Neurobiological underpinning of eating disorders: integrative biopsychosocial longitudinal analyses in adolescents

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: Social Genetic and Dev Psychiatry Centre

Abstract

The eating disorders (EDs) [anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), binge eating disorder (BED) and related syndromes] are common psychiatric disorders that affect up to 15% of young women and up to 4% of young men in developed countries. The cause of these disorders is complex and their development influenced by environmental, psychological and biological factors that may interact to create a risk for different clinical presentations of the disorder. While known risk factors include sociocultural influences (e.g. media exposure, idealisation of thinness) and personality factors, a range of other factors are either unknown or can currently only be considered as correlates. There is also the increasingly broad acceptance of EDs as being brain-based disorders sharing neurobiological overlaps with anxiety disorders and addictions. Identifying true risk factors for EDs and understanding how they contribute to the development of the specific aspects of the disorders, including behaviours related to reward and punishment, cognitive control and emotional processes, will be crucial for improving prevention and treatment of EDs.

To investigate this and understand how behaviours of dysfunctional eating develop, we will use a rich database collected a large population-based, longitudinal cohort of adolescents of the IMAGEN study. With over n=2000 participants recruited from four European countries, including the UK, Ireland, Germany and France, and followed-up at ages 14, 16, 19 and 23, IMAGEN is the largest and most comprehensively characterized longitudinal gene x neuroimaging cohort. The adolescents of this study underwent neuroimaging assessments and extensive assessments to monitor health and wellbeing, including personality measures, social determinants, and pre- and post-natal life-events questionnaires, neuropsychological and biological measures. There is also an extensive characterisation of behavioural measures related to ED symptoms, internalising and externalising behaviours and substance use. To demonstrate that any differences observed in the IMAGEN population can also apply to a clinical population, we will complement the IMAGEN sample with a sample of emerging adults, of comparable age to the most recent IMAGEN follow-up (i.e. ~ 23 years-old), diagnosed with a first episode ED (AN or BN/BED). Before undergoing treatment for their ED, those individuals, unmedicated at the time of recruitment, will be assessed in a similar way as the IMAGEN participants. By combining these two samples we will be in a position to identify multiple correlates of dysfunctional eating across the full spectrum of drinking patterns. The analyses of the repeated measures of the longitudinal IMAGEN dataset, will allow us to better establish which correlates have a causal role in the development of EDs (those occurring before appearance of eating disorder symptoms). They will also enable us to characterising possible protective and/or additional risk factors, both environmental and biological.

For this research, we have brought together unique resources, a leading expert in EDs and scientific leaders in neuroimaging, genetics and developmental psychopathology to form a multi-disciplinary team, which is excellently positioned to deliver the research necessary to understand the underlying mechanisms and heterogeneity of EDs and inform future prevention and treatment strategies.

Technical Summary

This project aims to identify early biomarkers of eating disorders (EDs) by applying Big Data methods to the rich database derived from a representative population of adolescents and a clinical sample of emerging adults with an ED diagnosis.
First, we will characterise trajectories of ED symptoms in IMAGEN, the largest and most comprehensively characterised longitudinal gene x neuroimaging cohort n=2000 male and female adolescents followed-up at ages 14, 16, 19 and 23 years. We will classify individuals based on their ED symptoms trajectories, using growth mixture models or generalised estimating equations to model the longitudinal course of disordered eating behaviours, including core ED symptoms, a continuous global index of eating pathology and BMI changes. Next, we will use machine learning procedures based on cross-validated regularised logistic regression combining neuroimaging, genomic and psychometric data modalities to identify correlates of EDs and select the features that best classify individuals who endorse ED symptoms along with those who endorse no ED symptoms at any time point. To identify predictors of ED symptoms, we will use age 14 data to compare individuals who developed ED symptoms over time (symptoms absent at age 14 but present at later ages), or those who recovered (symptoms present at age 14, not at later ages) to those who never developed symptoms. Finally, we will select the most predictive and easily applicable components of our comprehensive profile for validation in a clinical sample. This will be patients, aged 18-25 with a 1st episode of DSM-5 AN or BN (n = 50 /diagnosis), assessed through standardised protocols in a way identical to IMAGEN.
This paradigmatic multimodal approach, in which neuroimaging may provide added value compared with the existing standard assessments, may yield potential application for early and differential ED diagnoses.

