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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B3754 - The relationship between timing of menarche and risky behaviours in early adulthood - 01/04/2021

B number: 
B3754
Principal applicant name: 
Carol Joinson | Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School
Co-applicants: 
Caroline Wright, Rose Hawes
Title of project: 
The relationship between timing of menarche and risky behaviours in early adulthood
Proposal summary: 

There is some evidence that girls who experience an earlier onset of menarche than their peers are at greater risk of engaging in a range of risky behaviours in adolescence such as: early initiation of sexual activity; substance use, and antisocial behaviour. Early maturing girls' more mature physical appearance and tendency to affiliate with older peer groups could expose them to increased opportunities for risk taking. It is unclear, however, if the relationship between early timing of menarche and increased risky behaviours persists into later adolescence and early adulthood.

Impact of research: 
Risky behaviours are associated with long term adverse outcomes for physical and mental health, and educational attainment. Our findings will add to the understanding of the challenges that early maturing girls experience during puberty and could contribute to the evidence base for psychoeducational interventions to prepare young people for puberty.
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 30 March, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Thursday, 1 April, 2021
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Mental health, Statistical methods, Puberty

B3744 - Almost exact Mendelian randomisation - 08/04/2021

B number: 
B3744
Principal applicant name: 
Kate Tilling | University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Mr Matthew Tudball, Dr Qingyuan Zhao
Title of project: 
Almost exact Mendelian randomisation
Proposal summary: 

Mendelian randomisation (MR) is an epidemiological design which uses the allocation of genes from parents to children as a random source of variation in exposures of interest. To perform MR exactly, we need genetic data on children and one or both of their parents. Due to ease of data collection, however, MR has typically been performed using data from unrelated individuals. As family data becomes more widely available, there has been renewed interest in a better within-family method for MR. Our project involves the development of an (almost) exact test for MR which is explicitly based on the randomisation of genes from parents to children. We are using ALSPAC to demonstrate our new method using real data. In particular, we aim to explore the effect of childhood BMI on systolic blood pressure and risk of diabetes in adulthood, which was recently explored using the UK Biobank cohort (Richardson et al, 2020).

Impact of research: 
As an exact approach to statistical inference, we hope that our method will be the gold standard approach for within-family MR and receive wide uptake among practitioners.
Date proposal received: 
Thursday, 18 March, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Thursday, 1 April, 2021
Keywords: 
Statistics/methodology, Hypertension, Obesity, DNA sequencing, Statistical methods, BMI, Genetic epidemiology, Mendelian randomisation, Statistical methods

B3753 - Risk behaviours for cancer in adolescence and young adulthood a qualitative analysis - 11/05/2021

B number: 
B3753
Principal applicant name: 
Caroline Wright | University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Prof. Rona Campbell, Dr Laura Tinner, Dr Ruth Kipping, Ruth Bartlett
Title of project: 
Risk behaviours for cancer in adolescence and young adulthood: a qualitative analysis
Proposal summary: 

We conducted a quantitative analysis of ALSPAC participants to investigate patterns of multiple cancer risk behaviours across adolescence (11-18 years) and their associations with future cancer risk behaviours in early adulthood (24 years). We found there was a very strong association between adolescent and young adult behaviours. While there has been some quantitative work examining the association between adolescent risk profiles and early adult risk, there has been little in the way of qualitative work to explore how young people and/or early adults themselves understand this relationship. Researchers have called for young people to have a stronger voice as key to improving adolescent health, and means being sensitive to young people’s construction of risk behaviour. As such, this qualitative study attempts to address this gap in the literature.

