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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B4020 - ALSPAC EMPHASIS study of childhood height and DNA methylation - 21/03/2022

B number: 
B4020
Principal applicant name: 
Hannah Elliott | University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Professor Caroline Relton, Dr Matt Silver, Mr Prachand Issarapu, Dr Giriraj Chandak, Professor Caroline Fall
Title of project: 
ALSPAC EMPHASIS study of childhood height and DNA methylation
Proposal summary: 

The aim of this research is to determine the relationship between DNA methylation at the SOCS3 region and both height and mothers social class. Work leading up to this proposal has indicated that SOCS3 methylation may be associated with height and stunting in cohorts based in Lower Middle Income Countries (LMICs). Analysis in ALSPAC will help to answer whether these associations are also present in High Income Countries (HIC) such as the UK. Analysis of genetic data will determine the variance in DNA methylation determined by genetic and/or environment and the causal direction of any associations identified.

Impact of research: 
This project will define the relationship between SOCS3 methylation and SES/child height and allow us to make inferences about the role of SOCS3 in growth and stunting during childhood. Analysis conducted in this project will be published as a peer reviewed journal article.
Date proposal received: 
Friday, 4 March, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 14 March, 2022
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Child Height, Statistical methods, Epigenetic Epidemiology, Epigenetics, Growth, Mendelian randomisation

B4004 - INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE PERPETRATORS THE ORIGINS B3087 - 14/03/2022

B number: 
B4004
Principal applicant name: 
Miguel Perez-Garcia | University of Granada (Spain) (Spain)
Co-applicants: 
Noelia Perez Camara, Miss
Title of project: 
INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE PERPETRATORS: THE ORIGINS B3087
Proposal summary: 

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is defined as any violent behavior within an intimate relationship or any other controlling behavior that is conducted by a current or former partner. It is the most common form of violence in women which constitutes a major public health problem worldwide. The current explanatory theories of IPV perpetration can be summarized as feminist/sociocultural, social learning theory-based intergenerational transmission and psychological/psychosocial. According to the feminist/sociocultural theory, domestic violence is a consequence of “patriarchy”. From this view, violence is used as a form of power and control of women by men. The intergenerational transmission theory asserts that domestic violence is based on the exposure to, or observation of, violence in the family of origin. Psychological theories propose that there are psychological, psychiatric, behavioural and neurological risk factors for domestic violence perpetration. In the study of IPV perpetration, it is important to consider the variables addressed by such theories as a whole and from a developmental perspective and there is no study that simultaneously considers all the variables of these explanatory theories. The general aim of our study is to identify those etiological mechanisms linking risk factors for IPV perpetration across development. This study will be the first one that sheds light on which the origins of IPV perpetration are by knowing how IPV perpetration develops. Implications in terms of prevention and treatment will be of a great relevance for public health.

Impact of research: 
Considering the high prevalence and negative consequences of IPV, its prevention is of great importance to public health. Moreover, there is a scarcity of studies that address IPV perpetration from a prospective approach and using large samples. In this line, it is the first study that simultaneously considers all the variables of the current explanatory theories of IPV perpetration (e.g., feminist/sociocultural, social learning theory-based intergenerational transmission and psychological/psychosocial) from a prospective perspective. The further investigation of the current explanatory theories of IPV perpetration using a fully prospective design would benefit in the comprehension of IPV perpetration. Regarding the public health significance of the present research, we expect to identify which variables differentiate IPV perpetrators from those who do not show IPV perpetration. Such investigation will be useful in the treatment and prevention of IPV since we will determine for the first time, the etiological mechanisms involved in IPV perpetration.
Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 2 March, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 14 March, 2022
Keywords: 
Social Science, Behaviour - e.g. antisocial behaviour, risk behaviour, etc., Statistical methods, Psychology - personality

B4007 - Genetic Influences on Sibling Bullying and Mental Health - 09/03/2022

B number: 
B4007
Principal applicant name: 
Umar Toseeb | University of York
Co-applicants: 
Dr John Vincent
Title of project: 
Genetic Influences on Sibling Bullying and Mental Health
Proposal summary: 

Sibling bullying is highly prevalent. Nearly 50% of children are involved in one form or another, with higher rates in some neurodiverse children. Sibling bullying is associated with poor mental health. What remains unclear is if a) sibling bullying leads to poor mental health or whether children with poor mental health are more likely to experience sibling and b) what the rates of sibling bullying are in children with other types of neurodiversity. We will use a genetically sensitive design to address this gap in knowledge.