Planned Impact

Adolescents who engage in persistently disturbed eating behaviours [from severe undereating/self-starvation to overeating/binge eating] and who initiate these behaviours early in life are at elevated risk for a range of negative outcomes that span emotional (anxiety and mood disorders), behavioural (self-harm, and substance use), social (poor peer, family and personal relationships), physical (death through malnutrition, obesity and related complications), educational (poor academic performance) and economic (reduced employability) impacts. Even sub-clinical syndromes are associated with negative health outcomes. Early diagnosis and prognosis of eating disorders (EDs) would be key to improving current treatments. The aetiology of EDs is however complex, with evidence for multiple overlapping and distinct biopsychosocial factors implicated in risk for different clinical EDs and/or subclinical disordered eating.
In this project we will for the first time comprehensively explore biopsychosocial risk factors and biomarkers for EDs. Our paradigmatic approach that uses a wide range of data modalities, in which neuroimaging may provide added value, compared with the existing standard assessments, may have application for early and differential ED diagnoses, making a significant contribution to prediction and re-classification of EDs. The identification of biomarkers for early diagnosis and prognosis based on brain networks will allow implementation of pre-existing intervention programmes at an earlier stage. It will also facilitate development of novel early intervention programmes, which target specific neurobehavioural phenotypes. Our longitudinal assessments of ED symptoms trajectories will establish what measures of brain or other features are associated with persistent disordered eating and provide information inform about reversibility of symptoms. The results of the project are thus preparing for future work identifying novel targets, as well as for the establishment of neurobehaviourally informed endpoints for interventions.

Publications

10 25 50

publication icon
Chen D (2021) Brain Signatures During Reward Anticipation Predict Persistent Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms. in Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Desrivières S (2022) Editorial: The Altered Brain Network Architecture of Anorexia Nervosa. in Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

 
Description Eating Disorders: Delineating illness and recovery trajectories to inform personalised prevention and early intervention in young people (EDIFY)
Amount £3,913,565 (GBP)
Funding ID MR/W002418/1 
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2021 
End 08/2025
 
Description Establishing causal relationships between biopsychosocial predictors and correlates of eating disorders and their mediation by neural pathways
Amount £507,739 (GBP)
Funding ID MR/S020306/1 
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2019 
End 08/2022
 
Description Zuo's Fellowship
Amount £301,901 (GBP)
Organisation King's College London 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2021 
End 06/2024
 
Description environMENTAL
Amount € 9,972,288 (EUR)
Organisation Charite Campus Virchow-Klinikum 
Sector Academic/University
Country Germany
Start 08/2022 
End 08/2027
 
Title ESTRA Database 
Description In this cohort study, we propose to investigate biological and environmental factors shape brain function and behaviour in distinct ways, leading to specific risk constellations and neurobehavioural trajectories for eating disorders. Data collected from newly recruited patients with a current or past diagnosis of Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa and their controls will include comprehensive assessments to monitor mental health and wellbeing in participants with an age range of 18-25 years. Assessment instruments and protocols have been selected to allow direct comparison to IMAGEN. These include personality measures, social determinants, and pre- and post-natal life-events questionnaires. Assessments of weight, height and pubertal development were also included. Neuropsychological measures include IQ and executive function using the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB). There is also an extensive characterisation of behavioural measures related to internalising and externalising behaviours and substance use. Clinical phenotypes were indexed using the Development and Wellbeing Assessment (DAWBA) and Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). ED symptoms were measured by 47 items in the DAWBA. Further details can be found in. At age 23, the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q-6), the Three Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ-R 18) and the MINI International Neuropsychiatric Interview are also used to assess symptoms and clinical phenotypes. Blood samples have been collected to allow future analyses of differential DNA methylation, and genetic variations based on large GWAS meta-analyses. We are depositing our newly collected data to the centralised IMAGEN databank that is localised at Neurospin, CEA, France. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Access to world-class infrastructure: The data deposited to centralised IMAGEN databank will facilitate access to world-class infrastructure and supports big data analytics, management and distribution of programs and research tools. This databank that integrates all the data modalities assessed will be remotely accessible for interested researchers on a collaborative basis. In this way, we expect our work to form an important knowledge base for researchers in several fields within and across discipline. 
 
