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.

Click here to export results in Word format.

B4501 - Impact of reproductive tract disorders in womens life course using the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children Cohort - 15/01/2024

B number: 
B4501
Principal applicant name: 
Maegan Ashworth Dirac | Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98133 (USA )
Co-applicants: 
Hannah Han, Erica Leigh Slepak, Julia Hon, Lauren Hanna, Salome Drouard, Sabica Nasar, Rachel Schneider
Title of project: 
Impact of reproductive tract disorders in women’s life course using the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children Cohort
Proposal summary: 

Historically, women's reproductive health has been overlooked on a global scale despite the substantial and long-lasting impact that reproductive tract diseases have on a woman’s educational, professional, and personal lives. According to the results from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019, female reproductive tract diseases, including gynecologic disorders and sexually transmitted infections, are highly prevalent among women, ranking as the 2nd and 6th prevalent diseases globally in 2019 (1). Despite their high prevalence, these conditions often account for fewer years lived with disability (YLDs) compared to other similarly common diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. Although some of this difference may appropriately reflect the difference in the average nonfatal health loss suffered by individuals with these conditions, it raises questions about the completeness of current data inputs, accuracy of disease assumptions used to convert prevalence to YLDs, as well as the limitations of the existing disease burden measurement framework.
The current YLD estimation framework used for the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) relies on point-prevalence, and in some ways, is agnostic to chronicity and recurrent illness. This is to say that a disease with short duration experienced once by a large number of people may contribute the same number of YLDs to total burden as a chronic or recurrent disease experienced by a smaller group of individuals. It is reasonable to suspect that symptoms and functional limitations that occur chronically or repeatedly have a cumulative effect that is more than additive and can also have a long-term impact on activities of daily living such as school, child-rearing, household chores, work, and other economic activity. Extending beyond the GBD’s standard approach of measuring health loss at a single point in time, we propose to develop a framework using high-quality, multi-dimensional longitudinal datasets, such as the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) cohort study, to guide more nuanced estimation of YLDs for chronic or recurrent conditions related to women’s reproductive health to capture long-term effects female reproductive health disease has on women’s well-being over time. This framework will provide a more comprehensive view of the impact of female reproductive health diseases on women’s lives and can be used to inform policy and develop tailored interventions and treatments to address the disparate burden faced by this population.
References:
1. GBD 2019 Diseases and Injuries Collaborators. Global burden of 369 diseases and injuries in 204 countries and territories, 1990-2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. Lancet 2020; 396: 1204–22.

Impact of research: 
Improving the estimates for the global burden of female reproductive tract disease is key to advocate for broader investments in primary data collection, as well as prevention and treatment initiatives. To that end, the results of this analysis will be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, and also summarized in a report appropriate for non-academic stakeholders – including our funder, other foundations, governmental and non-governmental organizations working to improve women’s health. Results published in our academic manuscript would be accessible via that publication to those who conduct systematic reviews, meta-analyses or other data synthesis, including but not limited to GBD.
Date proposal received: 
Sunday, 31 December, 2023
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 8 January, 2024
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Fertility/infertility, Pregnancy - e.g. reproductive health, postnatal depression, birth outcomes, etc., Sexually transmitted diseases, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, Statistical methods, STI, gynecological disorders, infertility, longitudinal analysis

B4497 - Exploring the association between daily eating window in childhood and adolescence with later metabolic health - 18/12/2023

B number: 
B4497
Principal applicant name: 
Kate Northstone | University of Bristol, UK (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Ass Prof Sam Leary, Jill Townley
Title of project: 
Exploring the association between daily eating window in childhood and adolescence with later metabolic health
Proposal summary: 

When we eat may be as important as what and how much we eat in terms of affecting our health. We will use exact times of food intake as reported in diet diaires at ages 7, 10 and 13 to work out a daily eating window - this is the time between the first and last eating in any 24-hour period. In adults, this daily eating window has been shown to provide health benefits if it is restricted (e.g. to 8-12 hours). Reductions have been shown in body weight, fat mass, blood pressure and other heart related measures. However, very little is known about this time restricted eating in children. We will determine the average eating window at each age and examine associations with these and a number of heart-related outcomes.