Impact of research: 
1) to understand the direction of causality in the relationship between sibling bullying and mental health will help to understand what the targets of intervention should be (i.e., mental health or bullying) 2) to understand prevalence of sibling bullying in vulnerable groups will help to shed new light on whether interventions are needed to support these groups, more so than the general population
Date proposal received: 
Thursday, 3 March, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 9 March, 2022
Keywords: 
Social Science, Learning difficulty, Mental health

B4013 - Asthma Phenotypes and Sputum Biomarkers in High- Medium- and Low-Income Countries - 09/03/2022

B number: 
B4013
Principal applicant name: 
Collin Brooks | Massey University (Research Centre for Hauora and Health) (New Zealand)
Co-applicants: 
Mr Jeroen Burmanje
Title of project: 
Asthma Phenotypes and Sputum Biomarkers in High-, Medium- and Low-Income Countries
Proposal summary: 

Asthma remains a major global public health concern. However, asthma prevalence is different in high-income countries (HICs) and low and middle-income countries (LMICs), and what we know about asthma pathology is generally based on studies in HICs. To address this, the World Asthma Phenotypes Study (WASP) study started in 2016 to better understand types of asthma in five centres around the world; the UK (Bristol: ALSPAC), New Zealand, Brazil, Ecuador, and Uganda. The main objective of this specific project (which is part of WASP) is to focus on the association between soluble airway biomarkers, patterns of airway inflammation, and clinical characteristics, to better understand and characterise types of asthma in the different centres.

Impact of research: 
Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 23 February, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 9 March, 2022
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Respiratory - asthma, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) and multiplex bead array assays using the Luminex MAGPIX., Biological samples -e.g. blood, cell lines, saliva, etc., Biomarkers - e.g. cotinine, fatty acids, haemoglobin, etc.

B4015 - Genetic determinants of childhood adversity - 09/03/2022

B number: 
B4015
Principal applicant name: 
Laura Howe | MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Stephanie Page, Amanda Hughes, Annie Herbert
Title of project: 
Genetic determinants of childhood adversity
Proposal summary: 

Experiencing adversity during childhood, such as maltreatment or family dysfunction, is associated with worse physical and mental health. However, it is possible that associations between childhood adversity and subsequent health are confounded by genetics. Recent studies have demonstrated associations between various polygenic scores and adverse experiences including trauma (1) and bullying (2). Understanding this gene-environment correlation is the first step towards deriving the appropriate confounding adjustments to better estimate the causal impact of childhood adversity on later health.

1 - Peel A et al. Genetic and early environmental predictors of adulthood self-reports of trauma. Br J Psychiatry
. 2022 Feb 2;1-8. doi: 10.1192/bjp.2021.207. Online ahead of print.
2 - Schoeler et al. Multi-Polygenic Score Approach to Identifying Individual Vulnerabilities Associated With the Risk of Exposure to Bullying. JAMA Psychiatry
. 2019 Jul 1;76(7):730-738. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.0310.

Impact of research: 
Understanding gene-environment correlations that may lead to confounding in studies of the health consequences of adversity
Date proposal received: 
Friday, 25 February, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 9 March, 2022
Keywords: 
Genetic epidemiology (including association studies and mendelian randomisation), Behaviour - e.g. antisocial behaviour, risk behaviour, etc., Mental health, Cohort studies - attrition, bias, participant engagement, ethics, Childhood - childcare, childhood adversity, Genetic epidemiology, Psychology - personality, Social science

B4018 - Understanding adolescent and early adulthood mental health outcomes of intellectual disability - 14/03/2022

B number: 
B4018
Principal applicant name: 
Paul Madley-Dowd | University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Dr Dheeraj Rai, Ms Christina Dardani, Dr Laura Hull
Title of project: 
Understanding adolescent and early adulthood mental health outcomes of intellectual disability
Proposal summary: 

Individuals with an intellectual disability (ID) may be more likely to suffer from mental health problems than the general population. We aim to investigate the relationship between ID and mental health using data from a longitudinal study of over 14000 children born in the early 90s with ongoing data collection. We will investigate whether specific risk factors such as cognitive ability, sensory impairments and life events such as bullying may influence this relationship and act as modifiable targets for intervention.