Description BRC_Obelix 
Organisation King’s Health Partners
Department King's Health Partners Academic Health Science Centre (NIHR BRC)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This award facilitates collaborative efforts within the Obesity, Lifestyle, and Learning from Extreme Phenotypes (OBELIX) Theme, one of the research focus of the The NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) that involves research groups from genetics, basic neuroscience, nutrition and mental health, and clinical researchers with experience of developing novel interventions. The theme lead U.Schmidt is Professor of Eating Disorders, a leading expert on mechanism-based neurobehavioural intervention development across the spectrum of eating/weight disorders, from anorexia nervosa to obesity. The aims of this theme encapsulate three opportunities for neuroscience and mental health research to be translated into health benefits in general population: 1) use established longitudinal cohorts in early life to determine the neurobiological and behavioural underpinnings of DEB, weight gain and obesity, with the aim of developing generalisable prediction models for early, targeted intervention (Aim 1); 2) identify biomarkers of treatment response (Aim 2) and 3) use theory-driven brain-directed interventions for eating disorders, to apply information gained from these two former approaches (Aim 3). Our work addresses directly to Aim 1.
Collaborator Contribution Partnerships both within the 'BRC-EDs/obesity' theme and between other BRC themes directly benefit our research by nurturing the transfer of expertise and technology, by allowing us to capitalize on local recruitment facilities and assessment infrastructure. This collaboration also provided financial support that has enabled us to enrich our dataset. This includes: 1) Salary support for a postdoctoral fellow to coordinate recruitment and assessment of participants for our study 2) Funds to expend and enrich our dataset, including (i) recruitment and assessments of more participants, (ii) collecting genome-wide genotype data of participants, which was not originally funded in our study (iii) collection of blood-based biochemical data (cytokine essays) for a subset of participants
Impact This project is embedded in an impressive clinical infrastructure, being part of the BRC Obesity, Life Style & Learning from Extreme Phenotypes (OBELIX) research Theme lead by co-applicant Prof. Ulrike Schimdt. Other related networks involving clinicians and international leaders in the field exist at King's College London, such as the King's Health Partners (KHP) Obesity and Metabolic Disease Network. Within these networks, we have started to showcase our research and meet with experts across subject areas in yearly and quarterly meetings. Through these activities, we aim to bring together expertise to (i) allow implementation of pre-existing intervention programmes at an earlier stage (ii) facilitate development of novel early intervention programmes, which target specific neurobehavioural phenotypes and (iii) support other researchers in alleviating the global burden of mental illness.
Start Year 2017
 