Impact of research: 
An MSc dissertation,
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 29 March, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Thursday, 1 April, 2021
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Cancer, Obesity, Sexually transmitted diseases, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, Qualitative study, BMI, Physical - activity, fitness, function

B3756 - Evaluation of recording of Long-COVID in whole population databases using linked LPS data - 26/04/2021

B number: 
B3756
Principal applicant name: 
Andy Boyd | University of Bristol
Co-applicants: 
Jonathan Sterne, Nic Timpson, John Macleod, Kate Northstone
Title of project: 
Evaluation of recording of Long-COVID in whole population databases using linked LPS data
Proposal summary: 

Children of the 90s and some other UK longitudinal studies have been approached directly by Sir Patrick Vallance and Sir Chris Whitty to help with understanding the nature of Long-COVID. This is part of the National Core Studies for COVID research that Children of the 90s is playing a major role in. The NHS and government planners need evidence to inform UK NHS strategies for managing this new and complex condition. At this stage the NHS planners are concerned that it is not clear who has Long COVID and if the national data they are working with properly represents the scale of this new and poorly understood condition. In this project we will compare the data of consenting Children of the 90s participants who have reported having Long-COVID with English GP records to determine the level of agreement between the two. If not all Children of the 90s participants can be identified from the GP records alone as having Long-COVID then this may indicate that national estimates of how many people have these symptoms/outcomes may be inaccurate and the scale of the challenge is under-estimated. This will help identify if new GP coding practice is needed, and to determine how best to help people with this form of COVID.

Impact of research: 
A greater understanding as to whether inferences on Long-COVID drawn from whole population GP databases are accurate based on a greater understanding on whether those with Long-COVID are readily identifiable from coded GP data.
Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 31 March, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Thursday, 1 April, 2021
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, CoVID-19, Data Linkage, Linkage

B3746 - Associations of prospective and retrospective measures of childhood maltreatment with health outcomes - 29/03/2021

B number: 
B3746
Principal applicant name: 
Ana Goncalves Soares | University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Amelia Rice, Laura Howe, Abigail Fraser
Title of project: 
Associations of prospective and retrospective measures of childhood maltreatment with health outcomes
Proposal summary: 

Childhood maltreatment has been consistently associated with poor health outcomes, such as obesity, cardiovascular health, mental health, substance misuse and risky sexual behaviours. There is no gold standard to assess childhood maltreatment, and both prospective and retrospective reports entail potential limitations. A poor agreement has been shown between measures of childhood maltreatment assessed prospectively (usually through parental report and official records) and retrospectively (often self-reported), suggesting that these forms of report of maltreatment identify different groups of individuals. The use of retrospective measures of childhood maltreatment might overestimate the associations with subjectively measured outcomes (e.g. self-reported, such as health behaviours and mental health) and underestimate the associations with objectively measured outcomes (e.g. physical health). However, few studies have information on both prospective and retrospective measures of childhood maltreatment and were able to compared the associations of different types of reports of maltreatment with subjectively and objectively measured health outcomes. This project aims to assess and compare associations of prospectively and retrospectively reported childhood maltreatment with key subjectively and objectively measured health outcomes in early adulthood (e.g. cardiovascular risk factors, mental health, and socioeconomic status).

Impact of research: 
This study will contribute to understanding how different sources of report of childhood maltreatment are associated with health outcomes later in life.
Date proposal received: 
Friday, 19 March, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 29 March, 2021
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Mental health, Statistical methods, Childhood - childcare, childhood adversity

B3743 - Using lifecourse approaches to develop insight into the influence of early life exposures on adverse health outcomes - 16/04/2021

B number: 
B3743
Principal applicant name: 
Jon Heron | MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit (IEU) (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Grace Power, George Davey Smith, Tom Richardson
Title of project: 
Using lifecourse approaches to develop insight into the influence of early life exposures on adverse health outcomes
Proposal summary: 
Impact of research: 
We aim to develop a stronger understanding of how neonatal and early life exposures influence disease risk throughout the life course.
Date proposal received: 
Thursday, 18 March, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 29 March, 2021
Keywords: 
Genetic epidemiology (including association studies and mendelian randomisation), Infection, Statistical methods, Genetic epidemiology

B3745 - The association of adverse childhood experiences with persistent pain in adolescents analysis of a prospective cohort study - 29/03/2021