Impact of research: 
Our work will be of relevance to commissioners of health and social care. The results will help in understanding of the mental health care needs of individuals with ID and identification of modifiable targets for intervention will be important for preventing mental health problems in the ID community. The understanding of the mental health needs of individuals with an ID is still limited and despite an increase in policy and research interest in the area, the evidence is extremely limited. Clinical services for adults with an ID are relatively limited in their remit beyond clinical diagnosis in much of the UK and beyond. This work will lead to the conduct of one of the largest and most detailed studies on this topic to date. The evidence produced is likely to contribute to the much needed discussion regarding appropriate service provision and policy in relation to mental health problems in individuals with an ID. Insights into the potential risk or resilience factors may help initiate research into the development and evaluation of interventions to address them.
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 1 March, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 9 March, 2022
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Learning difficulty, Statistical methods, Cognition - cognitive function

B4000 - General disease factor and developmental risk factors - 01/03/2022

B number: 
B4000
Principal applicant name: 
Yuning Zhang | University of Southampton (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Sam Cortese, Dr Dennis Golm, Dr Valerie Brandt
Title of project: 
General disease factor and developmental risk factors
Proposal summary: 

More and more evidence suggests a link between mental and physical conditions such as ADHD and obesity (Cortese et al., 2016), eating disorder and inflammatory bowel disease (Larsen et al., 2018). Similar to the g-factor and p-factor (Caspi et al., 2015), Our team at University of Southampton has hypothesised one general disease factor (d-factor; Cortese et a., 2021) that summarises individual’s propensity to both mental and physical disorders, and accounts for the comorbidity between mental and physical conditions. We have been testing this hypothesis using two longitudinal datasets: the millennium cohort study and the 1970 British Cohort Study. We found that from adolescence to adulthood, association between mental and physical conditions strengthen gradually, and that there is indeed a general d-factor that explains individual propensity to develop comorbid mental and physical conditions. We would like to (1) test the hypothesis of d factor longitudinally from childhood to early adulthood, (2) examine the genetic and epi-genetic foundation of the general disease factor, and (3) investigate environmental risk factors related to higher d-factor scores.

Impact of research: 
The outcome of this study will be an important milestone for research into mental and physical health comorbidity.
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 28 February, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 1 March, 2022
Keywords: 
Pathology, Addiction - e.g. alcohol, illicit drugs, smoking, gambling, etc., Allergy, Eczema, Epilepsy, Gastrointestinal, Hypertension, Incontinence, Infection, Learning difficulty, Mental health, Obesity, Pain, Bone disorders - arthritis, osteoporosis, Respiratory - asthma, Sexually transmitted diseases, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, Speech/language problem, Developmental disorders - autism, Cancer, Chronic fatigue, Cognitive impairment, Congenital abnormalities, Diabetes, Eating disorders - anorexia, bulimia, Computer simulations/modelling/algorithms, Biomarkers - e.g. cotinine, fatty acids, haemoglobin, etc., BMI, Cardiovascular, Childhood - childcare, childhood adversity, Cognition - cognitive function, Dermatology, Environment - enviromental exposure, pollution, Epigenetics

B4014 - Depression and smoking on the plausibility of the missing not at random assumption using fast causal algorithms - 01/03/2022

B number: 
B4014
Principal applicant name: 
Gareth Griffith | University of Bristol MRC-IEU
Co-applicants: 
Professor Kate Tilling, Dr Ellie Curnow
Title of project: 
Depression and smoking; on the plausibility of the missing not at random assumption using fast causal algorithms
Proposal summary: 

If we want to look at the impact of a given exposure on depression outcomes, we commonly require the assumption that the missingness in our depression indicator is "at random". "At random" is something of a misnomer here, and means "random conditional on measured covariates". In the instance that missingness is in fact not at random, i.e. depression itself affects participants likelihood to respond - then common analytical procedures to investigate the impact of exposures on depression may be biased.