Description EDIFY 
Organisation King's College London
Department Department of Psychological Medicine
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Research Project titled: Eating Disorders: Delineating illness and recovery trajectories to inform personalised prevention and early intervention -EDIFY The overarching aim of this project is to transform the way in which eating disorders (ED) are identified, prevented, and treated. We hope to support young people to come forward for help and to give them the tools they need to recover more quickly. We will spearhead the development of inclusive, evidence-based ED policy and practice. With expertise in recruitment, acquisition and analysis of data from longitudinal cohorts acquired through the management of the ESTRA, STRATIFY and IMAGEN studies, I will lead analyses specifically aimed at developing and testing predictive models of risk and resilience for eating disorders and associated high-risk behaviours in young people.
Collaborator Contribution Eating disorders have complex aetiology, spanning neurobiological, genetic, psychological, social and cultural factors. Thus, transdisciplinary research is essential. Our group bridges disciplinary silos i.e. child and adult psychiatry/psychology; translational research; bioinformatics; intervention development; early intervention; schools-based interventions; neurobiology; genetics, longitudinal cohorts; epidemiology; psychosocial ED risk; arts- and design-led research; policy; and advocacy. Several of us have successfully collaborated on large scale research. We are a diverse group of academics in terms of gender, ethnicity, nationality and career stage, and have strong partnerships with YP advisory groups, YP with lived experience of an ED and with carers/families.
Impact - Funding from the Medical Research Council: Funded Value £3,913,565 - multi-disciplinary collaboration including child and adult psychiatry/psychology; translational research; bioinformatics; intervention development; early intervention; schools-based interventions; neurobiology; genetics, longitudinal cohorts; epidemiology; psychosocial ED risk; arts- and design-led research; policy; and advocacy.
Start Year 2021
 
Description GWAS of eating disorders 
Organisation University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Department UNC School of Medicine
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We will share our data with that of other cohorts worldwide to perform of genome-wide association studies to identify genetic variants that are associated with eating disorders. This pulling of samples together is necessary to reach the large sample sizes required for this type of studies. This will result in a better understanding of the underlying biology of eating disorders and related traits.
Collaborator Contribution This collaboration will generate new types of data to which we'll have privileged access. For example, our collaborators will compute a variety of polygenic scores based on the results of these the genome-wide association studies and feed these back to us. The derivation of such polygenic scores for each individual in our sample will enable us to estimate their genetic liability for eating disorders and related traits.
Impact Our study will support strong international partnership in neuroscience and mental health research, notably world leaders in the genetics of eating disorders. With Cynthia Bulik, Professor of Eating Disorders and Founding Director of the UNC Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders, and her team we will bring together unique resources and scientific leaders in neuroimaging, genetics and developmental psychopathology to form a multi-disciplinary team, which is excellently positioned to deliver the research necessary to understand the underlying mechanisms and heterogeneity of EDs and inform future prevention and treatment strategies. This collaboration will benefit the UK economy by insuring that it remains a world-leader in the biosciences, over and above the duration of the project.
Start Year 2020
 
Description IMAGEN 
Organisation Central Institute for Mental Health
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This project builds on IMAGEN, the largest and most comprehensive longitudinal functional and structural neuroimaging genetics study of adolescents and young adults in Europe and combines it with the excellent clinical research infrastructure of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) in mental health. It generates additional synergy and value for money as our recruitment of patients with Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa is matched by funding for similar assessments of patients with Major Depressive Disorder, Alcohol Use Disorder and ADHD. Thus, we will have an opportunity to investigate comorbidity and core psychopathology across eating disorders and these reinforcement-related disorders.
Collaborator Contribution The IMAGEN project spans 8 sites across 4 EU countries; UK, Germany, France and Ireland. It has been initially funded by the European Commission, and has subsequently received funding from various agencies including the European Research Council (ERC), Medical Research Council (MRC), National Institute for Health Research UK (NIHR), Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), German Federal Ministry of Research & Education (BMBF), National Institute for Health Research US (NIHR) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). These grants have allowed recruitment and assessment of the IMAGEN study participants and age-matched controls and patients with diagnoses of Major Depressive Disorder, Alcohol Use Disorder and ADHD, thereby leveraging our resources.
Impact Our study will also support strong international partnership in neuroscience and mental health research. We have brought together unique resources and scientific leaders in neuroimaging, genetics and developmental psychopathology to form a multi-disciplinary team, which is excellently positioned to deliver the research necessary to understand the underlying mechanisms and heterogeneity of EDs and inform future prevention and treatment strategies. The fact that within these largest imaging genetic Consortium worldwide, we are the only UK scientists among a team of leading researchers from some of the most prestigious research institutions across the globe, will benefit the UK economy by insuring that it remains a world-leader in the biosciences, over and above the duration of the project. Young investigators working on the project have and will continue to visit our IMAGEN and c-VEDA recruiting sites in Europe and India to be trained to become highly skilled in a cutting-edge area of neuroscience and mental health research. In addition to the staff hired for this project, the data generated have already provided material for several BSc and MSc students, and we will offer PhD projects during the course of the project King's College London has also a comprehensive range of training courses and career development programs which will equip them to become future leaders in life science and make a direct contribution to UK society, culture and economy.
Start Year 2017
 