Impact of research: 
This project will provide novel insights into the daily eating windows of children and adolescents, plus how these change over time. Additionally, it will demonstrate whether there is an association between length of daily eating window and adverse anthropometric and metabolic health markers, both in childhood and adolescence, plus in early adulthood.
Date proposal received: 
Friday, 15 December, 2023
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 18 December, 2023
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Obesity, Blood pressure, BMI, Cardiovascular, Nutrition - breast feeding, diet

B4496 - Generation of NMR metabolomics in G1 at age 30 years - 17/01/2024

B number: 
B4496
Principal applicant name: 
Nic Timpson | MRC IEU, University of Bristol (UK)
Co-applicants: 
Dr Laura Corbin, Maddy Smith
Title of project: 
Generation of NMR metabolomics in G1 at age 30 years
Proposal summary: 

Metabolomics, defined as the measurement and study of circulating small molecules that are the substrates and products of cellular metabolism, is increasingly used by epidemiologists to provide a functional read-out of bulk cellular activity and a proxy to individual current health. This approach also provides insight into biological pathways linking exposures and disease. Nightingale Health’s nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy-based metabolomic research service enables reproducible and cost-effective measurement of lipids, inflammation, dietary intake and insulin sensitivity (https://research.nightingalehealth.com/). The platform enables absolute quantification of close to 200 metabolites and includes 39 clinically validated biomarkers. This platform has already been used to generate metabolomics data from samples collected during the G1 clinics at age 7, 15, 17 and 24 years. We propose to generate NMR data from samples collected during the age 30 clinic. This work will enable us to extend the longitudinal dataset into the latter part of early adulthood. In epidemiology, this is a traditionally understudied part of the life course but one which we believe may offer important insights into the development of disease later in adulthood.

Impact of research: 
The integration of these data into the ALSPAC catalogue will enable ourselves and other researchers to generate longitudinal profiles of metabolites and associated phenotypes from age 7 through to age 30, with many participants having multiple measures. This dataset will be perhaps the most comprehensive charting of metabolic health through time in a deeply phenotype cohort setting, and provides a useful comparator to large cross-sectional collections measured on the same platform, for example, UK Biobank.
Date proposal received: 
Thursday, 14 December, 2023
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 18 December, 2023
Keywords: 
Molecular genetics and genomics, Metabolic health, Metabolomics, Biological samples -e.g. blood, cell lines, saliva, etc., Biomarkers - e.g. cotinine, fatty acids, haemoglobin, etc.

B4471 - Age and diet quality may have modify effect on the relationship between chronotype and depression - 18/12/2023

B number: 
B4471
Principal applicant name: 
Po-Hsiu, Kuo | National Taiwan University, Taiwan
Co-applicants: 
Meng-Chieh, Tsao
Title of project: 
Age and diet quality may have modify effect on the relationship between chronotype and depression
Proposal summary: 

This study aims to explore the potential protective effects of an early bedtime and waking routine against depression. It also seeks to examine how factors like age and diet quality might influence this relationship. By understanding these dynamics, the research could offer insights into simple lifestyle adjustments for mitigating depression risks.

Impact of research: 
Our research is poised to make significant contributions to the understanding of the relationship between chronotype and depression, particularly considering the dynamic nature of chronotype across different life stages. Key impacts include: 1. Exploring chronotype variability across ages: While existing literature suggests a causal relationship between chronotype and depression, we recognize that chronotype is not static throughout life. Adolescents typically experience a delay in chronotype, whereas the elderly often exhibit an advance. Our study aims to delve deeper into this relationship through a gene-environment (GE) interaction analysis. By examining effect modifications by age in various groups, including adolescents and adults, we hope to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the influential factors in this relationship. 2. Investigating the Roles of Diet: Additionally, we will investigate the potential effect modification by diet quality. This aspect of our research will particularly focus on whether diet quality modifies the relationship between chronotype and depression in adults, as opposed to adolescents. This could offer new insights into how dietary habits influence mental health and contribute to a more nuanced understanding of depression's etiology. Overall, our research aims to broaden the understanding of how chronotype, age, and diet interact to influence depression while considering other sleep and mental health influences, potentially informing more targeted and effective interventions.
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 11 December, 2023
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 18 December, 2023
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Mental health, Statistical methods, Mendelian randomisation

B4462 - The architecture of health and labour market outcomes - 24/01/2024

B number: 
B4462
Principal applicant name: 
Jakub Hlávka | Masaryk University (Czech Republic)
Co-applicants: 
Jaroslav Groero PhD, Štěpán Mikula
Title of project: 
The architecture of health and labour market outcomes
Proposal summary: 

