The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) provides the most detailed phenotypic, genotypic and environmental assessments of parents and their children across the life course of any comparable study available to scientists studying early life influences on health. To further strengthen the platform, ALSPAC is undertaking linkage to electronically held routine health and social information. This linkage will augment information collected through direct means, providing:
- A cost-effective and comprehensive source of both retrospective and prospective measures of exposures and outcome status;
- Validation of directly collected data, and cross-validation of data from different linkages, each potentially influenced by different biases;
- A means of obtaining data whose measurement is less subject to self-report or participant bias.
Data linkage in a cohort study, developing and testing methods to automatically find similar medical records in datasets.
PEARL will link data from:
- Health records – Patient-level primary care records, general practice research database, hospital admissions data;
- Department for Work and Pensions – Employer, benefits and income;
- Ministry of Justice – Criminal convictions and cautions;
- Geographic Information Systems, to inform spatial analysis;
- Education data – National pupil database, further and higher education.
The study has two phases, homogenisation and linking. Homogenisation fills in missing data using the obtained predicted values. Linking uses similarity measures between the medical records.
- Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents And Children (ALSPAC) website
- Boyd A, Golding J, Macleod J, Lawlor D, Fraser A, Henderson J, Molloy L, Ness A, Ring A, Davey Smith G. ‘Cohort Profile: The ‘Children of the 90s’ — The index offspring of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children’. International Journal of Epidemiology 2012: 1-17