Description IMAGEN 
Organisation Charité - University of Medicine Berlin
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This project builds on IMAGEN, the largest and most comprehensive longitudinal functional and structural neuroimaging genetics study of adolescents and young adults in Europe and combines it with the excellent clinical research infrastructure of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) in mental health. It generates additional synergy and value for money as our recruitment of patients with Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa is matched by funding for similar assessments of patients with Major Depressive Disorder, Alcohol Use Disorder and ADHD. Thus, we will have an opportunity to investigate comorbidity and core psychopathology across eating disorders and these reinforcement-related disorders.
Collaborator Contribution The IMAGEN project spans 8 sites across 4 EU countries; UK, Germany, France and Ireland. It has been initially funded by the European Commission, and has subsequently received funding from various agencies including the European Research Council (ERC), Medical Research Council (MRC), National Institute for Health Research UK (NIHR), Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), German Federal Ministry of Research & Education (BMBF), National Institute for Health Research US (NIHR) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). These grants have allowed recruitment and assessment of the IMAGEN study participants and age-matched controls and patients with diagnoses of Major Depressive Disorder, Alcohol Use Disorder and ADHD, thereby leveraging our resources.
Impact Our study will also support strong international partnership in neuroscience and mental health research. We have brought together unique resources and scientific leaders in neuroimaging, genetics and developmental psychopathology to form a multi-disciplinary team, which is excellently positioned to deliver the research necessary to understand the underlying mechanisms and heterogeneity of EDs and inform future prevention and treatment strategies. The fact that within these largest imaging genetic Consortium worldwide, we are the only UK scientists among a team of leading researchers from some of the most prestigious research institutions across the globe, will benefit the UK economy by insuring that it remains a world-leader in the biosciences, over and above the duration of the project. Young investigators working on the project have and will continue to visit our IMAGEN and c-VEDA recruiting sites in Europe and India to be trained to become highly skilled in a cutting-edge area of neuroscience and mental health research. In addition to the staff hired for this project, the data generated have already provided material for several BSc and MSc students, and we will offer PhD projects during the course of the project King's College London has also a comprehensive range of training courses and career development programs which will equip them to become future leaders in life science and make a direct contribution to UK society, culture and economy.
Start Year 2017
 
Description IMAGEN 
Organisation King's College London
Department MRC Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre (SDGP)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This project builds on IMAGEN, the largest and most comprehensive longitudinal functional and structural neuroimaging genetics study of adolescents and young adults in Europe and combines it with the excellent clinical research infrastructure of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) in mental health. It generates additional synergy and value for money as our recruitment of patients with Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa is matched by funding for similar assessments of patients with Major Depressive Disorder, Alcohol Use Disorder and ADHD. Thus, we will have an opportunity to investigate comorbidity and core psychopathology across eating disorders and these reinforcement-related disorders.
Collaborator Contribution The IMAGEN project spans 8 sites across 4 EU countries; UK, Germany, France and Ireland. It has been initially funded by the European Commission, and has subsequently received funding from various agencies including the European Research Council (ERC), Medical Research Council (MRC), National Institute for Health Research UK (NIHR), Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), German Federal Ministry of Research & Education (BMBF), National Institute for Health Research US (NIHR) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). These grants have allowed recruitment and assessment of the IMAGEN study participants and age-matched controls and patients with diagnoses of Major Depressive Disorder, Alcohol Use Disorder and ADHD, thereby leveraging our resources.
Impact Our study will also support strong international partnership in neuroscience and mental health research. We have brought together unique resources and scientific leaders in neuroimaging, genetics and developmental psychopathology to form a multi-disciplinary team, which is excellently positioned to deliver the research necessary to understand the underlying mechanisms and heterogeneity of EDs and inform future prevention and treatment strategies. The fact that within these largest imaging genetic Consortium worldwide, we are the only UK scientists among a team of leading researchers from some of the most prestigious research institutions across the globe, will benefit the UK economy by insuring that it remains a world-leader in the biosciences, over and above the duration of the project. Young investigators working on the project have and will continue to visit our IMAGEN and c-VEDA recruiting sites in Europe and India to be trained to become highly skilled in a cutting-edge area of neuroscience and mental health research. In addition to the staff hired for this project, the data generated have already provided material for several BSc and MSc students, and we will offer PhD projects during the course of the project King's College London has also a comprehensive range of training courses and career development programs which will equip them to become future leaders in life science and make a direct contribution to UK society, culture and economy.
Start Year 2017
 
