Hundreds of Children of the 90s participants from across Bristol visited the M Shed to learn directly from the researchers behind the renowned study.
The Discovery Day event in October, which marked the study moving into its fourth decade, welcomed three generations to share study findings and hear from participants about their experiences of taking part and what it means to them.
The study, based within the University of Bristol, began in 1991 ands its research findings have made an impact woprldwide.
An early example was when, following a rise in cot deaths in the UK, Children of the 90s researched baby sleeping positions. The findings led to the government launching the ‘Back to Sleep’ campaign which, to date, has prevented an estimated 10,000+ deaths in the UK and 100,000+ around the globe.
More recently, Children of the 90s data fed directly into government policy for Covid-19, and helped researchers to understand the prevalence of the disease, including asymptomatic cases, immunity, its effects on physical and mental health, and its long-term impact.
The study, now in its 33rd year, is currently researching topics from childhood eating patterns to fatty liver disease and from mental health to the menopause.
Speaker Professor Anna Murray, from the University of Exeter, presented her findings on ‘Menopause and your genes’ and discussed how Children of the 90s data is helping her to learn more about the role of our genes in controlling the timing of menopause.
Children of the 90s is now looking for participants to come forward for their @30 clinic. So far over 7,000 participants have attended for a three-hour visit (including parents, children and partners).
Children of the 90s lead, Professor Nic Timpson said: “We would love our participants to book their @30 clinic appointment – it’s our biggest ever clinic, with all three generations involved and it must finish next year. Anyone eligible can come along, even if they’ve never taken part.
“If you were born in Bristol or Weston between April 1991 and December 1992 simply text your name and date of birth to 07772 909090 or visit www.childrenofthe90s.ac.uk for eligibility details.
“Each appointment really does make a difference.”
The study, also known as the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC),started when midwives in Weston, Bristol and South Gloucestershire invited all pregnant women due to give birth between April 1991 and December 1992 to take part. Researchers aimed to follow the newborn babies’ health and development via regular questionnaires and clinics, to understand how environment, genes and lifestyle impacted future health and development.
The majority said ‘yes’ and in due course 14,700 babies were born and routinely contributed to a biobank of scientific research. These babies are now adults and many of them, with their parents and children, still complete health questionnaires and visit the study to be measured and give samples.
It receives core funding from the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and the University of Bristol.