example, if inflammatory responses in pregnancy cause an increased risk of pre-term birth, what are the nutritional interventions that could reduce this risk?
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 1 February, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 8 February, 2021
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Infection, Pregnancy - e.g. reproductive health, postnatal depression, birth outcomes, etc., Statistical methods, EWAS, Biological samples -e.g. blood, cell lines, saliva, etc., Birth outcomes, Environment - enviromental exposure, pollution, Immunity, Mothers - maternal age, menopause, obstetrics, Nutrition - breast feeding, diet, Offspring

B3714 - Hypersensitivities and Aversions across the 5-senses - 09/03/2021

B number: 
B3714
Principal applicant name: 
Julia Simner | University of Sussex (UK)
Co-applicants: 
Dr Louisa Rinaldi
Title of project: 
Hypersensitivities and Aversions across the 5-senses
Proposal summary: 

Most people have a comfortable tolerance for information received via their sense organs (i.e., sounds, tastes, smells etc.) while others have SENSORY SENSITIVITIES (i.e., over-reactivity, such as when sounds feel too loud) or SENSORY AVERSIONS (negative emotional responses, e.g., when sounds trigger anger, e.g., to the sound of chewing). Our prior proposal (approved and ongoing) investigates AUDITORY sensitivities (hyperacusis and misophonia; where sounds cause pain, or distress/anger respectively). However, sound-difficulties are just one branch of a broader profile which can affect multiple senses, and cause considerable negative impact in day to day life. For example, broad sensory sensitivities play a significant role in anxiety disorder (sometimes via neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism). With poor well-being and anxiety placing substantial financial burden on society (e.g., £12 billion invested annually by the NHS), our study aims to better understand sensory sensitivities and aversions with a questionnaire that identifies those ALSPAC participants who have such difficulties across multiple senses. The wealth of ALSPAC back-data will then allow us to “reach back” into their childhood, to explore their early development in terms of wellbeing, mental health, mood and feelings (DAWBA, Strengths and difficulties, mood and feelings, PANAS, Locus of control, anxiety) as well as their cognitive skills (eg., attention tasks), and schooling attainment (school key stage linked data). We predict that adults with sensory sensitivities/aversions were likely already expressing poorer mental well-being at a younger age, and may have heightened scores on tasks such as attention-to-detail and obsessive control, and potentially lower scores on school attendance and attainment.

Impact of research: 
The impact of our research is likely to be considerable, both in terms of developments in the field, and also on the lives of people who struggle with sensory difficulties. For the field, our work aims to make the first distinction between sensory SENSITIVITIES (caused by over-stimulation; i.e., sensory bombardment) and sensory AVERSIONS (caused by an affective or emotional dysregulation; e.g., anger-responses). And within this latter we aim to provide a grand theory of sensory aversions where these had been studied previously only in the auditory domain (as misophonia). In other words, we hope to show for the first time that misophonia may be a sub-category of a wider family of aversions we term misesthesia (hatred of sensations), and that these differ in quality and aetiology to sensory sensitivities.
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 2 February, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Thursday, 4 February, 2021
Keywords: 
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Behaviour - e.g. antisocial behaviour, risk behaviour, etc., Developmental disorders - autism, Eating disorders - anorexia, bulimia, Mental health, Sensory differences; sensory sensitivities ; sensory aversions, Statistical methods, Childhood - childcare, childhood adversity, Cognition - cognitive function, Development, Intelligence - memory, Mothers - maternal age, menopause, obstetrics, Parenting, Psychology - personality

B3707 - Assessing young adult e-cigarette use and perceptions - 02/02/2021

B number: 
B3707
Principal applicant name: 
Katherine East | University of Waterloo (School of Public Health & Health Systems) & King's College London (Addictions Department, IoPPN)
Co-applicants: 
Professor Ann McNeill, Dr Sara Hitchman, Dr Ioannis Bakolis, Dr Jasmine Khouja, Dr Amy Taylor, Dr Olivia Maynard, Professor Marcus Munafò
Title of project: 
Assessing young adult e-cigarette use and perceptions
Proposal summary: 

Smoking is the world's leading preventable cause of morbidity and mortality, killing over seven million people annually. Cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive. E-cigarettes are less harmful than smoking, can successfully deliver nicotine, and can help some smokers quit. However, their long-term health effects are unknown, and there are concerns about e-cigarette use among non-smokers, including long-term use, nicotine dependence and potentially transitions to smoking.

