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For first time, history charting Children of the 90s (ALSPAC) available to researchers

Discovery Club materials, Children of the 90s (ALSPAC) study history Special Collections

Press release issued: 10 April 2018

For the first time, the history charting the world-renowned Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), also known as Children of the 90s, back to its beginnings has been made accessible.

The work, made possible thanks to a Wellcome grant and a dedicated team of archivists from the University's Special Collections, will mean that researchers can now access the cohort’s historical records archive which documents the study from its planning stages until circa 2005.

Data amassed by ALSPAC comprises 14,000 children born from pregnancies with due dates between April 1991 and December 1992 and now includes three generations of families. ALSPAC provides a rich resource for the study of the environmental and genetic factors that affect health and development to the international medical and science community.

Former director of the study Jean Golding, Emeritus Professor of Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, said: "I am delighted that the archive detailing the history of the study will be available to researchers; not only those with an interest in epidemiological studies but also researchers who are interested in the history of bioethics, childhood and scientific administration will be able to gain insights into complex questions, such as how 'normality' has been measured and defined over time."

Professor Nic Timpson, the current principal investigator of ALSPAC, added: "Having access to the documentation charting the rise of such an exceptional resource will facilitate future research centred not only on the ethnography of the ALSPAC study, but concerning the initiation of new policies and resources in the future. This is a great example of the ability of cohort studies to provide material and opportunities for impactful science through judicious and transparent sharing of information with the research community and wider audiences."

Use of the archive is subject to approval from ALSPAC and access restrictions apply to records containing sensitive and personal data. All participant information has been withdrawn from the archive in line with ALSPAC’s strict confidentiality policy. More detail of the archive and access arrangements are available from the library's website.

Further information

Based at the University of Bristol, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), also known as Children of the 90s, is a world-leading birth cohort study.

Between April 1991 and December 1992 more than 14,000 pregnant women were recruited into the study and these women (some of whom had two pregnancies or multiple births during the recruitment period), the children arising from the pregnancy, and their partners have been followed up intensively over two decades.

ALSPAC is the most detailed study of its kind in the world and provides the international research community with a rich resource for the study of the environmental and genetic factors that affect a person’s health and development. Through ALSPACs research the project aims to inform policy and practices that will provide a better life for future generations.

Funding for ALSPAC is provided by the UK Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and the University of Bristol and additional support from many other funders for individual projects.

Funding for the cataloguing of the study history was provided by the Wellcome Trust.

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