Weston child to be COCO90s experiment's 500th baby

PUBLISHED: 11:00 31 October 2016

Zoe Patch and her son Lance.

Zoe Patch and her son Lance.

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A child from Weston-super-Mare will become the 500th baby involved in the latest phase of a huge science experiment monitoring the health of people living in the area.

Zoe Patch, who is aged 24 and expecting her second child, got involved in the Children Of The 90s project when she was a child.

The study, conducted by the University of Bristol, follows the health of 14,500 families, and scientists hope it will teach them how to prevent poor health passing through generations of the same family.

The most recent phase of the project, called Children Of The Children Of The 90s (COCO90s), has been running for four years, and Zoe’s second child will be the 500th baby involved in this latest research when it is born in January.

Zoe joined the project when she was born in 1992, but she stopped participating when she got older.

When she gave birth to her first child, Lance, now aged four, he became part of COCO90s, while she rejoined the original project.

Zoe said: “The more volunteers they have, the more it contributes towards science.

“For me it is that buzz of excitement of being a part of the studies.

“Taking the time to contribute even just the smallest thing can make a big difference to someone else’s life.

“It feels amazing – like an achievement – to give what I can and for my children to have the opportunity to take part too is excellent.”

Researchers are gathering information such as height, weight and blood pressure, but advances in technology means the data can offer even more insights than it did in the 1990s.

These include a sensor which monitors air quality, an iPad game to test a child’s memory and problem-solving skills and a monitor to test glucose levels during pregnancy.

Zoe has recently taken part in the glucose study. She said doctors will share the results with her if there are any problems, giving her extra reassurance.

The research may one day show how 2016’s babies are affected by e-cigarettes, which were not around during the original study in the 1990s.

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