ALSPAC : a large-scale transgenerational prospective birth cohort study

The REMEDIA approach is a three-step process that involves data integration, experimental work, and computational analyses. The project utilizes six selected cohorts and population registries to investigate the effects of the exposome on respiratory health in both the general population during the life course and in the framework of specific diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Cystic Fibrosis (CF). The article emphasizes the involvement of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) in the project.

ALSPAC is a large-scale transgenerational prospective birth cohort study that began in Bristol, England in 1991. The study is designed to investigate the effects of environmental, genetic, and lifestyle factors on the health and development of children. The cohort includes over 14,000 children and their families who have participated in a wide range of assessments, including physical examinations, medical tests, and questionnaires.

Researchers have published numerous studies using data from the ALSPAC cohort, covering various topics in health and social sciences1. Interestingly, the ALSPAC study provides researchers with rich data on environmental factors through the Environment Data Resource, including air pollution and weather data3. This resource can be linked to other health and social data in the ALSPAC cohort. For instance, the effects of air pollution on various health outcomes have been investigated using ALSPAC data. A study published in the Environmental Health journal used ALSPAC to examine the association between air pollution exposure during pregnancy and childhood and children’s lung function at age 82. The study found that exposure to particulate matter (PM10) during pregnancy was associated with reduced lung function in children. Another study using the ALSPAC cohort found that maternal exposure to PM10 during pregnancy can have a significant impact on birth weight, especially when the exposure is from road transport sources4. The effect was most pronounced during the third trimester, underlining the importance of reducing air pollution levels to protect the health of pregnant women and children who are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of air pollution.

The REMEDIA project aims to utilize data from the ALSPAC study to accomplish its research goals. The project will follow a multi-step process, which includes:

  1. Identification and characterization of clusters of exposome components at both the individual and contextual levels.
  2. Identification and characterization of typical trajectories of lung function
  3. Furthermore, the project will investigate the relationship between the clusters of exposome components identified in step one and the changes in lung function (step 2) observed during youth. It aims to determine if certain exposome profiles are associated with specific patterns of lung function evolution.
  4. Testing specific causal relationships between exposome and lung function using causal inference methods.

Overall, the REMEDIA project intends to leverage the ALSPAC study data to comprehensively investigate the relationship between exposome components and lung function evolution.


Authors: Michelle Leemans & Etienne Audureau


  1. Browse publications | Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children | University of Bristol.
  2. Cai, Y. et al. Prenatal, Early-Life, and Childhood Exposure to Air Pollution and Lung Function: The ALSPAC Cohort. Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 202, 112–123 (2020).
  3. Boyd, A. et al. Data Resource Profile: The ALSPAC birth cohort as a platform to study the relationship of environment and health and social factors. Int. J. Epidemiol. 48, 1038–1039k (2019).
  4. Chen, Y. et al. Trimester effects of source-specific PM10 on birth weight outcomes in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Environ. Health 20, 4 (2021).