The eBRAIN study: The impact of early adversity on trajectories of brain maturation and mental health in young adolescents – A prospective cohort study

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Abstract

Introduction: More than 1 in 10 people are thought to experience a mental health problem during adolescence, with most adult psychopathology beginning during this time. Experiences of stress or adversity during childhood are important risk factors for poorer mental health outcomes and are also associated with alterations in neurodevelopment. There is evidence to suggest that this relationship is mediated by inflammation and the immune system. The eBRAIN study (The Impact of Early Adversity on Trajectories of Brain Maturation and Mental Health in Young Adolescents) will assess how early life adversity might affect trajectories of brain development throughout adolescence, whether these neurobiological changes are associated with psychopathology, and if they can potentially be explained by an activation of the immune system.

Methods: A cohort of 220 adolescents between the ages of 11-14 will be recruited into this study. Each participant will complete three study visits, each one year apart, at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, London (UK). At each study visit, they will be assessed with structural and functional MRI scans, biological sample collection as well as questionnaires and interviews to collect demographic information, assess experiences of adversity, and details of psychopathology. The study will also collect information about factors such as diet and nutrition, physical exercise, and cognition.

Ethics and dissemination: Ethical approval for this study has been received by King's College London Research Ethics Committee (REC reference: HR-18/19-9033). Findings from the study will be published in peer-reviewed journals and disseminated at national and international conferences. Patient and public involvement (PPI) is an important component of the study, 'Study Champions' recruited from participants, their parents and teachers at collaborating schools have been invited to take an active role in study governance and dissemination.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100539
Pages (from-to)100539
JournalBrain, Behavior, & Immunity - Health
Volume26
Early online date3 Nov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

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