Largest UK study on child health to come to Leicester

Posted by pt91 at Jun 03, 2015 02:55 PM |
University of Leicester renal expert involved in unique research study

Issued by Leicester's Hospitals on 27 May 2015

Life Study, a unique research study designed to understand and improve the lives of UK children and their families, has announced its partnership with Leicester’s Hospitals which will host the second Life Study Centre.

Life Study is an internationally leading research study that will involve up to 80,000 babies born between 2014 and 2018 and their families across the UK. Life Study is delighted to announce that Leicester will be the second city to host Life Study. Life Study will provide valuable insights into the health and wellbeing of Leicestershire children as well as making important contributions to the health of all children in the UK. The information collected will be used to support research and policies aimed at giving all children the best possible start in life.

A major focus of Life Study is to gain an accurate picture of contemporary children’s lives in the UK. Children from families of different ethnic and cultural groups have previously been underrepresented in earlier community research studies on children. It is vital they are included to ensure that research and policies enable all children in future generations realise their full potential.

Professor Carol Dezateux, Scientific Director of Life Study said: “Life Study will help Leicester understand how to tackle key issues relevant to its children’s health and well-being. By working in partnership with Leicester’s Hospitals, Life Study will support research into children and families from an ethnically and socially diverse community.”

“The public health and policy priorities for child health in Leicester are closely aligned to those of Life Study. The information collected will help research into the childhood origins of important health problems such as obesity and diabetes and ultimately to inform future policies and healthcare services that meet local population needs.”

The first Life Study Centre, at King George Hospital in Ilford, was officially opened in March 2015 by actress, comedian and screenwriter Meera Syal who said “The wonderful thing about Life Study is that they are following so many families over such a long period, meaning we have a chance to answer some of those big questions about environment, genetic triggers and upbringing.”

Pregnant women planning to give birth at Leicester Royal Infirmary or Leicester General Hospital (LGH) and their partners will be invited to join Life Study and to come to the new Life Study Centre at LGH in the second half of their pregnancy, and again when their baby is 6 and 12 months old. Recruitment to the study will begin in summer 2015 and appointments will take place from September 2015.

Professor Nigel Brunskill, Director of Research and Innovation at Leicester’s Hospitals and Professor of Renal Medicine at the University of Leicester said, “At UHL we recognise that Trusts with high levels of research activity deliver better outcomes for patients in all specialities, regardless of whether they are directly involved in the research or not. Therefore we’re absolutely delighted to be working with the Life Study team to bring this exciting and important research study to Leicester’s Hospitals.

A large study like Life Study will bring funding into Leicester’s Hospitals over the duration of the study. To ensure that we are ready to start delivering the study as soon as possible, we and the Life Study have invested over one million pounds for facilities, equipment and staff. Life Study will be bringing around 20 new posts to Leicester’s Hospitals which include research midwives, research healthcare assistants and others. We are working hard to ensure that there is a dedicated Life Study Centre at Leicester General Hospital, with all the necessary staff ready to recruit the first study participants. We are very excited about this project and look forward to the launch later in the year.”


For media enquiries, please contact:
Jennifer Durrant
Research Communications Manager
Leicester’s Hospitals
07961 804 431

For more information about Life Study, please contact:

Laura Clohessy
Communications Manager, Life Study
+44 (0)7904289800
Follow us on twitter: @LifeStudyUCL

Notes to editors:

1. Life Study is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the Medical Research Council and UCL (University College London) and benefits from the Department of Business Innovation and Skills Large Facilities Capital Fund.

2. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest funder of research on the social and economic questions facing us today. It supports the development and training of the UK’s future social scientists and also funds major studies that provide the infrastructure for research. ESRC-funded research informs policymakers and practitioners and helps make businesses, voluntary bodies and other organisations more effective. The ESRC also works collaboratively with six other UK research councils and Innovate UK to fund cross-disciplinary research and innovation addressing major societal challenges. The ESRC is an independent organisation, established by Royal in 1965, and funded mainly by the Government. In 2015 it celebrates its 50th anniversary.

3. Life Study is led from UCL by Professor Carol Dezateux (Director), Professor Peter Elias (Deputy Director), and Professor Peter Brocklehurst (Associate Director) on behalf of a group of world-leading scientists from universities across the UK.

4. Life Study is a birth cohort study. This special type of research study follows the progress and experiences of the same babies and families at different points in time as they grow up and is designed to understand how early health and life circumstances influences health and life chances in adult life.

5. Life Study will be the fifth UK-wide birth cohort study. The UK is renowned for its world-leading UK-wide birth cohort studies, the first of which started just as the NHS was established. There have been four previous UK cohort studies spanning the last 70 years: these are the National Survey of Health and Development, the 1958 National Child Development Study, the 1970 British Cohort Study, and the Millennium Cohort Study.

6. Research based on these birth cohort studies has provided new and unique understanding about factors influencing health and wellbeing in later life. For example, evidence of the consequences of childhood disadvantage drawn from birth cohort studies has been instrumental in shaping Government policies aimed at eradicating child poverty and reducing persistent inequalities whether in health, education, or social mobility.

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