We will develop a method to attempt to address this gap, using the effect of smoking on depression at 18 as a question to demonstrate our proposed approach, which will seek to provide testable conditions under which we can falsify the "missing not at random" assumption.

Impact of research: 
Increase understanding of likely mechanisms driving non-random dropout in cohort studies looking at mental health. Provide a methodological avenue for researchers interested in understanding population predictors of depression.
Date proposal received: 
Thursday, 24 February, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 1 March, 2022
Keywords: 
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Mental health, Statistical methods, Methods - e.g. cross cohort analysis, data mining, mendelian randomisation, etc.

B4012 - Genome-wide investigation of heritable complex traits in infancy - 09/03/2022

B number: 
B4012
Principal applicant name: 
Angelica Ronald | Birkbeck, University of London (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Professor Emily Jones, Professor Frank Dudbridge, Dr Alex Havdahl
Title of project: 
Genome-wide investigation of heritable complex traits in infancy
Proposal summary: 

Our recent review of published twin studies revealed that infant behaviour is significantly heritable, with twin heritability estimates ranging between 30 and 80% for psychologically-relevant traits. However, thus far there has been little attempt to study the genetic bases of infant behaviour looking at the DNA.

With this study, we aim to explore the role of common genetic variation on heritable infant behavioural traits. Genome-wide association analyses will be performed for infant psychologically-relevant characteristics collected in the first three years of life in the ALSPAC cohort. Results will then be combined with results from other cohorts in a meta-analysis on a large world-wide sample. Following this gene-discovery phase, we will use state of the art statistical genetic methodology to further investigate genetic influences on infants’ behaviour.

Impact of research: 
This research will advance knowledge on the genetic factors that play a role on infant psychologically-relevant traits, and on the stability and change of such genetic influences across the first years of life. The findings may inform further basic research in genetics, neuroscience and psychiatry.
Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 23 February, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 1 March, 2022
Keywords: 
Genetic epidemiology (including association studies and mendelian randomisation), Mental health, GWAS, Psychology - personality

B3966 - Stratification of ADHD developmental trajectories with evidence from environmental risk factors epi-genetics and neuroimaging - 28/02/2022

B number: 
B3966
Principal applicant name: 
Jianfeng Feng | Fudan University (china)
Co-applicants: 
Dr Tianye Jia
Title of project: 
Stratification of ADHD developmental trajectories with evidence from environmental risk factors, (epi-)genetics and neuroimaging
Proposal summary: 

Individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may undergo different developmental trajectories throughout adolescence. Previous evidence has indicated that neural signatures and genetics could help to distinguish individuals with persistent ADHD symptoms from those remitted. However, little evidence has been provided to demonstrate whether environmental risk factors, such as substance use, could also affect the development of ADHD symptoms.

Impact of research: 
This study will advance our understanding of the cause between environmental risk factors, (epi-)genetics, and neuroimaging and ADHD, which may reshape future clinical practice. Our study may also help establish a unified approach in understanding the neurobiological mechanism of other neurodevelopmental disorders.
Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 12 January, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 28 February, 2022
Keywords: 
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Addiction - e.g. alcohol, illicit drugs, smoking, gambling, etc., Medical imaging, Equipment - MRI

B4008 - Association between air pollution and cardiovascular health in young adults LongITools - 28/03/2022

B number: 
B4008
Principal applicant name: 
Ana Goncalves Soares | MRC IEU, University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Prof Nicholas Timpson, Dr Ahmed Elhakeem
Title of project: 
Association between air pollution and cardiovascular health in young adults (LongITools)
Proposal summary: 

This proposal is part of LongITools project (B3289).