This project aims to examine the patterns and predictors of e-cigarette use and smoking among young people in ALSPAC, with a focus on perceptions and attitudes towards use.

Impact of research: 
This project has the potential to impact e-cigarette and smoking policy and research. Findings will contribute towards the understanding of: 1. Whether non-smoking young adults are becoming regular users of e-cigarettes, dependent on nicotine, and/or transitioning to smoking. 2. Which groups of non-smokers are at-risk for regular e-cigarette use and/or nicotine dependence. 3. Which modifiable predictors of e-cigarette use could be targeted by prevention efforts.
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 1 February, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 2 February, 2021
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Addiction - e.g. alcohol, illicit drugs, smoking, gambling, etc., Behaviour - e.g. antisocial behaviour, risk behaviour, etc., Statistical methods, Nicotine, tobacco.

B3708 - Using Multiverse Analysis to Investigate the Relationship Between Breast-Feeding and IQ - 16/02/2021

B number: 
B3708
Principal applicant name: 
Marcus Munafo | University of Bristol, MRC IEU
Co-applicants: 
Dr Hannah Sallis, Natalie Thurlby, Mark Gibson
Title of project: 
Using Multiverse Analysis to Investigate the Relationship Between Breast-Feeding and IQ
Proposal summary: 

Often a large number of equally plausible possible analysis options are available to researchers. Multiverse analysis is a proposed way of overcoming this problem where all plausible analyses are conducted and the results of all are interpreted in the context of each other. This information can be used as a measure of the reliability of a result, which in turn is useful for scientific advancement and deciding policy. However, multiverse analysis can be time consuming and complex. This project will use ALSPAC data to test and inform the building of an R/python package to conduct multiverse analysis, which is currently being built. This package will make multiverse analysis easier to conduct, encouraging greater adoption of this technique across the health sciences.

Impact of research: 
This research will contribute to the creation of an analysis package which will help make multiverse analysis easier to conduct, encouraging greater adoption of this technique across the health sciences.
Date proposal received: 
Thursday, 28 January, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 1 February, 2021
Keywords: 
Methodology, Statistics and Computer Science., Statistical methods, Breast feeding, Cognition - cognitive function

B3706 - Risk behaviours and mental health outcomes Investigation of possible genetic overlap - 01/02/2021

B number: 
B3706
Principal applicant name: 
Tim Morris | University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Miss Amy Campbell, Dr Caroline Wright
Title of project: 
Risk behaviours and mental health outcomes: Investigation of possible genetic overlap
Proposal summary: 

Modifiable risk behaviours include smoking, alcohol intake, drug use, poor diet, and physical inactivity. Participation in risk behaviours in adolescence is associated with poorer mental health at age 18. Participation in risk behaviours and poor mental health are both independently associated with poorer health outcomes later in life and reduced life expectancy. Previous genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified genetic variants associated with participation in risk behaviours, depression, anxiety and wellbeing. Given the associations between risk behaviours and mental health outcomes, it is important to understand the genetic overlap between these.

Impact of research: 
A better understanding of the genetic overlap between participation in risk behaviours and these mental health outcomes would: 1. increase the understanding of the aetiological pathway between the exposure (engagement in risk behaviour) and outcome (poorer mental health) 2. improve the identification of intervention targets.
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 26 January, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 1 February, 2021
Keywords: 
Genetic epidemiology (including association studies and mendelian randomisation), Mental health, Statistical methods, Genomics

B3712 - Effect of being a persistent picky eater on eating behaviour in school-aged children - 01/02/2021

B number: 
B3712
Principal applicant name: 
Caroline Taylor | Centre for Academic Child Health (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Dr Pauline Emmett
Title of project: 
Effect of being a persistent picky eater on eating behaviour in school-aged children
Proposal summary: 

Picky eating behaviour is young children causes parents and carers an immense amount of stress. In most children, the behaviour gradually disappears from school age onwards with no lasting ill effects. There is, however, a small group of children for whom the behaviour becomes 'ingrained' and lasts beyond this age. We'd like to look at these children in comparison with children who don't have this longer-lasting picky eating behaviour to look at the effects on their eating habits during later primary school years. We'd also like to find out how parents' worry about their child's eating as a toddler affects the child's eating behaviour at school age in these children.