The environments we live and work in affect our physiological functions and health, which in turn can affect behavior, productivity, and overall labor market performance. Air pollution in particular is a pervasive environmental issue with far-reaching consequences for human health and well-being, as has been suggested by e.g., Currie, Neidell, and Schmieder (2009), Currie et al. (2014), Greenstone and Hanna (2014), or Newell et al. (2018). Exposure to air pollution can affect human health even during the gestation period resulting in poorer health at birth (Chay and Greenstone 2003; Currie and Neidell 2005; Bharadwaj et al. 2017), which in turn negatively impacts human capital accumulation (Black et al. 2007; Zivin and Neidell 2013) and life-long health and labor market outcomes (Rangel and Vogl 2019). Poor health in childhood also affects labor markets indirectly as poorer development status in childhood can potentially decrease parents’ labor supply in terms of hours worked, and thus the household’s overall income (Lafférs and Schmidpeter 2021).

In this project we propose to investigate the effect of in-utero exposure on cognitive abilites of the children. Moreover, we plan to investigate how the negative effect of pollution on child's human capital affects productivity and social capital of their parents.

Impact of research: 
We plan to publish our research in top peer-reviewed journal
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 18 December, 2023
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 18 December, 2023
Keywords: 
Health Economics, Hypertension, Obesity, Pregnancy - e.g. reproductive health, postnatal depression, birth outcomes, etc., Statistical methods, Blood pressure, BMI, Cardiovascular, Childhood - childcare, childhood adversity, Cognition - cognitive function, Statistical methods

B4481 - Examining the role of inflammation in the heterogeneity of depression - 18/12/2023

B number: 
B4481
Principal applicant name: 
Holly Fraser | MRC IEU
Co-applicants: 
Professor Golam Khandaker, Dr Nick Donnelly
Title of project: 
Examining the role of inflammation in the heterogeneity of depression
Proposal summary: 

This project will look at the role of the immune system in mental health in the ALSPAC population. This is being done to discover whether inflammation plays a role in mental health, and if so, what sort of treatments could be developed to help treat depression.

Impact of research: 
This research will contribute to an enhanced understanding of drivers of heterogeneity in the clinical population. Novel pharmacological strategies for depression treatment may also be informed by this work.
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 5 December, 2023
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 18 December, 2023
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Mental health, Machine learning, Biomarkers - e.g. cotinine, fatty acids, haemoglobin, etc.

B4494 - An investigation of childhood hearing loss on developmental educational employment outcomes in ALSPAC - 08/01/2024

B number: 
B4494
Principal applicant name: 
Amanda Hall | Aston University (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Dr Jon Heron, Dr Hannah Cooper, Dr Kat Mumford
Title of project: 
An investigation of childhood hearing loss on developmental, educational & employment outcomes in ALSPAC
Proposal summary: 

Hearing loss in children has a well-documented impact on language development, which in turn is tightly linked to cognitive development, literacy and educational outcomes. Most research has focused on the impact of moderate to severe/profound hearing loss (>40 dB in the worst hearing ear), based on clinical populations. However hearing sensitivity is a continuum, and there is developing evidence that “lesser” degrees of hearing loss, not always identified or managed through Audiology clinics, may have an impact on children’s development although much is still unknown.

This lack of evidence leads to within- and between-country differences in how hearing loss is managed in children. In the UK for example, communication and educational interventions are available as standard for those with moderate or worse bilateral hearing loss in both ears, with regional differences as to how milder hearing losses are managed, if at all. By contrast, in Canada, children with any degree of hearing loss in either ear, receive intensive communication, hearing and educational intervention from birth. There is no evidence as to which approach is best.

To develop interventions which are effective across the range of hearing losses, it is necessary to first understand the impact of hearing sensitivity (examined as a continuum) on children's development. This requires a population rather than a clinical approach. This study therefore aims to examine the impact of childhood hearing loss on language, cognitive, educational and employment outcomes through childhood and early adulthood in the ALSPAC cohort.

ALSPAC has detailed measures of hearing at ages 7, 9, 11 and 15 years on around 4-7000 of the cohort. We will conduct an in-depth statistical analysis of these hearing data to understand the range and continuum of children's hearing sensitivity in the population, how it changes with age and how it links to clinical categories of hearing loss.

