What is it like to be a study member?
David Ward, a journalist at The Guardian, is a NSHD study member. In both 1977 and 2008 David wrote about his experiences of being in a cohort study all his life.
In 2008, David said:
“They’ve tracked me for 62 years and know more about me than I do about myself. I’m fascinated by the idea of an alternative biography; the scientists have a completely different story about me, backed up by facts and figures from throughout my life, from the one I carry about in my head.
Being in the study all along has been good for me … It made me feel singled out, but in a good way, a bit special.
In my teens and at university, as well as the physical aspects of the research they asked me wider questions about my view of the world and my hopes and ambitions.
At the last thorough medical they took tubes of blood, swabbed my saliva, weighed and measured me, gave me an ECG and scanned my bones. The results came back; blood pressure, heart, cholesterol were all good. But they found some osteoporosis in my spine, something which I’d never have discovered otherwise. I don’t have any aches and pains but will be munching calcium tablets for the rest of my life.”