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CHild Development


PURE RESEARCH Projects supported


The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) - which is also known as Children of the 90s - is a unique long-term health research project based in the University of Bristol.

More than 14,000 mothers enrolled during pregnancy in 1991 and 1992, and the health and development of their children has been followed in great detail ever since.  The ALSPAC families have provided a vast amount of genetic and environmental information over the years. This resource is assisting scientists all over the world with research into a wide range of health problems.

The collaboration between The Waterloo Foundation and ALSPAC involved the typing of two variants (SNPs) situated within the FADS gene, and the use of those to investigate the possible links between the omega-3 intake from fish, blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids and effects on cognition and behaviour. ALSPAC looked at the same two SNPs (rs174575 and rs1535) in both mother and child to determine their effects on the fatty acid status of each as well as the mother’s mental state and the child’s motor and cognitive development.

The results showed that both mothers’ fish intake and children’s genetic information separately predicted children’s IQ at 8-years. Interestingly, the results showed that breast-feeding and genetic information significantly interacted to predict children’s IQ at 8-years.

PhD Project: Iodine and Selenium in Pregnancy

This 3-year project examines the effect of mothers’ iodine and selenium intake and status during pregnancy. The researchers are investigating whether thy effect mothers’ health, premature delivery, and infants’ cognitive development. The literature review indicates that there is little attention being paid to iodine intake or status in the UK. Further, all of the UK studies which have assessed iodine status indicate that there is a degree of deficiency in the UK.

Several data sets are being used in this project to examine several inter-connected research questions. Firstly, iodine status and deficiency risk are being examined in two UK samples. Preliminary results indicate that in the summer UK women have an insufficient intake of iodine, and that both milk intake and iodine supplementation were associated with iodine status.


APPLIED RESEARCH Projects supported

Kids Company was founded by Camila Batmanghelidjh in 1996.  They aim to provide practical, emotional and educational support to vulnerable inner-city children and young people.

Kids Company’s therapeutic and practical interventions reach 14,000 children across London, including the most deprived and at risk.  Many of the children will have experienced severe and multiple trauma, including homelessness, substance misuse, criminal involvement, emotional difficulties and mental health problems.  Kid’s Company have an unprecedented success rate and in consultation with world leading academics they have developed an extensive research program investigating the impact of childhood trauma on brain development, cognition and behaviour.

Kids Company will work with the Anna Freud Centre at the University College London (UCL) to identify specific neurobiological deficits associated with trauma in childhood.  This project will also offer the opportunity to investigate neurological changes accompanying behaviour changes.


DISSEMINATION Projects supported

Food and Behaviour Research (FAB Research) is a charitable organisation dedicated both to advancing scientific research into the links between nutrition and human behaviour and to making the findings from such research available to the widest possible audience.

They disseminate recent research findings through their website, publications and annual conference throughout the UK.  Their conferences are well attended by educational professionals, health professionals, voluntary organizations, local authority staff and parents.

Box of Ideas is a website written by professionals from The Dyscovery Centre based at the University of Wales, Newport. It provides practical advice for those supporting children of all ages, whether they are parents, teachers, or have another role. It is a one stop shop with 1000s of ideas, guidance and information on everything from early years to further education.

The website gives practical ideas for helping children with everyday tasks of daily living, including independent living skills at home such as tying shoe laces, classroom skills in primary school, making friends, organisation, and preparation for exams. The advice is of a high caliber and very practical, with an increasing number of video demonstrations. There are also lots of recommended resources, such as books, CDs and weblinks, including a fact sheet on sleep and bedtime problems from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.


PRACTICAL Projects supported

The help! programme offers support for parents and carers of school-age children, young people and adults who have a recent diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  The help! programme was developed to address the initial needs of all parents - no matter what the age of their child.






Last updated Thursday 21 December, 2023