A growing body of evidence has shown that exposure to air pollution is associated with higher blood pressure/hypertension, cardiovascular events, and cardiovascular mortality. However, few studies have assessed the impact of air pollution on cardiovascular health in younger individuals.

A meta-analysis of cross-sectional and longitudinal studies has shown that an increase in PM2.5 was associated with higher carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT). Even though there is a growing body of evidence on the association between air pollution and cardiovascular outcomes later in life, very little is known in younger individuals [3]. A study carried out with young adults (mean age 28, SD 1.0) showed that nitrogen dioxide (NO2), but not PM2.5, was associated with increased pulse wave velocity (PWV).

It is also possible that the associations between air pollution and cardiovascular health outcomes differ according to intermediate factors, such as body mass index (BMI). A study with 158 individuals aged 17-22 years found that a 1 standard deviation (SD) change in long-term NO2 exposure was associated with 11.3mg/dL higher total cholesterol and 9.4mg/dL higher low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and these associations were stronger amongst obese participants, suggesting that obesity might exacerbate the effects of air pollution.

The aim of this study is to assess the long-term associations of air pollution with several measures of cardiovascular health in young adults (i.e. central and peripheral blood pressure, heart rate, PWV and CIMT) and explore possible effect modifications by BMI in these associations.

Impact of research: 
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 22 February, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 28 February, 2022
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Cardiovascular disease, Statistical methods, BMI, Cardiovascular, Environment - enviromental exposure, pollution

B4009 - Early-life ambient environmental exposures and blood pressure trajectories LongITools - 28/03/2022

B number: 
B4009
Principal applicant name: 
Ana Goncalves Soares | MRC IEU, University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Prof Nicholas Timpson, Dr Ahmed Elhakeem
Title of project: 
Early-life ambient environmental exposures and blood pressure trajectories (LongITools)
Proposal summary: 

This proposal is part of LongITools project (B3289).

Blood pressure tracks from childhood to adulthood, and elevated blood pressure in childhood or adolescence is associated with several intermediate markers of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and with CVD events and mortality in adulthood. There is a growing body of evidence showing that ambient environmental exposures, such as air pollution, noise and many characteristics of the built environment are associated with high blood pressure/hypertension in adulthood, and some associations with blood pressure have also been observed in children.

Early-life, especially prenatal and early postnatal, is a period of rapid development and particularly vulnerable to environmental factors, and adverse exposures in this period could lead to long-term health effects, including higher risk of CVD. Some studies have shown associations between prenatal ambient environmental factors and blood pressure in children, including some measures of the built environment (e.g., facility density, facility richness and building density), noise, temperature, and air pollution. Investigating whether early-life ambient environmental factors are also associated with changes in blood pressure in different developmental periods will further contribute to the understanding of the importance of environmental exposures to the risk of hypertension across the life-course.

Using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), we aim to assess the association of a range of ambient environmental exposures in early-life with changes in systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) during three developmental periods: childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. We will also seek to replicate the associations found in ALSPAC in other independent European cohorts part of the LongITools project (Generation R, EDEN, PANIC and NFBC 1986).

Impact of research: 
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 22 February, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 28 February, 2022
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Hypertension, Pregnancy - e.g. reproductive health, postnatal depression, birth outcomes, etc., Statistical methods, Blood pressure, Cardiovascular, Environment - enviromental exposure, pollution

B4010 - Longitudinal associations of air pollution noise and built environment with glucose and insulin-related traits LongITools - 28/03/2022

B number: 
B4010
Principal applicant name: 
Ana Goncalves Soares | MRC IEU, University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Prof Nicholas Timpson, Dr Ahmed Elhakeem
Title of project: 
Longitudinal associations of air pollution, noise and built environment with glucose and insulin-related traits (LongITools)
Proposal summary: 

This proposal is part of LongITools project (B3289).

Key modifiable risk factors for hyperglycaemia/diabetes include unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity and overweight/obesity. These are, in part, determined by the built environment, which comprises components such as walkability index, accessibility, population density, land use mix, and food environment. Most of the research assessing the association between built environment and glycaemic traits assesses type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in adulthood as an endpoint. Very few studies have assessed the association between the built environment and glucose and insulin-related traits in children/adolescents.