B number: 
B3745
Principal applicant name: 
Gwen Fernandes | Population Health Sciences
Co-applicants: 
Professor Laura Howe
Title of project: 
The association of adverse childhood experiences with persistent pain in adolescents: analysis of a prospective cohort study
Proposal summary: 

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood such as experiencing abuse or neglect; witnessing violence at home; or having a family member incarcerated or addicted to substances such as drugs or alcohol. In the UK, 50% of Welsh adults (Public Health Wales 2018) and 47% of English adults (Bellis et al., 2014) have experienced at least one ACE during childhood. The cumulative effect of multiple, overlapping ACEs, have been shown to increase the risk and severity of chronic conditions including cancer, heart disease and chronic pain including musculoskeletal conditions in adults but we do not know what the effects are more immediately, within childhood and adolescence.

One such consequence of early adversity is chronic and persistent pain and significantly impacts quality of life and well-being (Fisher et al., 2016; Caes et al., 2015; IASP ICD 2016). The strongest evidence for an association comes from Groenewald and colleagues (2020) who investigated in a nationally representative sample of over 48,000 American children and found that those with a history of ACEs had an increased risk of chronic pain. The association increased in a dose-dependent manner and was driven by parental substance misuse ACEs and poverty ACEs.

There has been little attention within longitudinal population-based birth cohort studies, such as ALSPAC, exploring the relationship between comprehensively assessed ACEs and pain in children (Nelson et al., 2017). It would be more clinically relevant to identify the specific ACE types that most contribute to pain outcomes. We could use this to better inform intervention strategies for pain management with meaningful clinical and empirical value in children and adolescents with persistent pain conditions.

Impact of research: 
This research will offer insights into the potential mechanism of action between adversity and pain outcomes in children, specifically mediated via mental health profiles. We could use the results generated from ALSPAC to better inform intervention strategies for pain management with meaningful clinical and empirical value in children and adolescents with persistent pain conditions.
Date proposal received: 
Friday, 19 March, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 29 March, 2021
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Pain, Statistical methods, Birth outcomes

B3747 - Neighbourhood conditions and anxiety and depression during lockdown - 29/03/2021

B number: 
B3747
Principal applicant name: 
Joanne Newbury | University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Dr Connor Pinkney, Prof Stan Zammit
Title of project: 
Neighbourhood conditions and anxiety and depression during lockdown
Proposal summary: 

The Covid-19 lockdown has underscored the role that neighbourhoods play in mental health and wellbeing. Neighbourhood characteristics like overcrowding, greenspace, deprivation, and social fragmentation create very different lockdown experiences, even between neighbours living streets apart. This project will investigate the role of neighbourhood conditions in mental health during the covid-19 lockdown. First, we will examine associations of urbanicity, greenspace, deprivation, and social fragmentation with participants’ symptoms of anxiety and depression during and after lockdown. Second, we will control analyses comprehensively for confounds such as poverty using propensity score matching. Third, we will examine the interplay between neighbourhood conditions and individual-level factors including age, housing, household composition and garden access in terms of mental health responses to lockdown.

Impact of research: 
Improved understanding of the inequalities in mental health consequences of the pandemic and lockdown, and novel data on the role of neighbourhood conditions in mental health during crisis events.
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 22 March, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 23 March, 2021
Keywords: 
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Mental health, Statistical methods, Environment - enviromental exposure, pollution

B3740 - Can parental education compensate childrens genetic disadvantage - 23/03/2021

B number: 
B3740
Principal applicant name: 
Niels Rietveld | Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Co-applicants: 
Teresa Bago d’Uva, Rita Dias Pereira, Fleur Meddens, Dilnoza Muslimova, Hans van Kippersluis, Stephanie von Hinke
Title of project: 
Can parental education compensate children's genetic disadvantage?
Proposal summary: 
Impact of research: 
A better understand of the health-education gradient. The aim is to publish findings in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 16 March, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 23 March, 2021
Keywords: 
Health Economics

B3741 - Intergenerational transmission of human capital - 23/03/2021

B number: 
B3741
Principal applicant name: 
Niels Rietveld | Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Co-applicants: 
Teresa Bago d’Uva, Rita Dias Pereira, Fleur Meddens, Dilnoza Muslimova, Hans van Kippersluis, Stephanie von Hinke
Title of project: 
Intergenerational transmission of human capital
Proposal summary: 

Our original proposal, B2492, is about the joint development of health, skills and education. From the start, this involved studying the role of genetic and early-life environmental factors in shaping individuals’ health and education trajectories.