We will then examine whether the continuum and range of hearing levels in childhood are associated with child development and outcomes into young adulthood. We will focus on language, cognition, literacy, education, well-being and employment outcomes. Finally if there are adverse outcomes for those with hearing loss, we will examine whether there are factors that moderate outcomes.

Impact of research: 
Increase knowledge around the role of hearing, across the continuum and over time, on child development and later life outcomes Inform the debate about early intervention for hearing Provide rationale and data for a next stage study comparing intervention and outcomes in UK vs Canada
Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 13 December, 2023
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 18 December, 2023
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Hearing loss, Statistical methods, ENT - hearing

B4475 - Cognitive inflammatory and brain trajectories in individuals with psychotic experiences - 18/12/2023

B number: 
B4475
Principal applicant name: 
Kate Merritt | University College London (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Jehanita Jesuthasan, Lina Robinet
Title of project: 
Cognitive, inflammatory and brain trajectories in individuals with psychotic experiences
Proposal summary: 

Impairments in cognitive performance are present before psychosis onset, however the relationship between cognitive trajectories and brain development is unknown. In this project we will investigate whether altered brain development is associated with impaired cognitive performance, and whether this is more common in those with psychotic experiences. Inflammation is thought to play a role in the development of psychosis. This project will examine whether inflammatory markers are higher in those with psychotic experiences, and whether they are associated with brain changes. We do not need additional data as we will be using data from B3035.

Impact of research: 
Journal publication
Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 29 November, 2023
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 18 December, 2023
Keywords: 
Neurology, Mental health, Medical imaging, Biological samples -e.g. blood, cell lines, saliva, etc., Equipment - MRI

B4495 - Multi-omics analysis of nursery thermometer study - 18/12/2023

B number: 
B4495
Principal applicant name: 
Neil Goulding | Centre for Academic Child Health, Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Dr Matthew Suderman, Professor Jean Golding
Title of project: 
Multi-omics analysis of nursery thermometer study
Proposal summary: 

During the last 6 months (May - Dec 1992) of recruitment to the study, mothers were randomised to receive a simple thermometer or not. Those who received one, were asked to place in the wall of the room where her baby slept (see project B4449 for further information). This project will investigate whether receiving a thermometer influences protein levels and DNA methylation.

Impact of research: 
This project will allow researchers to examine whether the presence of a thermometer in a child's bedroom may have an impact on children's inflammation levels and DNA methylation.
Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 13 December, 2023
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 18 December, 2023
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Respiratory - asthma, Proteomics, Epigenetics

B4491 - DETERMINING EFFICACY AND SAFETY OF DRUGS USED TO TREAT AUTO-IMMUNE CONDITIONS DURING PREGNANCY - 18/12/2023

B number: 
B4491
Principal applicant name: 
Maria Carolina Borges | University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Ms Lizzy Aiton
Title of project: 
DETERMINING EFFICACY AND SAFETY OF DRUGS USED TO TREAT AUTO-IMMUNE CONDITIONS DURING PREGNANCY
Proposal summary: 

Autoimmune conditions affect around 13% of women in the UK (1) and are often diagnosed during their potentially reproductive years, including conditions like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. These conditions can be managed using monoclonal antibodies, a relatively new category of drug which has grown rapidly over the past two decades and are tailor-made to bind to particular protein targets.

Randomised clinical trials provide the gold-standard of evidence on how effective and how safe drugs are, but since pregnant participants are typically excluded from these trials, there is often a lack of evidence available for clinicians and doctors on how well drugs work and how safe they are for pregnant patients. This is the case for monoclonal antibodies, and particularly since many of these drugs have been developed very recently there is also limited evidence on their safety from observational studies which follow participant’s pregnancies over time. The limited evidence is particularly challenging since having an unmanaged autoimmune condition can increase your risk of an adverse pregnancy outcome, for instance inflammatory bowel disease is linked to increased risk of early pregnancy loss (2).

This project aims to understand how underlying autoimmune conditions and using monoclonal antibodies to treat them may cause adverse pregnancy events such as pregnancy loss, low birth weight, and pre-term birth, by examining natural genetic variation between participants within existing databases including ALSPAC.

First, the genetic variation associated with seven common autoimmune conditions will be used to assess if differences in participant’s genetic predisposition to an autoimmune condition may have a causal effect on adverse pregnancy outcomes. Second, to mimic how monoclonal antibodies work, the same method will be used but this time taking advantage of genetic variation in protein levels in blood to mimic the effects of these drugs which each target very specific proteins involved in the immune response. The project will assess whether variation in these proteins has a causal effect on adverse pregnancy outcomes, to provide evidence on whether monoclonal antibody drugs are safe to be used by pregnant patients to manage their autoimmune conditions.