The association between air pollution and glucose and insulin-related traits has been more widely studied. Exposures to PM10 and PM2.5 have been associated with higher fasting blood glucose, and several meta-analyses have shown that air pollution is associated with the prevalence and incidence of T2DM. Air pollution, more specifically NO2 and PM10, has also been associated with insulin levels and insulin resistance, and some of these associations have been observed in childhood.

There is also evidence for associations between noise and higher prevalence and incidence of T2DM. To the best of our knowledge, no studies have assessed noise and glucose and insulin-related traits in childhood/adolescence.

This study aims to assess the associations of built environment, air pollution and noise with longitudinal changes in glucose, glycated haemoglobin, insulin and insulin resistance from childhood to early adulthood using data from European prospective studies.

Impact of research: 
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 22 February, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 28 February, 2022
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Diabetes, Statistical methods, Biomarkers - e.g. cotinine, fatty acids, haemoglobin, etc., Cardiovascular, Environment - enviromental exposure, pollution

B4011 - Prenatal air pollution fetal growth inflammation and childhood adiposity LongITools and LifeCycle - 28/03/2022

B number: 
B4011
Principal applicant name: 
Ana Goncalves Soares | MRC IEU, University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Prof Deborah A Lawlor, Prof Nicholas Timpson, Dr Ahmed Elhakeem, Dr Janine Felix, Dr Susana Moreira da Silva Santos, Prof Vincent Jaddoe, Dr Serena Fossati, Prof Martine Vrijheid
Title of project: 
Prenatal air pollution, fetal growth, inflammation, and childhood adiposity (LongITools and LifeCycle)
Proposal summary: 

This proposal is part of LongITools (B3289) and LifeCycle projects.

There is inconsistent evidence of an association between prenatal exposure to air pollution and adiposity in childhood. Some studies suggest positive associations, possibly with stronger magnitude in boys, some find no association, and others find inverse associations between prenatal air pollution and adiposity in childhood. Most studies have been relatively small (<3,500 participants) and assess adiposity at a single time point.

The potential mechanisms linking air pollution to adiposity are still uncertain. Maternal exposure to air pollution may affect fetal growth, and intrauterine growth restriction will influence later-life adiposity. Inflammation is another hypothesised mechanism of the association between prenatal air pollution and offspring adiposity, and this might also be part of the fetal growth pathway.

Using data from three birth cohorts (ALSPAC, BiB and Generation R), this project will assess the association of different measures of air pollution (PM10, PM2.5, NO2 and NO) during pregnancy with fetal growth, trajectories of adiposity in childhood, and maternal and offspring inflammation. We will also explore possible sensitive windows by assessing trimester-specific associations, and whether associations differ by sex. If associations of air pollution with fetal growth, inflammation and childhood adiposity are evident, we will explore and quantify possible mediation by fetal growth and inflammation in the association between prenatal air pollution and childhood adiposity.

Impact of research: 
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 22 February, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 28 February, 2022
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Obesity, Pregnancy - e.g. reproductive health, postnatal depression, birth outcomes, etc., Statistical methods, Biomarkers - e.g. cotinine, fatty acids, haemoglobin, etc., Birth outcomes, BMI, Environment - enviromental exposure, pollution, Growth, Sex differences

B3996 - Comparison of cellular pattern in nasal lavage induced sputum and Peripheral blood in individuals with asthmamulticenter study - 21/02/2022

B number: 
B3996
Principal applicant name: 
Camila Figueiredo | Universidade Federal da Bahia, Instituto de Ciências da Saúde, Salvador, Brazil (Brazil)
Co-applicants: 
Givaneide (Gil) dos Santos Lima
Title of project: 
Comparison of cellular pattern in nasal lavage, induced sputum and Peripheral blood in individuals with asthma:multicenter study
Proposal summary: 
Impact of research: 
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 8 February, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 21 February, 2022
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Respiratory - asthma, cytology, Biological samples -e.g. blood, cell lines, saliva, etc.

