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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
6-Sep-2013

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Contact: Sarah Cox
s.cox@qmul.ac.uk
020-788-23004
Queen Mary, University of London
@QMUL

1 baby in every 46 born with a congenital anomaly says new report

The report [1] by researchers at Queen Mary University of London collates data from six regional registers [2], a national coverage of 36 per cent of the births in England and Wales. Examples of congenital anomalies include heart and lung defects, Down syndrome, neural tube defects such as spina bifida, and limb malformations such as club foot.

Funded by Public Health England (PHE), the study is the most up-to-date and comprehensive of its kind, bringing together existing data in England and Wales from 2007 to 2011. However, the editor of the report, Professor Joan Morris, from the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, part of Queen Mary said: "We remain concerned that data for substantial parts of the country, including London, are not currently monitored, meaning large regional increases in congenital anomalies could go unnoticed and their causes not investigated. Currently there are no registers in London, the South East, the North West and East Anglia."

With formal responsibility for surveillance of congenital anomalies in England being met by PHE, there is an opportunity to expand the current system to the whole of England. Professor Elizabeth Draper from the University of Leicester, who is Chair of BINOCAR, commented: "This important report again highlights the value of the existing regional registers. We are working closely with PHE to establish regional registers in those areas not currently covered by a congenital anomaly register."

The number and types of congenital anomalies have been monitored since the thalidomide epidemic in the 1960s. Since the 1980s, regional registers have been established in some parts of the country to actively collect data from hospital, laboratories and health records. In the intervening years, lack of strategic funding coupled with a lack of support at national level has led to the closure of some of the regional registers. The creation of a stable system of funding for an entire surveillance network would make it possible to fulfil the potential that the existing registers offer for public health, service planning, clinical audit, outcomes monitoring, research and other purposes.

The main findings from today's report are:

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For media information, contact:

Sarah Cox
Public Relations Officer
Queen Mary University of London
0207 882 3004
s.cox@qmul.ac.uk

Notes to editors

To access an embargoed copy of the full report contact the Public Relations Office at Queen Mary

[1] "Congenital Anomaly Statistics 2011, England and Wales". British Isles Network of Congenital Anomaly Registers (BINOCAR). Published online at: http://www.binocar.org/Publications/Reports

[2] The six BINOCAR regional registers contributing to the report are:

The two disease specific national registers contributing to the report are:

For more information on BINOCAR visit: http://www.binocar.org.

About Queen Mary, University of London

Queen Mary, University of London is one of the UK's leading research-focused higher education institutions with some 16,900 undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Amongst the largest of the colleges of the University of London, Queen Mary is a member of the Russell Group, which represents the 24 leading universities in the UK.

Queen Mary's 3,800 staff deliver world class degree programmes and research across 21 academic departments and institutes, within three sectors: Science and Engineering; Humanities, Social Sciences and Laws; and the School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Queen Mary is ranked 11th in the UK according to the Guardian analysis of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, and has been described as 'the biggest star among the research-intensive institutions' by the Times Higher Education.

The College has a strong international reputation, with around 20 per cent of students coming from over 100 countries. Queen Mary has an annual turnover of £300 million, research income worth £70 million, and generates employment and output worth £600 million to the UK economy each year.

The College is unique amongst London's universities in being able to offer a completely integrated residential campus, with a 2,000-bed award-winning Student Village on its Mile End campus.



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