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..