B4005 - Does birth weight modify the impact of different weight trajectories on cardio metabolic health in adulthood - 22/02/2022

B number: 
B4005
Principal applicant name: 
Tuomas Oskari Kilpeläinen | Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen (Denmark)
Co-applicants: 
Hermina Jakupović, MSc.
Title of project: 
Does birth weight modify the impact of different weight trajectories on cardio metabolic health in adulthood?
Proposal summary: 

The change in body weight from infancy to adulthood may impact later cardiometabolic health. In particular, early onset of excess weight gain and long duration of obesity in youth have been associated with an increased risk of cardiometabolic comorbidities in adulthood. High and low birth weight for gestational age, indicating abnormal fetal intrauterine growth, are also associated with an increased risk of cardiometabolic comorbidities in adulthood. There may be an interaction between birth weight and the change in body weight from infancy to adulthood, where the influence of weight gain on cardiometabolic health may depend on birth weight. In the present study, we aim to uncover the independent and combined effects of birth weight and the change in body weight from infancy to early adulthood, on cardiometabolic health in adulthood.

Impact of research: 
This novel and timely research will provide valuable information on about whether birth weight modifies the impact of different weight trajectories (focusing on the obesity status) on cardio metabolic traits in adulthood.
Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 16 February, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 21 February, 2022
Keywords: 
Genetic epidemiology (including association studies and mendelian randomisation), Diabetes, Hypertension, Obesity, Pregnancy - e.g. reproductive health, postnatal depression, birth outcomes, etc., Computer simulations/modelling/algorithms, Statistical methods, Biomarkers - e.g. cotinine, fatty acids, haemoglobin, etc., Birth outcomes, Offspring, Puberty, Sex differences, Blood pressure, BMI, Cardiovascular, Genetic epidemiology, Genetics, Genomics, Mothers - maternal age, menopause, obstetrics, Metabolic - metabolism

B3994 - Effect of Excessive Weight Gain during Pregnancy on Childrens Neurodevelopment - 22/02/2022

B number: 
B3994
Principal applicant name: 
Jan Buitelaar | Radboud University Medical Centre (Netherlands)
Co-applicants: 
Dan Wu
Title of project: 
Effect of Excessive Weight Gain during Pregnancy on Children's Neurodevelopment
Proposal summary: 

Epidemiological studies found that about 10% of children in the world suffer from neurodevelopmental disorders, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Intellectual Disability, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and others. Excessive weight gain during pregnancy appears to be an important factor affecting the health of pregnant women and their offspring. Weight gain during pregnancy changes with gestational age, and the total weight gain during pregnancy may not be able to accurately assess and identify the adverse maternal and infant outcomes. Therefore, it is of great significance to explore the weight changes at different time points during pregnancy. Further, the mechanism mediating the association between weight gain during pregnancy and childrens' neurodevelopmental disorders is still unclear. Epigenetic mechanisms may play an important role. This study will test the hypothesis that excessive weight gain during pregnancy may cause fetal epigenetic changes, affect the growth pattern of offspring, affect the brain development of children, and increase the risk for neurodevelopmental disorders in children.

Impact of research: 
We expect this research to make important contributions to our understanding of the biological, behavioral, and social mechanisms between the pattern of weight gain during pregnancy and neurodevelopmental disorders in children. We hope that this work will arouse the interest of the scientific community and publish several high-impact publications in peer-reviewed journals. We will also work hard to spread our work to practitioners and other stakeholders who work with children and families.
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 8 February, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 21 February, 2022
Keywords: 
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Mental health, Epigenetic profiling: Pre-processed data from the 450K array for mothers and offspring; plate, array, and slide information of individual array daya; cell type composition as calculated by estimate CellCounts2() function in the ‘minfi’ package; sex of offspring; maternal smoking during pregnancy; maternal age; gestational age; maternal pre-pregnancy BMI; parity; maternal education, Offspring

B4006 - UK LLC Twitter use as a mental health phenotype during the COVID-19 pandemic - 28/02/2022