This proposal contributes to one of the key aims of our original project: to better understand the role of genes on human capital formation. On the one hand, recent studies have questioned whether the polygenic score for educational attainment captures only a biological mechanism. The proposal makes it possible to quantify the true underlying mechanisms of skills and education. Understanding this process is fundamental to understanding the health-education gradient. On the other hand, studies have shown that the polygenic score for educational attainment affects not only cognitive but also non-cognitive skills. We wish to understand the mechanisms through which genes affect education: are they mediated by cognitive or non-cognitive skills (or both)?

Unraveling the process of human capital transmission over generations is fundamental to uncover the sources of inequality. Understanding the sources of inequality in turn is crucial to design and justify redistribution policies.

The process of human capital transmission is a widely researched topic in economics and social sciences. Given that parents transmit their genes to their children and expose these children to a particular environment at the same time, it is incredibly challenging to disentangle the pathways through which human capital transmission takes place. Researchers have nonetheless tried to quantify the different channels using either structural equations (Lee & Seshadri, 2019), samples of adoptees (Plug, 2004; Björklund et. al, 2006; Plug & Vijverberg, 2003) or samples of twins (Behrman & Rosenzweig, 2002). These solutions rely either on imposing structural assumptions or on natural experiments that allows us to isolate the nature and nurture effects.

With the recent advances of social science genetics we can now have a direct measure of one’s genetic predisposition for a certain trait. Many researchers have studied the genetic propensity for schooling since schooling is a widely available phenotypic measure, and a common proxy for human capital accumulation. However, studies have shown that the Educational Attainment Polygenic Score (EA PGS) also includes an environmental component: genetic nurture (Koellinger & Harden, 2018; Kong et. al 2018). In particular, by using adoptees (Cheesman et. al, 2020), parental genetic information (Kong et. al 2018) and within-family designs (Selzam et. al, 2019), it is estimated that about 50% of the impact of the EA PGS on education attainment is a pure biological signal with the remainder 50% being genetic nurture.

This research attempts to inform the literature of human capital transmission with a direct measure of the genetic predisposition to schooling. In particular, it is an attempt to unveil and quantify the pathways of human capital transmission as proposed theoretically by Lee & Seshadri (2019). This is possible due to the richness of Alspac data set. In particular, we want to exploit the fact that a) it contains genetic information on the child’s mother and father; b) detailed information on educational achievement of the child and parents; c) detailed information of the parental behavior towards the child.

This research will attempt to quantify 5 channels of human capital transmission:
a) Direct genetic transmission
b) Genetic nurture (of the parents)
c) Parental education
d) Parental income
e) Parental time and good investments

Additional analysis will include a differentiation of the impact of those channels on the cognitive and non-cognitive skills of the children. In fact, research suggests that the EA PGS predicts both cognitive and non-cognitive skills (Alloway et. al 2020; Malanchini et. al 2020; Belsky et. al 2016). This matches research that documents that educational attainment itself is largely explained by personality traits (Borghans et. al 2016).

Impact of research: 
A better understand of the health-education gradient. The aim is to publish findings in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 16 March, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 23 March, 2021
Keywords: 
Health Economics

B3742 - Father absence childrens genetic make-up and outcomes - 23/03/2021

B number: 
B3742
Principal applicant name: 
Niels Rietveld | Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Co-applicants: 
Teresa Bago d’Uva, Rita Dias Pereira, Fleur Meddens, Dilnoza Muslimova, Hans van Kippersluis, Stephanie von Hinke
Title of project: 
Father absence, children’s genetic make-up and outcomes
Proposal summary: 

Our original proposal, B2492, is about the joint development of health, skills and education. From the start, this involved studying the role of genetic and early-life environmental factors in shaping individuals’ health and education trajectories.