1. Conrad, N. et al. (2023) ‘Incidence, prevalence, and co-occurrence of autoimmune disorders over time and by age, sex, and socioeconomic status: a population-based cohort study of 22 million individuals in the UK’, The Lancet, 401(10391), pp. 1878–1890. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(23)00457-9.
2. Nielsen, O.H. et al. (2022) ‘Biologics for Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Their Safety in Pregnancy: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis’, Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology: The Official Clinical Practice Journal of the American Gastroenterological Association, 20(1), pp. 74-87.e3. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cgh.2020.09.021.

Impact of research: 
This research aims to contribute novel evidence from Mendelian Randomization methods on the safety of using monoclonal antibody drugs to manage autoimmune conditions during pregnancy. This could then be triangulated with observational studies such as the UKOSS observational study of monoclonal antibody biologics (1) to help generate evidence-based guidance for clinicians and patients. 1. Biological agents in pregnancy | UKOSS | NPEU (no date). Available at: https://www.npeu.ox.ac.uk/ukoss/current-surveillance/bioagents (Accessed: 23 June 2023).
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 12 December, 2023
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 18 December, 2023
Keywords: 
Genetic epidemiology (including association studies and mendelian randomisation), Pregnancy - e.g. reproductive health, postnatal depression, birth outcomes, etc., Statistical methods, Birth outcomes, Genetic epidemiology, Immunity, Mendelian randomisation, Mothers - maternal age, menopause, obstetrics

B4459 - A Machine Learning Approach for Predicting Childrens Future BMI - 15/01/2024

B number: 
B4459
Principal applicant name: 
Kang Lee | University of Toronto (Canada)
Co-applicants: 
Yuan Hong Sun
Title of project: 
A Machine Learning Approach for Predicting Children’s Future BMI
Proposal summary: 

Child development involves not only mental but also physical development. Children’s future height, weight, and in particular, body mass index (BMI), is a major concern for parents and physicians due to the current pediatric obesity epidemic. Currently, these predicted measurements are calculated through clinical procedures. To make this process more convenient for parents, we are developing a machine-learning approach for predicting children’s future height, weight, and BMI for a certain number of years and implementing it digitally as an online assessment tool. We plan to use a longitudinal dataset of children’s physical examination data.

Impact of research: 
We believe this study and the subsequent online tool can greatly help parents, guardians, and schools monitor the general physical health of children and take the initiative in building healthier lifestyles for children.
Date proposal received: 
Sunday, 3 December, 2023
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 18 December, 2023
Keywords: 
Statistics/methodology, Obesity, Computer simulations/modelling/algorithms, Statistical methods, BMI

B4498 - Cognitive inflammatory and brain trajectories in individuals with psychotic experiences2 - 18/12/2023

B number: 
B4498
Principal applicant name: 
Kate Merritt | University College London (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Lina Robinet
Title of project: 
Cognitive, inflammatory and brain trajectories in individuals with psychotic experiences2
Proposal summary: 

Impairments in cognitive performance are present before psychosis onset, however the relationship between cognitive trajectories and brain development is unknown. In this project we will investigate whether altered brain development is associated with impaired cognitive performance, and whether this is more common in those with psychotic experiences. Inflammation is thought to play a role in the development of psychosis. This project will examine whether inflammatory markers are higher in those with psychotic experiences, and whether they are associated with brain changes. We do not need additional data as we will be using data from B3035.

Impact of research: 
Journal publication
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 18 December, 2023
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 18 December, 2023
Keywords: 
Neurology, Mental health, Medical imaging, Biological samples -e.g. blood, cell lines, saliva, etc.