Impact of research: 
Our work on picky eating has already had a high impact with high media interest, etc. We expect a similar level of interest.
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 1 February, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 1 February, 2021
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Child development, Statistical methods, Nutrition - breast feeding, diet

B3709 - Analysis of developmental relations between co-occurring mental health problems to inform interventions - 02/02/2021

B number: 
B3709
Principal applicant name: 
Lydia Gabriela Speyer | University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Dr Aja Louise Murray
Title of project: 
Analysis of developmental relations between co-occurring mental health problems to inform interventions
Proposal summary: 

Mental health problems represent one of the leading drivers of overall disease burden. Half of all lifetime psychiatric disorders present before adulthood, with a point prevalence of between 10% and 20% of children and adolescents experiencing mental health difficulties. In addition, more than 40 percent of youths with a lifetime psychiatric disorder go on to develop at least one additional mental illness concurrently or later in life. This adds significant complexity to diagnosis and interventions and further increases the likelihood of negative outcomes, such as criminality, low educational attainment and unemployment. A developmental perspective that investigates the interrelations between multiple mental health issues from early life up until adulthood is likely to offer important insights into why mental health problems commonly co-occur and can consequently inform prevention strategies. In the current project, using state-of-the art statistical techniques, we propose to analyse the developmental relations of mental health problems. We will further examine potential factors linking mental health problems together such as genetic predispositions to mental health problems, perinatal risk factors, and school problems. The results of this project will have important clinical implications. In particular, they will shed light on potential risk factors that drive the development of co-occurring mental health problems, give insights into which symptoms are likely to precede other symptoms and further help identify other factors that might exacerbate the development of co-occurring mental health problems. Thus, findings will inform early intervention strategies for preventing the development of secondary mental health disorders.

Impact of research: 
Findings of this research will have important implications for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of co-occurring mental health problems. First, the project will shed light on different patterns of co-occurring mental health problems as well as underlying risk factors that increase the likelihood of suffering from co-occurring mental health problems. This will inform diagnostic criteria and will help to reduce the prevalence of co-occurring mental health problems through targeted interventions. Second, through examining the direct and indirect links between symptoms of different mental health difficulties and other potential risk factors, results will illuminate mechanisms that underlie the developmental course through which co-occurring disorders develop. This will help to improve targeted early intervention strategies that have the potential to prevent the development of secondary mental health problems. Overall, this project will help reduce the prevalence of mental health issues and improve long-term outcomes for children and adolescences suffering from a mental health disorder. Findings will be disseminated through publications in international peer-reviewed journals and will be presented at national and international conferences.
Date proposal received: 
Thursday, 28 January, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 1 February, 2021
Keywords: 
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Behaviour - e.g. antisocial behaviour, risk behaviour, etc., Developmental disorders - autism, Mental health, Statistical methods, Childhood - childcare, childhood adversity, Cognition - cognitive function, Development, Genetic epidemiology

B3711 - Proteomics of eczema substudy - 08/02/2021

B number: 
B3711
Principal applicant name: 
Lavinia Paternoster | University of Bristol, MRC-IEU (UK)
Co-applicants: 
Prof Sinead Langan, Dr Josine Min
Title of project: 
Proteomics of eczema substudy
Proposal summary: 

Complex traits such as eczema are a significant burden on sufferers, their families and the health service. Dissecting the molecular mechanism (eg. DNA, RNA and proteins) in clinical samples of individuals with different subtyped of disease is essential for understanding, detecting, preventing and treating disease onset and progression. The ALSPAC eczema substudy has recruited 256 individuals to specifically study the molecular signatures of eczema subtypes. Skin and blood samples from these individuals are being prepared for RNA expression and DNA methylation profiling. We now propose to extend this to proteomic profiling (using the Olink Explore inflammation panel) of the plasma samples which have already been collected. Analysis of these proteins across subtypes of disease (and in combination with expression and methylation data) will allow us to more fully characterise the molecular signatures of eczema. This will in turn identify biomarkers that could be useful for detection and prediction of disease (and disease progression), as well as identifying proteins which might make for novel drug targets.

