History of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children , c.1980-2000
Wellcome Witnesses to Twentieth Century Medicine: Volume 44
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The Avon Longitudinal Survey of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) arose from a proposal in the mid-1980s to design a cohort study in Europe which concentrated on the health of children. The UK-side of this was developed in the former county of Avon and the study has followed more than 14000 children, due between April 1991 and December 1992, from their mothers' pregnancies onwards. A vast amount of data has been collected on health, lifestyle, and environment as well as biological samples of urine, blood and DNA. This has been used to establish genetic and environmental determinants of development and health. With an introduction by Professor David Gordon, this volume addresses the origin and development of ALSPAC, the problems of funding such a major study, the variety of methodologies employed, and the ethical questions associated with the project. Contributors include several of the major scientists involved with ALSPAC including Professor Jean Golding, Scientific and Executive Director of the study until December 2005, as well as clinical scientists, epidemiologists, members of the ethics committee, field workers and study parents.