B4493 - The role of executive functioning in young peoples ability to engage with chronic pain self-management - 18/12/2023

B number: 
B4493
Principal applicant name: 
Line Caes | University of Sitrling
Co-applicants: 
Dr. Julia Allan
Title of project: 
The role of executive functioning in young people's ability to engage with chronic pain self-management
Proposal summary: 

Chronic pain is common problem in young people (occurring in up to a third) that can negatively impact their daily functioning such as attending school/work, socialising with friends, and their mental health (also known as "interference due to pain"). Intervening early by helping young people to self-manage pain, through regularly taking medication, completing exercises, and using relaxation, can improve their day to day lives. However, research shows that the long-term effects of these interventions are moderate at best, and young people (aged 10 - 18) often have difficulty taking responsibility for these complex self-management tasks. This project will help us to understand these difficulties and to better support young people's in managing their pain experiences as they mature, by exploring the role of executive functioning skills in their pain experiences and self-management. To live an independent life, young people learn how to control and organise their thoughts, behaviours, and emotions. These executive functioning skills are pivotal to the successful self-management of chronic pain. However, preliminary evidence suggests that these executive functioning skill in young people with chronic pain may develop more slowly and may be weakened further by the experience of chronic pain. We need to know more about the relationship between chronic pain and control skills to understand young people’s difficulties with self-managing their pain and improve our interventions to better support them.
To this end, the PhD project aims to find out how chronic pain, executive functioning skills and self-management difficulties are related to each other in young people. This aim will achieved through 3 related studies:
1) Using existing data on executive functioning skills and chronic pain experiences from the ALSPAC cohort to identify differences in executive functioning skills between in young people with and without chronic pain.
2) Conducting interviews with 20 young people with chronic pain to identify which self-management tasks are most important to them, and how we can best measure their engagement with these tasks.
3) Conducting a study in 100 young people (of which half have chronic pain, and the other half have not) who will complete a set of tasks, including memory tests and problem-solving tasks, and questionnaires to assess their pain and self-management experiences. Participants will complete this set of tasks and questionnaires at 2 time points (1 year apart from each other), which will allow us to compare how executive functioning skills develop over time in young people with and without chronic pain, and how these are related to their engagement with self-management tasks.

Impact of research: 
In the short term, the project’s impact is an increased understanding and awareness of the role of executive functioning skills in young people's experience of chronic pain and effective engagement with pain-related self- management. In the long term, our project aims to improve young people's engagement with and adherence to pain management interventions, thereby improving wellbeing of young people with chronic pain and their families.
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 12 December, 2023
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 18 December, 2023
Keywords: 
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Pain, Statistical methods, Cognition - cognitive function

B4487 - Macronutrient balance and carbohydrate quality for optimal growth trajectory and cardiometabolic health of children - 06/12/2023

B number: 
B4487
Principal applicant name: 
Caroline Taylor | CACH, BMS, University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Dr Manuel Ramos, Dr Jibran Wali, Dr Pauline Emmett, Dr Nicholas Hays
Title of project: 
Macronutrient balance and carbohydrate quality for optimal growth trajectory and cardiometabolic health of children
Proposal summary: 

Our diets are made up of a mixture of different nutrients that can impact our health in various ways. Nutrition studies that only look at one thing at a time, like comparing high-fat to low-fat diets, often miss out on how these nutrients interact with each other and affect our metabolism. This can lead to confusing and conflicting conclusions about how nutrients influence diseases like diabetes or obesity. To truly understand what diet is best for our health, we need to consider how nutrients work together. A nutrition science methodology called nutritional geometry (NG) helps with this. It's a tool that shows how different nutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates) in our food can affect things like our body weight, our appetite, our blood glucose and cholesterol levels. This approach has been used successfully in various animals, from flies to humans, to figure out how different diets affect markers of health and lifespan.

In recent years, scientists have been using the NG approach to study the diets of children and adults. For example, in Australian children, they found that having less protein compared to fat and carbs in the diet was linked to starting puberty earlier. In Finnish children, the amount of energy they got from protein affected how many calories they ate in a day. So, it's not just about how much of each nutrient we eat, but also about how they work together. In this project, we aim to use the NG methodology to study how diets with different ratios of protein, fat and carbohydrate influence their health status and risk of obesity and diabetes across different stages of childhood.

When it comes to carbohydrates, the quality matters too, not just the quantity. Carbs are the major source of energy for the majority of population, but not all carbs are the same. The glycemic index (GI) is a way to measure how quickly a food makes our blood sugar rise and glycemic load (GL) is a measure of how much the food will raise a person's blood glucose level after eating it. In this project, we will generate evidence for the relationship between GI and GL of the diet in childhood and its link with growth, development, obesity and various markers of health. In addition, sugary drinks with fructose can be bad for our health, even if they have a lower GI compared to other sugars. This is because fructose can make our liver create more fat, leading to weight gain and other issues. So, it's not just about the type of carbs we eat, but how they affect our bodies in different ways. Therefore, we will assess how the level of fructose in the diet predisposes a child to the risk of obesity and diabetes.

