The Leicestershire & Rutland Cohort Studies

What is it all about? 

The 1970's and 1980's saw a large increase in the prevalence of asthma and other allergic disorders in children. The reasons remain unclear. To learn more it is essential to carry out long term studies on subjects, preferably from birth. In Europe, several of these "since birth" studies on asthma and lung diseases have been initiated over the last two decades.

Our project began with the first cohort of children in 1990 and a second in 1998. It totals over 10,000 families of children born in Leicestershire and Rutland. We have tracked their progress from birth to young adulthood by means of repeated questionnaires, breathing tests and allergy tests. Success is measured in the prolific output of research reports. These are available for doctors and researchers worldwide.

This project is by far the largest study devoted to breathing problems in the UK, and one of the largest in Europe. It is based as a random sample of children born to Leicestershire and Rutland families. Leicester is home to a large south Asian population. Children from this ethnic group have more frequent and troublesome asthma. Our study is the first to seek the answers.

For many years the Leicester City Council has recorded air quality and published a report for both counties. This onset is also a novel feature of our research, enabling us to answer questions about air pollution and asthma incidence.

Finally, we are experts in lung development, so all our work is also directed at learning more about the way lungs develop as children grow. This is important, because the health of young people as they reach adulthood defines their health for the rest of their life..


What's new in the Leicestershire & Rutland Cohort Studies?

The Leicester pre-school questionnaire has been translated into Portuguese by a team working in Lisbon. Their purpose was twofold; firstly they wanted to find out more about infantile asthma and wheezing in Portugese children below 3 years, and secondly they wanted to standardize methodology to help…

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It has long been recognised that there are variations in lung function between people of different ethnic groups. One possible explanation has been that nutritional or socioeconomic factors are largely responsible for the differences. Some of our previous work in which we compared lung function in…

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Asthma tends to run in families, which means that children are more likely to develop asthma if their parents have the condition. This indicates that there is a genetic component to asthma. It is not a single gene effect (such as some types of haemophilia or colour blindness), but many genes are…

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©  ISPM - University of Bern 2009