This proposal fits directly within our aim to study the “interactions between genes and family composition”, focussing on the effects of “interactions between genes and family composition on children’s test scores and health behaviours”. Indeed, parental separation implies a drastic change in the family structure and composition, less time investment, as well as mental and financial distress. This has been shown to have a number of consequences for child mental health outcomes. In this paper, we will quantify the extent to which the effects of father absence on child outcomes are modified by children’s genetic predisposition.

Background: Parent separation has been shown to have a number of consequences for the child mental health outcomes. On the other hand there are a number of studies on the effects of father involvement and paternity leave policy on children. In this paper, we would like to contribute to the literature by showing how the effects of father absence on child outcomes are modified by children’s genetic predisposition for such health outcomes as BMI and depression.

Research Questions: What happens to children’s education and health outcomes after fathers leave family? Does it harm more those with higher genetic risk for mental health issues and risky health behaviours? Are children with higher genetic predisposition for education more resilient to the absence of a father?

Impact of research: 
A better understand of the health-education gradient. The aim is to publish findings in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 16 March, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 23 March, 2021
Keywords: 
Health Economics

B3734 - Prediction in the first 1000 days of life of childhood obesity Individual participant analysis of 160000 children - 23/03/2021

B number: 
B3734
Principal applicant name: 
Vincent Jaddoe | Erasmus MC, University Medical Center (Netherlands)
Co-applicants: 
Dr Romy Gaillard, Dr Susana Santos
Title of project: 
Prediction in the first 1000 days of life of childhood obesity Individual participant analysis of 160,000 children
Proposal summary: 
Impact of research: 
Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 10 March, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 23 March, 2021
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Obesity, Statistical methods, BMI

B3748 - Data collection measurement and correlates of internalized weight stigma - 29/04/2021

B number: 
B3748
Principal applicant name: 
Amanda Hughes | MRC IEU, University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Prof Laura Howe, Dr Helen Bould
Title of project: 
Data collection: measurement and correlates of internalized weight stigma
Proposal summary: 

Increasing evidence suggests that social processes including weight-related stigma are key to explaining many consequences of overweight and obesity. For instance, people carrying genetic variants linked to obesity are at higher risk of depression, even where those variants have no known metabolic consequences(1). This strongly implicates social, not just biological, processes by which body weight affects mental health. Among the different facets of stigma is internalized weight stigma (self-attribution of negative obesity-related stereotypes) which may have especially negative consequences. For higher-weight individuals, it is linked to disordered eating(2), maladaptive coping(3), and worse quality of life(4). But it can also affect normal weight and underweight people, and predicts disordered eating and drive for thinness in non-overweight groups(5).
Despite strong theoretical work in this area, our empirical understanding of weight stigma’s causes and consequences is limited. This includes how socioeconomic factors, adiposity development across the lifecourse, and parental body weight influence weight stigma internalization, and the consequences for mental health and social functioning. This is because research has been almost entirely based on small, non-representative samples. In this project, we would measure internalized weight stigma among ALSPAC participants of all weight statuses using a validated questionnaire(6). This would, uniquely, allow investigation of its causes and consequences in a large sample of young people. We would also investigate if a proxy measurement of internalized weight stigma can be constructed from other items, for when purpose-designed items are unavailable. The data and results will support further research in a range of existing data sources.