Impact of research: 
The aim is to identify novel biomarkers and/or drug targets for subtypes of eczema. With appropriate translation, this would improve diagnosis and treatment options of patients. through the BIOMAP consortium we have appropriate academic and industrial collaborators, to ensure this route to impact is accomplished.
Date proposal received: 
Sunday, 31 January, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 1 February, 2021
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Eczema, Proteomics, Dermatology

B3703 - Development of mental illness and cardiometabolic comorbidities - 25/01/2021

B number: 
B3703
Principal applicant name: 
Rona J Strawbridge | University of Glasgow (Scotland)
Co-applicants: 
Professor Daniel J Smith, Dr Breda Cullen, Dr Donald Lyall, Dr Joey Ward
Title of project: 
Development of mental illness and cardiometabolic comorbidities
Proposal summary: 

It is well known that severe mental illness (such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder) gives an increased risk for cardiometabolic diseases (including obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease). Recent evidence suggests that there are biological mechanisms that are shared by mental illness and cardiometabolic disease. This project will explore whether the associations between genetics, mental illness and cardiometabolic disease that we have reported in adults are already apparent in adolescents. Mental illness frequently presents during adolescence, with cardiometabolic diseases typically being diagnosed decades later. If the associations between genetics, mental illness and cardiometabolic diseases that we have observed in adults are detectable in adolescents, this research could pave the way for improved treatment of mental illness as well earlier prevention of cardiometabolic disease. Improving symptoms and slowing down progression to long term complications of mental illness has the potential to greatly enhance quality of life as well as reducing health inequalities and the healthcare costs associated with severe mental illness.

Impact of research: 
If the associations between genetics, mental illness and cardiometabolic diseases that we have observed in adults are detectable in adolescents, this research could pave the way for improved treatment of mental illness as well earlier prevention of cardiometabolic disease. Improving symptoms and slowing down progression to long term complications of mental illness has the potential to greatly enhance quality of life as well as reducing health inequalities and the healthcare costs associated with severe mental illness.
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 19 January, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 25 January, 2021
Keywords: 
Genetic epidemiology (including association studies and mendelian randomisation), Behaviour - e.g. antisocial behaviour, risk behaviour, etc., Diabetes, Hypertension, Mental health, Obesity, Pain, cardiovascular disease psychiatric illness, Computer simulations/modelling/algorithms, GWAS, Statistical methods, polygenic risk scores Mendelian randomisation Linkage disequilibrium score regression, Biomarkers - e.g. cotinine, fatty acids, haemoglobin, etc., Blood pressure, Genome wide association study, Intelligence - memory, Mendelian randomisation, Metabolic - metabolism, Psychology - personality, Physical - activity, fitness, function, Sex differences, Sleep, Statistical methods, BMI, Cardiovascular, Childhood - childcare, childhood adversity, Cognition - cognitive function, Development, Genetic epidemiology, Genetics, Genomics

B3705 - Predictors for biological age and age-associated diseases - 25/01/2021

B number: 
B3705
Principal applicant name: 
Jennifer Harris | Norwegian Institute of public health (Norge)
Co-applicants: 
Øyvind Helgeland, PhD, Håkon Bøås, Astanand Jugessur, Arne Vasli Lund Søraas, MD, PhD, Espen Riskedal, MSc, Karl Trygve Kalleberg, MD, PhD, Cathrine Lund Hadley, MD, PhD
Title of project: 
Predictors for biological age and age-associated diseases
Proposal summary: 

We want to better understand why some people develop certain disease as they age, while others don’t. We think that by looking at how our genes change their behavior as the body grows older, we can gain new insights into how the aging process leads to disease, and into the aging process itself. This is not only relevant to the typical diseases of the elderly (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, dementia and cancer), but also to younger people who develop diseases that are occur at specific age intervals (e.g. MS, infertility, certain cancers).
The project will perform advanced mathematical analyses of the regulation of genes, to develop new computer methods that can predict and explain the development of disease. Our goal is to eventually make new diagnostics, such as blood tests, that can be used to catch age-related diseases earlier and more accurately, so that patients will receive earlier and better treatment.

Impact of research: 
Better and earlier diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis
Date proposal received: 
Sunday, 24 January, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 25 January, 2021
Keywords: 
Epigenomics, Bone disorders - arthritis, osteoporosis, Cancer, Cognitive impairment, Fertility/infertility, Hypertension, Infection, Computer simulations/modelling/algorithms, DNA sequencing, Statistical methods, Ageing, Biological samples -e.g. blood, cell lines, saliva, etc., Biomarkers - e.g. cotinine, fatty acids, haemoglobin, etc., Bones (and joints), Epigenetics

B3698 - Longitudinal associations between physical activity and sleep in early adolescence - 20/01/2021

