The Consortium on the Vulnerability to Externalizing Disorders and Addictions (c-VEDA) coordinated by Vivek Benegal and Gunter Schumann, is the first of its kind longitudinal cohort study that will try and identify temperamental, neuropsychological, genetic, neuroimaging and environmental vulnerabilities for the development of externalizing disorders, addictions and other mental health problems. This is a joint venture by collaborators from 8 centres in India and the United Kingdom and is funded by the Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi, and the Medical Research Council, UK. Over a period of 3 years, around 10,000 subjects in the age range 6-23 years will be recruited at the various sites in India. They will undergo broad phenotypic characterization by clinical assessments, including testing for neurocognitive, emotional and social cognition measures, blood and urine testing and neuroimaging. Follow-up assessments will be done after a year. The study has been planned with an accelerated longitudinal  design  that  will  also  help  build  developmental  trajectories  to  better  understand  brain growth and maturation, besides helping identify the vulnerabilities to mental health problems.   The cohorts are a mix of high-risk for AUD clinical samples and population-based samples that include large and mid-sized urban areas and rural areas with both an agricultural as well as industrial environment (coal mining) and a wide range of SES and educational achievement levels. The age bands are as follows:  6-11; 12-18, 19-23.

Study Design

In 10,000 individuals, ‘general phenotyping’ assessments will include:

  • Psychometric and anthropometric assessments
  • Neuropsychological tests
  • Collection of saliva and blood samples for DNA isolation, to be administered universally to all subjects (N = 10000)
  • Collection of urine samples from all subjects for measuring toxic exposure (N=10000) A subset of 1000 subjects will receive ‘deep phenotyping’ assessment protocol), which will include:
  • Neuroimaging protocol (N = 1000)
  • Stress response measures (cortisol)

To find out more about the IMAGEN project please click here