CELSPAC "Meeting of Generations" at the Brno Science Festival

Every year, scientists from the RECETOX Research Centre participate in the Brno Science Festival – a three-day event dedicated to promoting science. However, this year's festival, held at the Brno Exhibition Centre, was unique for the center. On Saturday, September 10, 2022, as part of the festival, CELSPAC population studies participants met in the Rotunda of the convention center. The "Meeting of Generations" celebrated three decades since the population studies were established in Brno.

15 Sep 2022 Marie Hošťálková

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In 1991 and 1992, Brno scientists started the ELSPAC long-term study of pregnancy and childhood in South Moravia under the World Health Organization. They approached thousands of pregnant women, offering themto participate in a unique long-term study. Over thirty years, they followed the families and their children to find out what affected their health the most. This year, 2022, marks thirty years of CELSPAC's scientific research and opens a new decade full of research challenges. And it deserves to be celebrated.

During August and September, RECETOX prepared an exhibition for this anniversary at Malinovsky Square. In front of the Mahen's Theatre, in the heart of Brno, residents had the opportunity to learn about the CELSPAC population studies and the scientific findings that thirty years of research have produced. As a thank you, RECETOX gave the book "CELSPAC: the story of a generation" to all the participants of the study, its authors, Jana Klánová, the RECETOX director, and Jan Krajčiřovič, an ELSPAC participant. The book traces the life and health of more than 7,500 families from Znojmo and Brno. It introduces readers to the story of the (C)ELSPAC generation over thirty years, the research, and the personal stories of the participants, scientists, doctors, teachers, and coders. RECETOX invited the participants of the CELSPAC studies, Czech and international scientists, and the general public to the official book release at the festive event.

The "Meeting of Generations" was hosted by the Czech Radio presenter Jiří Kokmotos. He first invited Šárka Pospíšilová, Vice-Rector for Research and Doctoral Studies at Masaryk University, and František Kubeš, Head of the Department of Strategic Development and Cooperation of the City of Brno, to the stage. Both of them thanked the study participants for their diligence and perseverance. "Thanks to all the people involved in the CELSPAC studies, we have a better understanding of the effects on human health," said Vice-Rector Pospíšilová in her speech. Then, RECETOX scientists introduced their scientific work and its overlap with real life through short stand-ups. The morning program also included discussions by Czech and foreign scientists on various topics. The first discussion, entitled "Where did long-term population studies come from and what use are they in times of global change?" featured the founder of the Czech branch of the ELSPAC study, pediatrician Lubomír Kukla, the UK-based epidemiologist Hynek Pikhart, ecologist Michal V. Marek, and a participant of the ELSPAC study and author of the (C)ELSPAC book Jan Krajčiřovič. In the discussion titled "And how the results of our efforts reflect on life in the city," scientists Julie Dobrovolná, Irena Štepáníková, based in the USA, Jiří Dušek, Director of the Brno Observatory, and Karolína Marková, a study participant, shared their views.

The afternoon program started with a musical performance by the Brno singer-songwriter Pavel Čadek, who engaged the audience with catchy lyrics and introduced the ceremonial launch of the book "CELSPAC: the story of a generation." The book dedicated to the thousands of people who were or are part of the (C)ELSPAC studies was officially released by the Director of the RECETOX Centre, Jana Klánová, and the "father" of the ELSPAC study, Dr. Lubomír Kukla. "Thank you to all families, especially parents of the children, who have faithfully completed questionnaires for over thirty years. Without them, we would not be here today. Thanks to their enthusiasm and efforts, we are celebrating thirty years of population studies, which are the cornerstone of Brno's Living Laboratory. Thanks to them, RECETOX has been able to connect scientific research toauthorities, politicians, companies, and above all Brno citizens, and to identify and reduce the factors that negatively affect the lives of locals," said Jana Klánová. The singer-songwriter Pavel Čadek, Brno actress Alena Antalová, and singer and actor Ondřej Havelka accepted the role of godparents. On the stage, they wished all the "CELSPAC" thirty-somethings good health and undying enthusiasm for science and research; also, they wished the book itself lots of enthusiastic readers and Brno scientists novel ideas and support from Brno residents and local authorities. The day ended with an hour-long concert by Ondřej Havelka and the Melody Makers, which made the young and old audience dance.

Although 2022 is a significant year for the CELSPAC population studies, symbolically marking the end of three decades of collaborative effort, research continues. RECETOX scientists and the CELSPAC study coordinators invite all existing study participants to participate in the simultaneous measurements. The book "CELSPAC: the story of a generation" is free for all participants in the population studies and will be given to them at their next appointment. It will soon be available online on the CELSPAC population studies website and in the Masaryk University Munispace Reading Room.


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