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CLOSER October news round-up

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A round up of journal papers and other research published in October using data from CLOSER’s eight longitudinal studies.

Meat consumption during pregnancy link with substance use in teenage offspring

A new piece of research using the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) investigates whether or not there is link between eating meat during pregnancy and substance misuse among teenagers. The team of researchers, led by Joseph Hibbeln (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, USA) looked at the dietary patterns of pregnant women and their adolescent children’s consumption of alcohol, tobacco and cannabis at age 15. The report, published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, found evidence to suggest the less meat women ate while pregnant, the more their children’s risk of substance misuse in their teenage offspring. The research was covered by the Daily Mail and the Metro.

Grip strength in later life

New research has examined changing levels of grip strength in later life. The study used data from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study participants, aged 59-71, and cohort members of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, aged 52-82. Led by Holly Syddall (University of Southampton), the study suggests that advancing age, shorter stature and suffering from two or more chronic medical conditions are associated with a lower level of grip strength. These factors are also thought to lead to an accelerated loss of grip strength in later life. The research was published in Calcified Tissue International.

Hypertensive Disorders in pregnancy and Autism risk

A new paper using data from the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) has investigated the link between hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and the risk of autism in children. This research was published in Molecular Neurobiology, and was carried out by a team of researchers based at University College Cork, including Eileen A. Curran and Gerard W. O’Keeffe. Their findings indicate that there is a significant association between hypertensive disorder and a twofold increased risk of autism at age 7.

Giving up smoking during pregnancy

Research using the National Child Development Study (NCDS) has looked at whether reduced smoking rates during pregnancy predicts smoking status of mothers in middle age. The paper, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, was authored by Danielle Schoenaker, George Ploubidis, Alissa Goodman and Gita Mishra. The results showed that women who reduced or quit smoking during pregnancy, up to the age of 33, were two times more likely to be non-smokers at age 55.

The benefits of private primary schooling on children’s learning

A new article published in the British Educational Research Journal examines data from the 1970 British Cohort Study, NCDS, and MCS. The team of UCL researchers, including Samantha Parsons and Francis Green, evaluated the influence that private primary schooling has on children’s learning. They looked at children’s performance in cognitive assessments at age 5 or 7 and later at age 10 or 11. They found evidence of a link between private primaryschool attendance and increased cognitive development when compared to peers who attended a public primary school.