Individual Study / BEST/BLS

BEST/BLS - Bavarian Longitudinal Study Cohort

Networks -
Datasets -
Variables -

Phase I (1984-1990)
Four assessments (1985-1990) were carried out daily during the neonatal period, at discharge from hospital, at 5 months and 20 months (corrected for prematurity) and at 56 months of (=4;8 years) chronological age.
Study aims: a) to document the prevalence of somatic and psychosocial outcomes of neonatal problems and early delivery in an unselected population of children in Germany; and b) to evaluate the impact of a regionalised neonatal service to the locally organised service provisions in Germany. For this purpose a geographically defined region in Finland was also studied and the same instruments were used (AYLS).

Phase II (1990-1997)
Two assessments (1991-1993) at 6 and 8 years; Study aims: more intensive investigation of a reduced sample, assessed impact of biological and social risk on cognitive, social and behavioral development and academic achievement, intensive interviewing on parental caretaking and psychopathology.

Phase III (1997-1999)
One assessment (1998-1999) at 13 years (questionnaires were sent out only); Study aims: development of literacy, language and mathematical skills and school achievement, focus on the highest risk group (VP/VLBW) of the original sample only.

Phase IV (2009-2015)
One assessment (2010-2014) at 26 years. Study aims: identification of protective and resiliency factors in the development of children exposed to biological or environmental adversity. The study focused on neuronal, neuro-cognitive and behavioral development, health utility, and quality of life from infancy to adulthood.



Investigators Contacts
  • Dieter Wolke
    University of Warwick
  • Nicole Baumann
    University of Warwick


Start Year
Follow Up Is Ongoing
Year of Most Recent Data Collection
New Data Collection planned?
Supported by grants PKE24, JUG14, 01EP9504, and 01ER0801 from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Science (BMBF), and by grant DFG SCHM 3045/2-1 from the German Research Foundation (DFG)


Access to external researchers or third parties neither provided nor foreseen.

Study Design

Study design
Number of Data Collection Events
Number of very preterm (VPT) and/or very low birthweight (VLBW) births included in cohort (live & still births)
Supplementary information about number of participants
Original cohort recruited infants admitted to the NICU in South Bavaria n=7505.
VPT/VLBW subcohort available for RECAP Preterm n=682

Marker Paper

1. Riegel K, Ohrt B, Wolke D, K Ö. Die Entwicklung gefährdet geborener Kinder bis zum fünften Lebensjahr: Die Arvo Ylppö-Neugeborenen-Nachfolgestudie in Südbayern und Südfinnland [The development of at-risk children until the fifth year of life. The Arvo Ylppö Longitudinal Study in South Bavaria and South Finland] Stuttgart: Ferdinand Enke Verlag; 1995.
2. Schmid G, Schreier A, Meyer R, Wolke D. Predictors of crying, feeding and sleeping problems: a prospective study. Child Care Health Dev 2011;37:493-502.
3. Jaekel J, Baumann N, Wolke D. Effects of Gestational Age at Birth on Cognitive Performance: A Function of Cognitive Workload Demands. Plos One 2013;8.
4. Eryigit-Madzwamuse S, Wolke D. Attention problems in relation to gestational age at birth and smallness for gestational age. Early Hum Dev 2015;91:131-8.
5. Schneider W, Wolke D, Schlagmuller M, Meyer R. Pathsways to school achievement in very preterm and full term children. Eur J Psychol Educ 2004;19:385-406.
6. Eryigit Madzwamuse S, Baumann N, Jaekel J, Bartmann P, Wolke D. Neuro-cognitive performance of very preterm or very low birth weight adults at 26 years. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines 2015;56:857-64.



The BLS started off as a geographically whole population study of infants admitted to neonatal special care in South Bavaria (Germany). The children and their families were recruited from 16 children’s hospitals, including 153 neonatal units.
Selection Criteria
  • Germany
Geographical Area
Southern Bavaria
VPT/VLBW Group Inclusion Criteria
Infants born during the period February 1985 and March 1986 who required admission to a neonatal unit within the first 10 days after birth, and were born VP/VLBW (<32 weeks gestational age or <1500g birth weight): N=682.
Control Group Inclusion Criteria
Healthy infants who were cared for on the normal postnatal wards in the same obstetric hospitals: N=916.
VPT/VLBW Group Exclusion Criteria
Control Group Exclusion Criteria
Supplementary Information
Data collection of control children started at the same time as for the VP/VLBW infants, beginning at birth and throughout all follow-up assessments.
Data Collection Events
# Name Description Start End
0 Perinatal Assessment Perinatal data were collected from medical records and clinical assessments on gestational age, maternal smoking during pregnancy, pregnancy complications, delivery and birth, infant sex, length, ... 1985 1986
1 5 Month Follow Up At 5 months of age, the participant underwent a neurological and clinical assessment, measurement of length, weight, head circumference, and administration of the Griffiths scale of Babies ... 1985 1987
2 20 Month Follow Up At 20 months of age, participants underwent a clinical and neurological examination to assess length, weight, head circumference, cerebral palsy, and visual and hearing impairment. The Griffiths ... 1986 1988
3 56 Month Follow Up At 56 months, participant height, weight and head circumference were measured along with neurological and clinical examination to assess cerebral palsy, and visual and hearing impairment.

1989 1990
4 6.3 year Follow Up At 6 years of age, the participants underwent a clinical neurological assessment, including Test of Motor Impairment (TOMI), Beery VMI, clinical evaluation of cerebral palsy, visual and hearing ... 1991 1993
5 8.5 year Follow Up At 8 years of age, participants underwent a clinical assessment to assess cerebral palsy, visual and hearing impairment.

Parents of the participant were interviewed about socioeconomic ...
1993 1993
6 12-13 year Follow Up At 12/13 years of age, parents of the participants completed a number of postal questionnaires to collect information on socioeconomic status, living conditions, school reports, bullying, ... 1998 1999
7 26 Year Follow Up At 26 years of age, participants were interviewed about socioeconomic status, living conditions, life course and bullying. The Munich Composite International Diagnostic Interview (M-CIDI) and ... 2010 2014