Consortium on Vulnerability to Externalizing Disorders and Addictions (cVEDA): A developmental cohort study protocol

Eesha Sharma*, Preeti Jacob, Pratima Murthy, Sanjeev Jain, Mathew Varghese, Deepak Jayarajan, Keshav Kumar, Vivek Benegal, Nilakshi Vaidya, Yuning Zhang, Sylvane Desrivieres, Gunter Schumann, Udita Iyengar, Bharath Holla, Meera Purushottam, Amit Chakrabarti, Gwen Sascha Fernandes, Jon Heron, Matthew Hickman, Kamakshi KartikKartik Kalyanram, Madhavi Rangaswamy, Rose Dawn Bharath, Gareth Barker, Dimitri Papadopoulos Orfanos, Chirag Ahuja, Kandavel Thennarasu, Debashish Basu, B. N. Subodh, Rebecca Kuriyan, Sunita Simon Kurpad, Kalyanaraman Kumaran, Ghattu Krishnaveni, Murali Krishna, Rajkumar Lenin Singh, L. Roshan Singh, Mireille Toledano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background: Low and middle-income countries like India with a large youth population experience a different environment from that of high-income countries. The Consortium on Vulnerability to Externalizing Disorders and Addictions (cVEDA), based in India, aims to examine environmental influences on genomic variations, neurodevelopmental trajectories and vulnerability to psychopathology, with a focus on externalizing disorders. Methods: cVEDA is a longitudinal cohort study, with planned missingness design for yearly follow-up. Participants have been recruited from multi-site tertiary care mental health settings, local communities, schools and colleges. 10,000 individuals between 6 and 23 years of age, of all genders, representing five geographically, ethnically, and socio-culturally distinct regions in India, and exposures to variations in early life adversity (psychosocial, nutritional, toxic exposures, slum-habitats, socio-political conflicts, urban/rural living, mental illness in the family) have been assessed using age-appropriate instruments to capture socio-demographic information, temperament, environmental exposures, parenting, psychiatric morbidity, and neuropsychological functioning. Blood/saliva and urine samples have been collected for genetic, epigenetic and toxicological (heavy metals, volatile organic compounds) studies. Structural (T1, T2, DTI) and functional (resting state fMRI) MRI brain scans have been performed on approximately 15% of the individuals. All data and biological samples are maintained in a databank and biobank, respectively. Discussion: The cVEDA has established the largest neurodevelopmental database in India, comparable to global datasets, with detailed environmental characterization. This should permit identification of environmental and genetic vulnerabilities to psychopathology within a developmental framework. Neuroimaging and neuropsychological data from this study are already yielding insights on brain growth and maturation patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020


  • Cohort
  • Environmental exposures
  • Externalizing disorders
  • Longitudinal study
  • Study protocol
  • Vulnerabilities


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