Nutrition and Development

Leads: Jenny Ingram and Pauline Emmett, with Jean Golding, Alan Emond, Debbie Johnson, Colin Steer and Zia-ud Din.

Collaborators: Ken Ong (Cambridge), Imogen Rogers (Brighton), Joe Hibbeln (USA).

Our main interests in this area are:

Current Projects

Tongue Tie Trial

Around 3% of babies are born with a tongue tie, which can result in failure of breastfeeding. Cutting the tongue-tie (called frenotomy) to free up tongue movement and improve breastfeeding is becoming widespread. NICE recommends frenotomy, but calls for better evidence on which to base the practice. It is unclear if all infants with tongue tie, or only those with the most severe form, should be offered frenotomy.

From July 2011 to December 2013 we ran an NIHR funded feasibility trial to assess whether it would be possible to conduct a multi-centre Randomised Control Trial comparing immediate frenotomy of babies with mild to moderate tongue tie, with those receiving usual care (breastfeeding support).

Previous Project

Breastfeeding Studies

The UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) programme supporting breastfeeding has been rolled out across NHS Bristol. As part of this process the Primary Care Trust commissioned a peer support breastfeeding support service for mothers (in 12 lower socio-economic areas of Bristol) with one antenatal visit and contact at 48 hours after they have had their baby. The service aims to meet UNICEF/WHO Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) and NICE guidance on the provision of peer support contact antenatally and in the 48 hours after discharge from hospital.  Jenny Ingram evaluated this service and some commissioned materials for teenage mothers, using on-line questionnaires and interviews with mothers and peer supporters.

Outcome of growth faltering in infancy

Zin-ud Din is using ALSPAC to analyse the long term effects of poor growth in infancy, with growth and developmental outcomes at 8 years and 12 years. Alan Emond is collaborating with Julie Farren and  Dieter Wolke.  

Early Nutrition and Neurocognitive Development

Pauline Emmett, Jean Golding and Colin Steer are using data collected by the ALSPAC nutrition project to investigate the effects of early nutrition on subsequent development:

Cognitive and visual development in children up to 12 years old in relation to fish eating in pregnancy and childhood and the modifying effects of genetic variance. (Nutrimenthe - FP7 European collaboration)

Fish eating in pregnancy and development (NOAA) with Joe Hibbeln

Investigation of omega-3 and omega-6 intakes in the diet of 3 to 9 year olds and their relationship with obesity development.

Diet and growth

Other projects using dietary data collected in ALSPAC  include:

Diet at age 7 years in relation to timing and type of complementary foods introduced in the first year of life.

Diet and growth in relation to the age of menarche in girls.

Relationship between mother’s and child’s dietary intake and IGF levels in matched cases and controls with or without incident breast or cervical cancer following the birth of the study child.