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Children of the 90s says thanks to Bristol – by donating blood

Arriving for staff blood donation at donor centre Southmead, 27/09/2017

Children of the 90s staff arriving to give blood Children of the 90s/Barbara Evripidou

Lynn Molloy, COO of CO90s, giving blood

Lynn Molloy, chief operating officer at Children of the 90s, giving blood Children of the 90s/Barbara Evripidou

CO90s staff enjoying a cup of tea and a joke after giving blood

Children of the 90s staff relaxing after giving blood Children of the 90s/Barbara Evripidou

Press release issued: 2 October 2017

Staff and researchers from Children of the 90s donated blood to NHS Blood and Transplant last week as a thank you to the community and the thousands of Bristolians who have taken part in their world-leading research since 1991. The donation drive is part of a wider PR campaign to promote the final months of Children of the 90s biggest data-collection drive for seven years, Focus@24+.

Since July 2015, thousands of participants have taken part in Focus@24+, undergoing tests, exercises and interviews – and giving blood – for the researchers to see how their health has changed and developed since they were born. With this part of their data-collection exercise coming to an end, Children of the 90s hopes to see as many participants as possible over the coming weeks.

‘Since we were established in 1991, thousands of our participants have given us samples of their blood, so this is one small way for us to give something back to the community that has supported our research for more than a quarter of a century,’ said Professor Nic Timpson, principal investigator (lead scientist), Children of the 90s.

Professor Jean Golding OBE who founded Children of the 90s said:

‘Although, at the age of 78, I am now too old to donate blood any more, I will be there to show my support. Without the blood samples we have collected from participants since they were new-born babies – and from their mothers during pregnancy – we wouldn’t have been able to do a lot of the ground-breaking research that we have done and continue to do.’

Tracy Wright, Head of Region, West from NHS Blood and Transplant, added:

‘We’re really grateful the staff and researchers from this study decided to donate blood as a way of giving back to the community which has helped them with their research since the 1990s. Blood donation saves lives and we always need new blood donors to replace those people who can no longer donate. The Bristol Donor Centre on Southmead Road is a great place to donate for the first time.’

The tens of thousands of blood samples Children of the 90s has collected from participants have been used to research everything from the effect of vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy on a child’s future social and neurological development, to the genes associated with migraine, eczema and binge-eating. The samples were given directly to Children of the 90s by their participants and did not come from blood donations to the NHS.

With the ‘children’ now in their mid-20s, scientists are researching the health of their children too. By collecting (umbilical) cord blood from the ‘Children of the Children of the 90s’ (COCO90s), researchers can begin to determine the factors that influence the health of the next generation.

Further information

  • Focus@24+ is the most detailed assessment of Children of the 90s participants for seven years and will add to the enormous amount of data already collected 
  • Children of the 90s is now recruiting the children of the original children (popularly known as COCO90s), so their health can be charted and compared to that of their parents and grandparents. More than 600 have already enrolled, ranging in age from newborn to age 10. Read more about 10-year-old cousins Cody and Scarlet
  • NHS Blood and Transplant is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority. We are responsible for ensuring a safe and efficient supply of blood and associated services to the NHS in England. We are also the organ donation organisation for the UK and are responsible for matching and allocating donated organs
  • Blood donors can search for sessions, book appointments, change/cancel their appointments and change their contact details in real time at www.blood.co.uk
  • The overall demand for blood is falling by 3-4% per year. This is due to improvements in clinical practice and is a trend that is being seen around the world. The drop in demand for blood is also thanks to our work with hospitals to ensure blood is used appropriately for patients
  • NHS Blood and Transplants needs nearly 200,000 new blood donors each year to replace those who no longer donate for reasons such as ill health, pregnancy or foreign travel and to ensure we have the right mix of blood groups to match patient needs in the future
  • Some blood groups, such as O negative (the universal blood group), A negative and B negative are particularly vulnerable to shortfalls. So we want people with those blood groups to donate as regularly as they can. NHS Blood and Transplants needs more black African, black Caribbean, mixed race and South Asian people to become blood donors to reflect the ethnic diversity of patients.
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