On Sunday 8 April, The Observer's ‘Discover’ supplement published a Health Research feature entitled ‘The Bristol babies who are unlocking the secrets of life’ . The piece, by journalist Robin McKie, celebrated the 21st anniversary of the Avon Longitudinal Study Of Parents And Children (ALSPAC). Also known the Children of the 90s, the Bristol University-based project is a cohort study of children born in Avon in the west of England between 1991 and 1992. The DNA and lifestyle data taken from the children and their mothers has created a unique information resource for scientists and researchers.
The Makers of Biomedicine Research Group held a Witness Seminar on 24 May 2011 looking at this very topic. The resulting volume is due to be published in May 2012. Tilli Tansey was surprised that the original Observer article contained no mention of Professor Jean Golding, whose experience of the deficiencies of previous longitudinal studies enabled her to design a comprehensively detailed project, the success of which has proved so vital in determining the factors affecting a person’s health. Following a letter from Tilli, the article was edited to reflect Professor Golding’s contribution. The letter (‘An unacknowledged heroine’) can be found in The Observer’s Comment section, here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver/2012/apr/15/observer-letters-teach-children-coding (half way down the page)
The amended feature from The Observer can be accessed here:
The Wellcome Witness seminar publication, ‘History of the Avon Longitudinal Study Of Parents And Children (ALSPAC), c.1980–2000’, is freely available from this website.
A video detailing the ongoing work of the ALSPAC study can be found on the Wellcome Trust website: