Children of the 90s reunited for 21st
THEIR contribution to science started before they were born and has continued throughout their lives.
To celebrate the 21st birthday of the project which has studied, measured and tested countless aspects of their health, around 500 participants in Bristol's Children of the 90s project gathered at Colston Hall yesterday.
In 1991 and 1992, more than 14,500 pregnant women in Bristol and the surrounding area agreed to take part in a ground-breaking study that would follow them and their babies, recording information to be used by scientists to discover more about aspects of health from disease and diet to upbringing and genetics.
The project, officially called the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, has led to significant discoveries by researchers, both in Bristol and across the world.
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Many of the mothers who first volunteered attended yesterday's ResearchFest, along with their children and, in some cases, grandchildren.
Children of the 90s is celebrating its 21st birthday this year and the festival aimed to bring together those who have taken part and show them where the research has led.
The day included a guest appearance by Children of the 90s founder Professor Jean Golding OBE.
A film was shown about the science behind the project, and there were interactive hands-on displays and talks on everything from genetics and obesity to gambling and mental health.
There was a chance for those taking part in the project to talk to researchers about their work and take a Question Time event, chaired by journalist Adam Rutherford, in which participants got to turn the tables on the researchers and ask them the questions for a change.
Maddy Cottrell, 20, attended the event with two of her friends.
Her mother Louise, 47, was one of the original pregnant women who signed up to the project and her involvement helped spur Maddy to study cellular and molecular medicine at Bristol University.
She told the Post: "I've really enjoyed being part of the project since I was a baby. I think it's made me more interested in science and medicine than I might have been. When I was a child I used to enjoy taking part in the various study groups because I got a day off school!"
Joe Griffiths, 20, a computer programmer from Hanham, was also one of the original children.
"ResearchFest has been a great way to understand all the studies that we've taken part in," he said. "It's also nice to see everyone else and have a chance to meet up."
Lynn Molloy, executive director for Children of the 90s, said: "We are delighted with the turnout and the fact that so many people have joined us on a Sunday to celebrate the remarkable contribution they have made to science.
"It is their dedication and commitment over the last 20 years that has made the project the success story it is."