B number: 
B3698
Principal applicant name: 
Dr. Russell Pate | University of South Carolina (United States of America)
Co-applicants: 
Agnes Bucko, MS
Title of project: 
Longitudinal associations between physical activity and sleep in early adolescence
Proposal summary: 

Meeting physical activity, sleep and sedentary behavior guidelines is associated with better cardiometabolic health and adiposity outcomes among children and youth. Unfortunately, recent estimates suggest that only 25.4% of adolescents in the US meet sleep guidelines, 26.1% meet physical activity guidelines, and only 5% meet guidelines for sleep, physical activity and sedentary behavior. Although some evidence indicates that there is a positive association between physical activity levels and sleep duration, findings among children and adolescents are not consistent and are limited by a predominantly cross-sectional study design. Although low income and minority youth are at a higher risk of not meeting both sleep and physical activity recommendations, it is unclear whether the sleep and physical activity relationship varies by racial, ethnic or socioeconomic group. Furthermore, exercise intensity appears to have a strong, positive relationship with sleep, although more research is needed to determine whether exercise at a light or moderate intensities can lead to improvements in sleep outcomes. This study aims to examine the association between physical activity and sedentary behavior, measured objectively at 11, 13 and 15 years of age, with subjectively-measured sleep at age 15. Furthermore, this study aims to understand whether the sleep and physical activity relationship varies by demographic characteristics and measures of adiposity.

Impact of research: 
This project is significant because it will utilize a longitudinal study design to assess the relationship between sleep and physical activity, which will aid in understanding whether physical activity interventions can be utilized to improve sleep outcomes in adolescents. Furthermore, this study will expand our knowledge on the association between sleep and sedentary behavior. Although some research supports an inverse association between sleep and sedentary behavior, the lack of longitudinal studies on this association makes it difficult to discern whether sedentary behavior has a negative effect on sleep outcomes, or if children who are poorer sleepers are less active as a result of increased tiredness during the day. This study will go beyond current research addressing the sleep and physical activity/sedentary behavior relationship by assessing sleep quality, and not just sleep duration, and will consider whether these associations vary by different demographic characteristics.
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 12 January, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 20 January, 2021
Keywords: 
Exercise Science , Behaviour - e.g. antisocial behaviour, risk behaviour, etc., Statistical methods, Physical - activity, fitness, function

B3682 - NCS Cohort Project ARQ2 COVID-19 and long COVID - 20/01/2021

B number: 
B3682
Principal applicant name: 
Ruth Mitchell | University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Dr Kate Northstone, Dr Jazz Croft, Dr Alex Kwong, Dr Gareth Griffith, Professor Nic Timpson
Title of project: 
NCS Cohort Project, ARQ2, COVID-19 and long COVID
Proposal summary: 

For some people, coronavirus (COVID-19) can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone. This has been called post-COVID-19 syndrome or "long COVID". Common symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, difficulty sleeping, joint pain, problems with memory and concentration ('brain fog'). Little is known about what causes long COVID and very little about how to treat long COVID. This project aims, in a first instance, to investigate risks and determinants that make an individual more likely to have long COVID, and then to understand the health consequences of long COVID. This is of critical public health importance in helping to treat, prevent and mitigate consequences of long COVID.

Impact of research: 
Findings will contribute to the evidence base of risk factors for long COVID. It will help target prevention measures at the vulnerable groups.
Date proposal received: 
Thursday, 14 January, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 20 January, 2021
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, COVID-19, Statistical methods, COVID-19

B3700 - Maternal Lifestyle Score during Pregnancy and Child Internalizing and Externalizing Problems - 20/01/2021

B number: 
B3700
Principal applicant name: 
Jordi Julvez | ISGLOBAL (Spain)
Co-applicants: 
MSc Raquel Garcia Esteban
Title of project: 
Maternal Lifestyle Score during Pregnancy and Child Internalizing and Externalizing Problems
Proposal summary: 

Maternal life style factors during pregnancy has been related to child neurodevelopment and behavioral problems. However, there is a need to further study them in combination as a general score and perform the analyses in a consortium of several European cohorts. The harmonization of mental health problems in several population-based birth cohorts will allow us to perform trajectory analyses with specific mental health domains. In this study, we will study the association of a maternal lifestyle score during pregnancy and the trajectories of internalizing and externalizing problems. These are the main domains in child neurobehavioral development. The creation of the lifestyle score will be based on different lifestyle variables reported during pregnancy: Smoking, Alcohol consumption, DASH diet, folic acid supplement, pre-pregnancy weight/height, sleep duration, physical activity and tv watching. We will create a maternal healthy lifestyle score (CHLS) using the dichotomous variables. The final summation of these variables will be used as the main exposure variable.