Impact of research: 
This research project will generate scientific evidence for the relationship between dietary parameters (macronutrient balance, GI, GL and dietary fructose content) and markers of growth, development and cardiometabolic health in childhood. This knowledge will identify the ratios and balance of nutrients that could optimize growth and health of the children, minimizing the risk of obesity and associated metabolic disease. This will have wide-ranging implications for public health policy and food industry practices.
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 5 December, 2023
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 6 December, 2023
Keywords: 
Physiology, Diabetes, Obesity, Computer simulations/modelling/algorithms, Statistical methods, Biological samples -e.g. blood, cell lines, saliva, etc., Biomarkers - e.g. cotinine, fatty acids, haemoglobin, etc., Physical - activity, fitness, function, Statistical methods, Blood pressure, BMI, Cardiovascular, Development, Growth, Hormones - cortisol, IGF, thyroid, Metabolic - metabolism, Nutrition - breast feeding, diet

B4482 - Epigenome-wide DNA methylation associations with mental health and brain structure - 22/01/2024

B number: 
B4482
Principal applicant name: 
Sylvane Desrivieres | King's College London
Co-applicants: 
Xinyang Yu
Title of project: 
Epigenome-wide DNA methylation associations with mental health and brain structure
Proposal summary: 

Adolescence is the age of onset of many common mental disorders. The roles of epigenetic modifications, such as DNA methylation (DNAm), has increasingly been recognised in neurological and psychiatric disorders, brain development, and aging. Investigating the relationships between DNAm and mental health, particularly in children and adolescents, is crucial for identifying early biomarkers and for enhancing our understanding of biological mechanisms underlying risk for and onset of mental illness at this developmentally sensitive period.

Impact of research: 
This work will identify and validate blood-based DNAm biomarkers and related genes that are crucial for pubertal development, mental disorders, and brain development, aiming to provide targets for early interventions. High impact publications and conference presentations will be expected from this research.
Date proposal received: 
Sunday, 3 December, 2023
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 6 December, 2023
Keywords: 
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Addiction - e.g. alcohol, illicit drugs, smoking, gambling, etc., Behaviour - e.g. antisocial behaviour, risk behaviour, etc., Eating disorders - anorexia, bulimia, Mental health, GWAS, Microarrays, RNA, Statistical methods, Ageing, BMI, Cognition - cognitive function, Development, Equipment - MRI, Environment - enviromental exposure, pollution, Epigenetics, Expression, Psychology - personality, Statistical methods

B4483 - Exploring the impact of cardiopulmonary fitness on exercise blood pressure cardiac output and peripheral blood flow - 06/12/2023

B number: 
B4483
Principal applicant name: 
Siana Jones | University College London (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Miss Annali Olivelle
Title of project: 
Exploring the impact of cardiopulmonary fitness on exercise blood pressure, cardiac output and peripheral blood flow
Proposal summary: 

Blood pressure rises during exercise as a result of changes in the amount of blood the heart pumps and changes in the circulation within skeletal muscle. An exaggerated blood pressure response to exercise can indicate poor cardiovascular health but recent work suggests an exaggerated exercise BP only indicates poor cardiovascular health when cardiopulmonary fitness (aerobic fitness) is low. In this project we propose to explore the effect of fitness on exercise blood pressure and the mechanisms underlying this relationship. Sex differences in all metrics and associations will also be explored to get a better understanding of cardiovascular health in young men and women.

Impact of research: 
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 4 December, 2023
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 6 December, 2023
Keywords: 
Physiology, Statistical methods, Cardiovascular

B4484 - Student 2 Exploring the impact of cardiopulmonary fitness on exercise blood pressure cardiac output and peripheral blood flow - 06/12/2023

B number: 
B4484
Principal applicant name: 
Siana Jones | University College London (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Mr Abdul Bakhi
Title of project: 
Student 2: Exploring the impact of cardiopulmonary fitness on exercise blood pressure, cardiac output and peripheral blood flow
Proposal summary: 

Blood pressure rises during exercise as a result of changes in the amount of blood the heart pumps and changes in the circulation within skeletal muscle. An exaggerated blood pressure response to exercise can indicate poor cardiovascular health but recent work suggests an exaggerated exercise BP only indicates poor cardiovascular health when cardiopulmonary fitness (aerobic fitness) is low. In this project we propose to explore the effect of fitness on exercise blood pressure and the mechanisms underlying this relationship. Sex differences in all metrics and associations will also be explored to get a better understanding of cardiovascular health in young men and women.