Impact of research: 
The analysis of causes and consequences of internalized weight stigma within ALSPAC will be a step-change in this area. Research has so far been restricted to small samples, often highly non-representative, and usually with only self-reported height and weight information. The exploration of a possible proxy measure for internalized weight stigma, meanwhile, will support further analysis in national surveys including the Millennium Cohort Study and the UK Household Longitudinal Survey, both of which include the proxy item but not the validated measure of internalized weight stigma. In this way, analysis on internalized weight stigma would be facilitated in nationally representative populations across the adult range, in surveys with a considerable ethnic minority population, and in surveys where genetic and linked administrative data would support application of causal inference methods and avoidance of reporting bias.
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 22 March, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 22 March, 2021
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Eating disorders - anorexia, bulimia, Mental health, Obesity, Statistical methods, BMI, Childhood - childcare, childhood adversity, Psychology - personality, Social science

B3739 - Prevalence of ideal cardiovascular health in preschoolers early determinants and associations with neurodevelopment - 29/03/2021

B number: 
B3739
Principal applicant name: 
HEUDE | INSERM (France) (France)
Co-applicants: 
EMPANA Jean-Philippe, Dr, TAFFLET Muriel, Mrs, CLIMIE Rachel, Dr, CHARLES Marie-Aline,Dr
Title of project: 
Prevalence of ideal cardiovascular health in preschoolers, early determinants and associations with neurodevelopment
Proposal summary: 

In the context of the concept of primordial prevention, a score of ideal cardiovascular health has been defined by the American Heart Association (Lloyd Jones et al. 2010). In adults, a higher score as been associated to a Incident Cardiovascular Events, lower Cognitive Decline and Incident Dementia (van Sloten et al. 2018; Samieri et al. 2018). This score relies on the combination of “ideal” values for 7 metrics from cardiometabolic health and behaviours. Ideal values will be defined as recommended values from previous studies and/or from internal thresholds. The list of the 7 metrics entering the score is as follows: Body mass index, physical activity, healthy diet, smoking, blood pressure, fasting plasma glucose, total cholesterol. Two sub-scores can be computed, one from the behavioural components (BMI, physical activity, diet and smoking), and the other from the clinical and biological components (blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol).

Impact of research: 
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 16 March, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 22 March, 2021
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Blood pressure, BMI, Cardiovascular, Cognition - cognitive function, Development, Nutrition - breast feeding, diet, Physical - activity, fitness, function

B3735 - Financial Stress and Smoking Behaviour - 15/03/2021

B number: 
B3735
Principal applicant name: 
Marcus Munafo | The University of Bristol
Co-applicants: 
Dr Alex Kwong , Henry Shirlaw
Title of project: 
Financial Stress and Smoking Behaviour
Proposal summary: 

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the UK (Cornish et al., 2019) and represents both a risk of serious illness (Prescott, 2019; Bello et al., 2014) and a significant burden on public services and the economy (Ekpu and Brown, 2015). As a result, research which may have potential implications for smoking cessation interventions may be considered justified.

A number of studies have examined the relationship between financial stress and smoking behaviour and identified associations between these variables (Guillaumier et al., 2017; Siahpush, Borland and Scollo, 2013). However, the exact causal nature of this relationship may be considered somewhat obscure.

The proposed research plans to investigate the possibility of financial stress acting as an active predictor/risk factor of smoking behaviour. The longitudinal nature of the ALSPAC data facilitates research examining how changes in financial stress overtime may relate to later smoking behaviour. Although exact cause and effect may not be identified, tracking the relationship between these variables overtime may offer some form of greater insight into how they interact. This insight may be considered enough to make recommendations for further investigation and/or have implications for smoking cessation interventions.

Impact of research: 
This research may potentially inform us about if/to what extent we consider financial stress as an active predictor/risk factor of smoking. This subsequently may have potential implications for how addressing financial stress may be considered when applying smoking cessation interventions.
Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 10 March, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 15 March, 2021
Keywords: 
Health Services Research/Health Systems Research, Addiction - e.g. alcohol, illicit drugs, smoking, gambling, etc.