Description IMAGEN 
Organisation Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This project builds on IMAGEN, the largest and most comprehensive longitudinal functional and structural neuroimaging genetics study of adolescents and young adults in Europe and combines it with the excellent clinical research infrastructure of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) in mental health. It generates additional synergy and value for money as our recruitment of patients with Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa is matched by funding for similar assessments of patients with Major Depressive Disorder, Alcohol Use Disorder and ADHD. Thus, we will have an opportunity to investigate comorbidity and core psychopathology across eating disorders and these reinforcement-related disorders.
Collaborator Contribution The IMAGEN project spans 8 sites across 4 EU countries; UK, Germany, France and Ireland. It has been initially funded by the European Commission, and has subsequently received funding from various agencies including the European Research Council (ERC), Medical Research Council (MRC), National Institute for Health Research UK (NIHR), Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), German Federal Ministry of Research & Education (BMBF), National Institute for Health Research US (NIHR) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). These grants have allowed recruitment and assessment of the IMAGEN study participants and age-matched controls and patients with diagnoses of Major Depressive Disorder, Alcohol Use Disorder and ADHD, thereby leveraging our resources.
Impact Our study will also support strong international partnership in neuroscience and mental health research. We have brought together unique resources and scientific leaders in neuroimaging, genetics and developmental psychopathology to form a multi-disciplinary team, which is excellently positioned to deliver the research necessary to understand the underlying mechanisms and heterogeneity of EDs and inform future prevention and treatment strategies. The fact that within these largest imaging genetic Consortium worldwide, we are the only UK scientists among a team of leading researchers from some of the most prestigious research institutions across the globe, will benefit the UK economy by insuring that it remains a world-leader in the biosciences, over and above the duration of the project. Young investigators working on the project have and will continue to visit our IMAGEN and c-VEDA recruiting sites in Europe and India to be trained to become highly skilled in a cutting-edge area of neuroscience and mental health research. In addition to the staff hired for this project, the data generated have already provided material for several BSc and MSc students, and we will offer PhD projects during the course of the project King's College London has also a comprehensive range of training courses and career development programs which will equip them to become future leaders in life science and make a direct contribution to UK society, culture and economy.
Start Year 2017
 