Impact of research: 
The impact of this study will be important because there is not much scientific literature assessing lifestyle score factors during pregnancy and joining different European cohorts together.
Date proposal received: 
Friday, 15 January, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 20 January, 2021
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Behaviour - e.g. antisocial behaviour, risk behaviour, etc., Statistical methods, Development

B3702 - Understanding pathways from social transitions in emerging adulthood to later health outcomes - 25/01/2021

B number: 
B3702
Principal applicant name: 
Annie Herbert | University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Prof. Laura Howe, Dr. Jon Heron
Title of project: 
Understanding pathways from social transitions in emerging adulthood to later health outcomes
Proposal summary: 

There are key transitions that often occur when adolescents become adults, such as leaving full-time education, starting a full-time job, living with a partner, or becoming a parent. In previous generations, when these transitions happen early or happen close together, they have been shown to be related to poorer health and related behaviours, for example, weight gain or increased smoking. However, there is little evidence available on what typical transition patterns look like for today’s young people, which patterns are the most harmful to health, or the reasons that these patterns cause poorer health (for example, is weight gain in those who have made lots of these transitions early in life explained more by the extra stress or by lack of time to eat healthily or exercise). Using data from two recent UK birth cohorts, and sophisticated methods of analysis, we will try to answer these questions. Where possible, we will see if findings differ for sex, ethnic minority, and LGBTQ+ groups. This information can help us understand the best way to support young people moving from adolescence to young adulthood, to help optimise their health later in life.

Impact of research: 
The findings will better inform policymakers and the transitions research community as to whether AST patterns have changed in recent generations, given changing cultures in educational policy and other initiatives and trends over time e.g. preventing teenage pregnancy, closing the gender gap in employment, cohabitation over marriage. We aim to identify high-risk groups for sub-optimal AST patterns in terms of health, and modifiable risk factors, particular pathways, and critical time-points, where intervention to prevent secondary poor health outcomes may be particularly effective.
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 18 January, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 20 January, 2021
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Diabetes, Mental health, Obesity, Respiratory - asthma, GWAS, Statistical methods, Genome wide association study, Injury (including accidents), Linkage, Mendelian randomisation, Methods - e.g. cross cohort analysis, data mining, mendelian randomisation, etc., Sex differences, Social science

B3253 - Inclusion of ALSPAC samples in Psychiatric Genomics Consortium PGC for ED - 14/01/2021

B number: 
B3253
Principal applicant name: 
nadia Micali | University of geneva, Switzerland; UCL, UK
Co-applicants: 
Cynthia Bulik, Gerome breen, Mohamed Abdulkadir, Jonathan Coleman, Melissa Anne Munn-Chernoff, Jet Termorshuizen, Sang Hyuck Lee
Title of project: 
Inclusion of ALSPAC samples in Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) for ED
Proposal summary: 

Eating disorders (ED) such as anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), and binge-eating disorder (BED) are common psychiatric disorders with life-long health impacts. Additionally, current treatment options have limited effectiveness, highlighted by the observation that only 30% of adult patients with AN fully recover. The development of EDs is highly complex and driven by environmental and genetic factors. Previous research has suggested that EDs run in families, but the specific genetic variants associated with risk for EDs are not well understood. Twin studies have shown that the heritability for EDs ranges from 40%-70%. Similarly, to other psychiatric disorders, such as depression or schizophrenia, many genetic variants with relatively small effect underlie the overall genetic risk for EDs. Due to the nature of these effects, extremely large sample sizes are necessary which can only be amassed by international efforts. For AN previous large scale genetic studies, comparing patients with healthy controls, have been successful in pinpointing genetic variants associated with the illness (Duncan et al., 2017). However, no such attempts have been made regarding BN or BED and the field of EDs is lacking behind the genomic discovery of other psychiatric disorders. The success of these studies, which search across the entire genome to find associated genetic markers, is highly dependent on the number of patients and controls included in the research because the sample sizes defines the statistical power to detect significant associations. Thus, worldwide joint forces are necessary to combine datasets to boost sample sizes. Therefore, we propose to include ALSPAC participants in the international approach: Using the rich database of ALSPAC to identify patients diagnosed with AN, BN or BED and add them to international cohorts examining the genetic architecture of EDs. The findings may provide a better understanding of the development of EDs and may help to identify or new treatment strategies including potential targets for pharmaceutical treatment.