B3736 - Lifecycle The role of maternal eating disorders in childhood wheezing asthma and lung function - 15/03/2021

B number: 
B3736
Principal applicant name: 
Maja Popovic | University of Turin, Department of Medical Sciences (Italy)
Co-applicants: 
Prof Lorenzo Richiardi
Title of project: 
Lifecycle: The role of maternal eating disorders in childhood wheezing, asthma and lung function
Proposal summary: 

Maternal mental disorders have been shown to influence foetal development, increase the risk of pregnancy complications, and the risk of several perinatal and childhood outcomes, including wheezing and asthma. To date asthma research has been predominantly focused on the most frequent mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety, showing that these two disorders and broadly-defined maternal stress increase the risk of childhood respiratory diseases, most likely through the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. The low prevalence of eating disorders, especially during pregnancy, makes challenging single study analyses, and collaborative projects that involve birth cohorts with prospectively collected data represent the best setting for elucidating the association between maternal eating disorders and childhood respiratory outcomes. In this project we will estimate the associations of maternal lifetime eating disorders with childhood preschool and school-age wheezing and asthma, and with childhood/adolescent lung function in several cohorts participating in the EU Child Cohort Network.

Impact of research: 
Eating disorders are characterized by severe disturbances in eating behavior that significantly impact an individual’s emotional, psychosocial and physical well-being. The literature suggests that maternal eating disorders negatively influence child growth, feeding behaviors, cognitive and psychological development, while less is known on childhood respiratory outcomes. This study will add to the existing knowledge on the associations between maternal eating disorders and childhood outcomes and increase the knowledge on the effect of eating disorders independent of other mental health comorbidities, including depression and anxiety. We aim to move forward and explore the potential mediating pathways, focusing in particular on some modifiable factors during early childhood, including breastfeeding and daycare attendance.
Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 10 March, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 15 March, 2021
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Respiratory - asthma, Asthma, Wheezing, Eating disorders, Mental health

B3721 - Perinatal and postnatal risk factors for mental health symptoms in adolescence - 15/03/2021

B number: 
B3721
Principal applicant name: 
Steven Marwaha | University of Birmingham
Co-applicants: 
Camilla Carr, Cristina Preece, Dr Isabel Morales Muñoz
Title of project: 
Perinatal and postnatal risk factors for mental health symptoms in adolescence
Proposal summary: 

Perinatal psychiatry is a relatively new, multidisciplinary field of psychiatry. Perinatal usually refers to the period immediately before and after birth, starting at the 20th to 28th week of gestation and ending 1 to 4 weeks after birth; while the postnatal period can be defined as the first 6-8 weeks after birth. Although knowledge is increasing, more research is needed to clarify the associations between parental and offspring mental illness.
The theory behind the potential associations between perinatal and postnatal risk factors and subsequent offspring mental health problems proposes that environmental stress, during pregnancy, such as life event exposure, may affect the neurodevelopment of the foetus and lead to an increased risk of psychopathology.
Among the perinatal and postnatal risk factors that have been investigated in the last years, maternal postnatal depression is one of the most relevant and studied risk factors, and thus most of the existing research is solely focused on this specific risk factor. Further, maternal postnatal depression is known to have an adverse effect on several aspects of child and adolescent development, including social, emotional, and cognitive function, and is associated with offspring depressive symptoms in adolescence and adulthood. Maternal postnatal depression might negatively affect bonding and parenting during infancy, which might affect offspring attachment style and increase the risk of psychotic experiences, among others.
In addition to postnatal depression, there are some other perinatal and postnatal risk factors that could be considered a form of psychological distress and that might reflect chronic maternal stress, which could affect the neurodevelopment of offspring. Among these risk factors, perinatal and postnatal maternal sleeping problems, family adversity, substance abuse, gestational age, or maternal age when birth could also play an important role in the development of subsequent mental health problems in adolescence, such as depressive and psychotic symptoms. However, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first study investigating a range of relevant perinatal and postnatal risk factors for subsequent psychopathology in adolescence.