B number: 
B4006
Principal applicant name: 
Nina Di Cara | UoB
Co-applicants: 
Title of project: 
UK LLC: Twitter use as a mental health phenotype during the COVID-19 pandemic
Proposal summary: 

Information can be obtained from ALSPAC (B number folder) or the UK LLC on request

Impact of research: 
Information can be obtained from ALSPAC or the UK LLC on request
Date proposal received: 
Friday, 18 February, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 21 February, 2022
Keywords: 
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition

B4003 - CAMCOG collection of cognitive data - 28/02/2022

B number: 
B4003
Principal applicant name: 
Ian Penton-Voak | UoB
Co-applicants: 
Dr Kate Northstone, Professor Nic Timpson
Title of project: 
CAMCOG: collection of cognitive data
Proposal summary: 

Cognitive data will be collected from both generations of ALSPAC using CamCog (Cambridge Cognition). This will be linked to the next ALSPAC COVID questionniare which is likely to go out just after Easter 2022.

Impact of research: 
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 15 February, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 21 February, 2022
Keywords: 
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Cognitive impairment, Cognition - cognitive function

B4002 - Pathway to psychosis among cannabis users - 28/02/2022

B number: 
B4002
Principal applicant name: 
Marta Di Forti | SGDP, KCL IoPPN (UK)
Co-applicants: 
Robin M Murray, Isabelle Austin-Zimmerman, Diego Quattrone , Giulia Trotta, Edoardo Spinazzola, Chloe Chung Yi Wong, Emma Dempster , Luis Alameda
Title of project: 
Pathway to psychosis among cannabis users
Proposal summary: 

Mendelian randomisation studies have not yet clarified the direction of causality between heavy cannabis use and Schizophrenia. Thus, while cannabis use remains the most preventable risk factor for psychotic disorders, it is still unclear what makes some heavy users more susceptible to develop clinical psychosis. This is a question of global relevance with the spreading of laws legalising cannabis use for medicinal and/or recreational purposes.

Recently, epigenetic processes that regulate where our DNA is expressed, have been implicated in both psychotic disorder and substance use. Indeed, genome wide DNA methylation (DNAm) studies (EWAS), which measures where the DNA is switched on or off, have become a tool to look at the biological effects of environmental exposures.
This proposal, nested within a larger MRC Senior Fellowship project, focuses on the development of a genome wide DNAm score associated with regular cannabis use, taking into account both genetic factors and other environmental exposures. These analyses will run in parallel to mouse model experiment of exposure to both THC and CBD (cannabidiol), the most studied ingredient of cannabis. Finally, we plan to examine overlaps in the effect of cannabis compounds on the brain of mice with the effect in human blood tissue, to begin to understand a) the neurobiology of psychosis in the context of heavy cannabis use and b) to build epigenetic and genetic scores that might help distinguish those cannabis users that come to no harm from those who develop a) sub-clinical psychotic experiences paranoia and b) frank clinical psychosis.

Impact of research: 
Our ambition is to develop, from the work on the genetic pathways and epigenetic scores associated with cannabis use, potential peripheral markers of cannabis associated psychosis-risk. These peripheral biomarkers could be integrated into screening tools to identify individuals at risk of developing psychosis outcome not only among recreational cannabis users but also among those prescribed medicinal cannabis use; the latter would allow them to receive closer monitoring and might increase confidence in the prescription of cannabis-based medication when indicated. The novelty of the comparative analyses of genetic-epigenetic data in the context of cannabis exposure from the human studies and from the mouse model experiment will 1) facilitate closer collaborations between the psychosis and neuroscience research communities and beyond to replicate and build on my findings; 2) inform Pharma companies of potential new drug targets and better understanding of how cannabidiol (CBD) and other potentially cannabinoids could be used in the treatment of cannabis-associated psychosis. All of these impacts are likely to become more important at a time of changes in cannabis legislation across the world.
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 14 February, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 21 February, 2022
Keywords: 
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Mental health, DNAm longitudinal profiling Genetics Pathway analyses, Statistical methods

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