December/January research highlights

12 February 2018

A round-up of selected journal papers and other research published in December and January using CLS study data.

Social environment and Epstein-Barr virus

Research using the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) age 3 survey data has investigated the relationship between social environment and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a type of herpes. The paper, published in Epidemiology & Infection, was a collaboration between a team of researchers based in France. They found that, on average, children from less privileged homes had an increased risk of EBV infection at age 3.They also identified that lower rates of EBV infection were observed in children living in towns and rural areas compared with those living in cities. Read more here

Social class and cognitive ability

Research published in The British Journal of Sociology has looked at the relationship between social class and cognitive ability test scores. The paper, authored by Roxanne Connelly, of the University of Warwick, and Vernon Gayle, of the University of Edinburgh, used data from the National Child Development Study (NCDS) birth, age 7 and age 11 sweeps. In addition, they analysed data from the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) birth, age 5 and age 10 sweeps. They found that parental social class was associated with children’s cognitive test scores, with pupils from lower social class families doing less well, on average. Read more here

Preterm birth and cognitive development

A new paper published in US journal, Pediatrics has examined whether early term birth and poverty is linked to children’s cognitive test scores, at ages 3, 5 and 7. The researchers based at Emory University, USA, analysed MCS data to find that children born preterm (<37 weeks) or early term (37–38 weeks) tended to score more poorly on cognitive assessments than children born at term (39-40 weeks). Read more here

Do flexible work policies improve parent’s health?

A new article published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health has examined whether a policy that grants parents the right to request flexible working patterns helps to improve their health and wellbeing. The paper, authored by researchers based at King’s College London, and, Institut National d’Etudes Démographiques, France, used MCS data from ages 9 months, 3, 5 and 7. A small group of mothers had started working flexibly, as a result of the UK Flexible Working Act (2003), but the researchers did not find any association between this and improved health and wellbeing. Read more here

The development of non-allergic asthma in childhood

New research from UCL has studied whether excess weight plays a role in the relationship between socioeconomic position and non-allergic asthma. The paper published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, used data from MCS surveys at ages 9 months, 3, 7, 11 and 14. The findings revealed that excess weight at age 7 did not change the direct link between socioeconomic position and non-allergic asthma. The results suggest that improving socioeconomic conditions and promoting healthy weight are both important in reducing the development of non-allergic asthma. Read more here

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