Description IMAGEN 
Organisation Technical University of Dresden
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This project builds on IMAGEN, the largest and most comprehensive longitudinal functional and structural neuroimaging genetics study of adolescents and young adults in Europe and combines it with the excellent clinical research infrastructure of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) in mental health. It generates additional synergy and value for money as our recruitment of patients with Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa is matched by funding for similar assessments of patients with Major Depressive Disorder, Alcohol Use Disorder and ADHD. Thus, we will have an opportunity to investigate comorbidity and core psychopathology across eating disorders and these reinforcement-related disorders.
Collaborator Contribution The IMAGEN project spans 8 sites across 4 EU countries; UK, Germany, France and Ireland. It has been initially funded by the European Commission, and has subsequently received funding from various agencies including the European Research Council (ERC), Medical Research Council (MRC), National Institute for Health Research UK (NIHR), Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), German Federal Ministry of Research & Education (BMBF), National Institute for Health Research US (NIHR) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). These grants have allowed recruitment and assessment of the IMAGEN study participants and age-matched controls and patients with diagnoses of Major Depressive Disorder, Alcohol Use Disorder and ADHD, thereby leveraging our resources.
Impact Our study will also support strong international partnership in neuroscience and mental health research. We have brought together unique resources and scientific leaders in neuroimaging, genetics and developmental psychopathology to form a multi-disciplinary team, which is excellently positioned to deliver the research necessary to understand the underlying mechanisms and heterogeneity of EDs and inform future prevention and treatment strategies. The fact that within these largest imaging genetic Consortium worldwide, we are the only UK scientists among a team of leading researchers from some of the most prestigious research institutions across the globe, will benefit the UK economy by insuring that it remains a world-leader in the biosciences, over and above the duration of the project. Young investigators working on the project have and will continue to visit our IMAGEN and c-VEDA recruiting sites in Europe and India to be trained to become highly skilled in a cutting-edge area of neuroscience and mental health research. In addition to the staff hired for this project, the data generated have already provided material for several BSc and MSc students, and we will offer PhD projects during the course of the project King's College London has also a comprehensive range of training courses and career development programs which will equip them to become future leaders in life science and make a direct contribution to UK society, culture and economy.
Start Year 2017
 
Description IMAGEN 
Organisation Trinity College Dublin
Department Institute of Neuroscience
Country Ireland 
Sector Hospitals 
PI Contribution This project builds on IMAGEN, the largest and most comprehensive longitudinal functional and structural neuroimaging genetics study of adolescents and young adults in Europe and combines it with the excellent clinical research infrastructure of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) in mental health. It generates additional synergy and value for money as our recruitment of patients with Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa is matched by funding for similar assessments of patients with Major Depressive Disorder, Alcohol Use Disorder and ADHD. Thus, we will have an opportunity to investigate comorbidity and core psychopathology across eating disorders and these reinforcement-related disorders.
Collaborator Contribution The IMAGEN project spans 8 sites across 4 EU countries; UK, Germany, France and Ireland. It has been initially funded by the European Commission, and has subsequently received funding from various agencies including the European Research Council (ERC), Medical Research Council (MRC), National Institute for Health Research UK (NIHR), Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), German Federal Ministry of Research & Education (BMBF), National Institute for Health Research US (NIHR) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). These grants have allowed recruitment and assessment of the IMAGEN study participants and age-matched controls and patients with diagnoses of Major Depressive Disorder, Alcohol Use Disorder and ADHD, thereby leveraging our resources.
Impact Our study will also support strong international partnership in neuroscience and mental health research. We have brought together unique resources and scientific leaders in neuroimaging, genetics and developmental psychopathology to form a multi-disciplinary team, which is excellently positioned to deliver the research necessary to understand the underlying mechanisms and heterogeneity of EDs and inform future prevention and treatment strategies. The fact that within these largest imaging genetic Consortium worldwide, we are the only UK scientists among a team of leading researchers from some of the most prestigious research institutions across the globe, will benefit the UK economy by insuring that it remains a world-leader in the biosciences, over and above the duration of the project. Young investigators working on the project have and will continue to visit our IMAGEN and c-VEDA recruiting sites in Europe and India to be trained to become highly skilled in a cutting-edge area of neuroscience and mental health research. In addition to the staff hired for this project, the data generated have already provided material for several BSc and MSc students, and we will offer PhD projects during the course of the project King's College London has also a comprehensive range of training courses and career development programs which will equip them to become future leaders in life science and make a direct contribution to UK society, culture and economy.
Start Year 2017
 