Impact of research: 
This research will provide novel information about the role of perinatal and postnatal risk factors for the development of offsprings depressive and psychotic symptoms in adolescence.
Date proposal received: 
Thursday, 11 March, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 15 March, 2021
Keywords: 
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Mental health

B3738 - Gestational Age at Birth and Childhood Body Size - 15/03/2021

B number: 
B3738
Principal applicant name: 
Anne-Marie Nybo Andersen | University of Copenhagen (Danmark)
Co-applicants: 
Johan Lerbech Vinther, Phd Student
Title of project: 
Gestational Age at Birth and Childhood Body Size
Proposal summary: 

Preterm birth and overweight constitutes
significant global burdens at individual and structural level underlining an
importance
for identifying modifiable risk factors to inform preventive efforts, e.g. in early-life.
It is well-established that birth weight is associated with later increased risk of
adiposity, and it has been suggested that gestational age is the factor behind this
association. Still, evidence is scarce and social context may affect the association

Impact of research: 
This reasearch will add to the literature evidence on the impact of gestational age on offspring body size in the first 18 years of life. Also, findings from this cross-cohort study will add important information about geographical variations in this association
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 15 March, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 15 March, 2021
Keywords: 
Epidemiology, Obesity, Statistical methods, BMI, Metabolic - metabolism, Offspring, Statistical methods

B3729 - Growing up in deprivation or threat A network decision tree approach to the timing of early adversity - 12/03/2021

B number: 
B3729
Principal applicant name: 
Duncan Astle | University of Cambridge (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Sofia Carozza, Dr Joni Holmes
Title of project: 
Growing up in deprivation or threat: A network decision tree approach to the timing of early adversity
Proposal summary: 

Early life adversity can have a profound impact on children's cognitive development. But is that association specific or general? We want to test whether adversities group according to their type, and whether the longitudinal impact of different types of adversity are associated with different kinds of negative outcome.

Impact of research: 
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 8 March, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Friday, 12 March, 2021
Keywords: 
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Mental health, Statistical methods, Childhood - childcare, childhood adversity

B3728 - Assessing individual susceptibility to changes in sleep during the COVID-19 lockdown - 12/03/2021

B number: 
B3728
Principal applicant name: 
Rebecca Richmond | University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Co-applicants: 
Miss Bryony Hayes
Title of project: 
Assessing individual susceptibility to changes in sleep during the COVID-19 lockdown
Proposal summary: 

Stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic have had a major impact on people's usual routines, including their sleeping patterns. Recent studies have demonstrated that relaxed work schedules and more time spent at home have meant that the timing of sleep has become more regular, with less "social jetlag" (the discrepancy in sleep timing between working and non-working days) (1). Nonetheless, there are also been reports in a decline in sleep quality based on self-reported data (2). The factors which influence individual's susceptibility to altered sleep patterns during the pandemic have not been fully investigated. Within the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), parents and young people (YP) were asked to report whether their amount of sleep had decreased, stayed the same, or increased during lockdown. They were also asked to record any difficulty sleeping.

References:
(1) Christine Blume, Marlene H. Schmidt, Christian Cajochen. Effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on human sleep and rest-activity rhythms. Current Biology, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.06.021
(2) Kenneth P. Wright, Sabrina K. Linton, Dana Withrow, Leandro Casiraghi, Shannon M. Lanza, Horacio de la Iglesia, Celine Vetter, Christopher M. Depner. Sleep in University Students Prior to and During COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Orders. Current Biology, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.06.022

Impact of research: 
Identifying lifestyle or genetic predictors of changes in sleep during lockdown, could be useful for identifying or risk-stratifying those individuals most susceptible to sleep disruption.
Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 9 March, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Friday, 12 March, 2021
Keywords: 
Genetic epidemiology (including association studies and mendelian randomisation), Sleep traits such as insomnia and sleep duration, GWAS, Statistical methods, Genetic epidemiology, Genetics, Genomics, Genome wide association study, Methods - e.g. cross cohort analysis, data mining, mendelian randomisation, etc., Sleep, Statistical methods

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