History of the Children of the 90s available to researchers

For the first time, the history charting the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), also known as Children of the 90s, has been made accessible.

The work, made possible thanks to a Wellcome grant and a dedicated team of archivists from the University of Bristol’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 about 2005.

Data amassed by ALSPAC comprises fourteen thousand 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, said “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.”

The University of Bristol reports 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 All participant information has been withdrawn from the archive in line with ALSPAC’s strict confidentiality policy.

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