Impact of research: 
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 4 December, 2023
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 6 December, 2023
Keywords: 
Physiology, Statistical methods, Cardiovascular

B4485 - Student 3 Exploring the impact of cardiopulmonary fitness on exercise blood pressure cardiac output and peripheral blood flow - 06/12/2023

B number: 
B4485
Principal applicant name: 
Siana Jones | University College London (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Mr Elion Tmava
Title of project: 
Student 3: Exploring the impact of cardiopulmonary fitness on exercise blood pressure, cardiac output and peripheral blood flow
Proposal summary: 

Blood pressure rises during exercise as a result of changes in the amount of blood the heart pumps and changes in the circulation within skeletal muscle. An exaggerated blood pressure response to exercise can indicate poor cardiovascular health but recent work suggests an exaggerated exercise BP only indicates poor cardiovascular health when cardiopulmonary fitness (aerobic fitness) is low. In this project we propose to explore the effect of fitness on exercise blood pressure and the mechanisms underlying this relationship. Sex differences in all metrics and associations will also be explored to get a better understanding of cardiovascular health in young men and women.

Impact of research: 
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 4 December, 2023
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 6 December, 2023
Keywords: 
Physiology, Statistical methods, Cardiovascular

B4489 - Estimating the age-varying genetic association between the rs9939609 SNP at the FTO locus and body mass index BMI - 06/12/2023

B number: 
B4489
Principal applicant name: 
Kate Tilling | Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School (UK)
Co-applicants: 
Miss Panagiota Pagoni
Title of project: 
Estimating the age-varying genetic association between the rs9939609 SNP at the FTO locus and body mass index (BMI)
Proposal summary: 
Impact of research: 
Provide guidance on methods that could be used to combine summary-level data from studies that provide summary-level data on both SNP-phenotype associations and SNP by age interactions and studies that provide summary-level data only on the SNP-phenotype association.
Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 6 December, 2023
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 6 December, 2023
Keywords: 
Genetic epidemiology (including association studies and mendelian randomisation), Obesity, Computer simulations/modelling/algorithms, GWAS, Statistical methods, BMI, Genome wide association study

B4486 - Childhood respiratory disease and lung function trajectories - 18/12/2023

B number: 
B4486
Principal applicant name: 
James Dodd | University of Bristol; Academic Respiratory Unit, Southmead Hospital;
Co-applicants: 
Dr Rachel Scott, Dr Raquel Granell, Dr George Nava
Title of project: 
Childhood respiratory disease and lung function trajectories
Proposal summary: 

G1 participants of ALSPAC have had their lung function measured at the ages of 8, 15 and 24 years. This data has been used to plot trajectories of their lung function, from which four distinct patterns have been identified: persistently high, normal, below average, and persistently low. It is known that below normal lung function trajectories are associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. It is therefore important that we identify and target any modifiable risk factors. We propose using linked GP and hospital records to compare the prevalence of childhood respiratory disease in each trajectory group. By looking at hospital admissions, inhaler use and the prescription of antibiotics and steroids we can also assess the severity of respiratory disease, particularly in asthma and chest infections. Identifying conditions that increase the risk of below normal lung function gives us the opportunity to target them in childhood by optimising their clinical management.

Impact of research: 
This research will provide new insight into the clinical history of individuals in different lung function trajectory groups. To our knowledge, this will be the first study, looking at predictors of lung function trajectories, to use GP and hospital records. Childhood asthma and chest infections within the first four years of life have been associated with below normal lung function trajectories. However, previous studies have been limited by their reliance on survey data, which can be less reliable and less detailed compared to GP and hospital records. GP and hospital records also allow for severity of respiratory disease to be assessed by analysing admission rates as well as prescriptions of oral steroids, antibiotics, and inhaled corticosteroids. Our research will give a clearer picture of the prevalence and severity of respiratory disease during the development of lung function trajectories. This is crucial to understanding the pathophysiology of these trajectories and finding therapeutic targets to prevent chronic respiratory disease in this population.
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 4 December, 2023
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 6 December, 2023
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Respiratory - asthma, Statistical methods, Lung function trajectories

Pages