Impact of research: 
The identification of genomic variants associated with EDs may enable researcher to understand the underlying biology and may ultimately inform the development of new treatments. Only one FDA-approved medication targets the core symptoms of an eating disorder (in this case binge eating) and mortality is high. An international collaboration lead by the Eating Disorders Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC-ED) with the Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative (ANGI) and iPsych (Denmark) has found eight loci for anorexia nervosa with promising single gene loci being potential druggable targets. We also see that anorexia has strong psychiatric and metabolic genetics, suggesting a reconceptualization of the illness is needed. We seek to perform a meta-analysis of our GWAS results with ALSPAC to extend genomic discovery in all eating disorders. We aim to improve detection, prevention, and ultimately to develop cures to reduce and ultimately eliminate mortality from eating disorders.
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 21 December, 2020
Date proposal approved: 
Thursday, 14 January, 2021
Keywords: 
Genetics, Eating disorders - anorexia, bulimia

B3684 - NCS Cohort Project ARQ5 COVID-19 and historical health - 20/01/2021

B number: 
B3684
Principal applicant name: 
Ruth Mitchell | University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Dr Kate Northstone, Dr Jazz Croft, Dr Alex Kwong, Dr Gareth Griffith, Professor Nic Timpson, Dr Dylan Williams
Title of project: 
NCS Cohort Project, ARQ5, COVID-19 and historical health
Proposal summary: 
Impact of research: 
Findings will contribute to the evidence base of risk factors for COVID prognosis. It will help target prevention measures at the vulnerable groups.
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 12 January, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Thursday, 14 January, 2021
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, COVID-19, Statistical methods, Immunity

B3699 - The use of nurseries in the age of COVID - 15/01/2021

B number: 
B3699
Principal applicant name: 
Kate Northstone | University of Bristol, UK (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Professor Nic Timpson, Dr Ellen Brooks Pollock, Dr Amy Thomas
Title of project: 
The use of nurseries in the age of COVID
Proposal summary: 

There is mounting pressure on the government to close nurseries in the current COVID lockdown. There is little data available to assist policy makers in making this decision. ALSPAC is a unique position with our second generation of children, many of whom will be of pre-school age. In the first instance this project will determine whether COVID cases are more or less likely in the parents of children of nursery age. Depending on the results we may approach parents to complete a brief questionnaire on whether their children are currently attending nursery and what the consequences might be if their current provieer were to close.

Impact of research: 
provide evidence for policy makers to assist with the decision whether or not to close nurseries during the current lockdown
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 12 January, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 13 January, 2021
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, COVID

B3688 - Mapping Neurodevelopmental Trajectories for Adult Psychiatric Disorder A focus on Autism and Psychosis - 20/01/2021

B number: 
B3688
Principal applicant name: 
Anthony David | UCL
Co-applicants: 
Miss Sarah Ashley
Title of project: 
Mapping Neurodevelopmental Trajectories for Adult Psychiatric Disorder: A focus on Autism and Psychosis
Proposal summary: 

This project will investigate neurodevelopmental trajectories for psychiatric disorders, in particular autism and subclinical autistic traits and their overlap with psychosis and psychotic experiences, using longitudinally acquired MRI data from the ALSPAC-MRI-I + II datasets. Analyses will explore the influence of environmental (perinatal and postnatal) and genetic exposures on behaviour. Multi-modal brain imaging scans will be used to illuminate possible interactions between the brain, behaviour, genetics and environmental exposures.

Impact of research: 
This research may impact the scientific field by enhancing our understanding of behavioural and biological pathology associated with autism and the potential links to other psychiatric conditions such as psychosis. This research may encourage further research into biomarkers and interventions for autism and overlapping conditions. This work may also inform clinicians and the general public about the presence of autism-related traits in subclinical populations.
Date proposal received: 
Friday, 18 December, 2020
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 12 January, 2021
Keywords: 
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Behaviour - e.g. antisocial behaviour, risk behaviour, etc., Developmental disorders - autism, Mental health, Medical imaging, Statistical methods, Birth outcomes, Development, Equipment - MRI, Environment - enviromental exposure, pollution, Epigenetics, Genetics

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