Description IMAGEN 
Organisation University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf
Country Germany 
Sector Hospitals 
PI Contribution This project builds on IMAGEN, the largest and most comprehensive longitudinal functional and structural neuroimaging genetics study of adolescents and young adults in Europe and combines it with the excellent clinical research infrastructure of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) in mental health. It generates additional synergy and value for money as our recruitment of patients with Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa is matched by funding for similar assessments of patients with Major Depressive Disorder, Alcohol Use Disorder and ADHD. Thus, we will have an opportunity to investigate comorbidity and core psychopathology across eating disorders and these reinforcement-related disorders.
Collaborator Contribution The IMAGEN project spans 8 sites across 4 EU countries; UK, Germany, France and Ireland. It has been initially funded by the European Commission, and has subsequently received funding from various agencies including the European Research Council (ERC), Medical Research Council (MRC), National Institute for Health Research UK (NIHR), Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), German Federal Ministry of Research & Education (BMBF), National Institute for Health Research US (NIHR) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). These grants have allowed recruitment and assessment of the IMAGEN study participants and age-matched controls and patients with diagnoses of Major Depressive Disorder, Alcohol Use Disorder and ADHD, thereby leveraging our resources.
Impact Our study will also support strong international partnership in neuroscience and mental health research. We have brought together unique resources and scientific leaders in neuroimaging, genetics and developmental psychopathology to form a multi-disciplinary team, which is excellently positioned to deliver the research necessary to understand the underlying mechanisms and heterogeneity of EDs and inform future prevention and treatment strategies. The fact that within these largest imaging genetic Consortium worldwide, we are the only UK scientists among a team of leading researchers from some of the most prestigious research institutions across the globe, will benefit the UK economy by insuring that it remains a world-leader in the biosciences, over and above the duration of the project. Young investigators working on the project have and will continue to visit our IMAGEN and c-VEDA recruiting sites in Europe and India to be trained to become highly skilled in a cutting-edge area of neuroscience and mental health research. In addition to the staff hired for this project, the data generated have already provided material for several BSc and MSc students, and we will offer PhD projects during the course of the project King's College London has also a comprehensive range of training courses and career development programs which will equip them to become future leaders in life science and make a direct contribution to UK society, culture and economy.
Start Year 2017
 
Description IMAGEN 
Organisation University of Paris - Descartes
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This project builds on IMAGEN, the largest and most comprehensive longitudinal functional and structural neuroimaging genetics study of adolescents and young adults in Europe and combines it with the excellent clinical research infrastructure of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) in mental health. It generates additional synergy and value for money as our recruitment of patients with Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa is matched by funding for similar assessments of patients with Major Depressive Disorder, Alcohol Use Disorder and ADHD. Thus, we will have an opportunity to investigate comorbidity and core psychopathology across eating disorders and these reinforcement-related disorders.
Collaborator Contribution The IMAGEN project spans 8 sites across 4 EU countries; UK, Germany, France and Ireland. It has been initially funded by the European Commission, and has subsequently received funding from various agencies including the European Research Council (ERC), Medical Research Council (MRC), National Institute for Health Research UK (NIHR), Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), German Federal Ministry of Research & Education (BMBF), National Institute for Health Research US (NIHR) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). These grants have allowed recruitment and assessment of the IMAGEN study participants and age-matched controls and patients with diagnoses of Major Depressive Disorder, Alcohol Use Disorder and ADHD, thereby leveraging our resources.
Impact Our study will also support strong international partnership in neuroscience and mental health research. We have brought together unique resources and scientific leaders in neuroimaging, genetics and developmental psychopathology to form a multi-disciplinary team, which is excellently positioned to deliver the research necessary to understand the underlying mechanisms and heterogeneity of EDs and inform future prevention and treatment strategies. The fact that within these largest imaging genetic Consortium worldwide, we are the only UK scientists among a team of leading researchers from some of the most prestigious research institutions across the globe, will benefit the UK economy by insuring that it remains a world-leader in the biosciences, over and above the duration of the project. Young investigators working on the project have and will continue to visit our IMAGEN and c-VEDA recruiting sites in Europe and India to be trained to become highly skilled in a cutting-edge area of neuroscience and mental health research. In addition to the staff hired for this project, the data generated have already provided material for several BSc and MSc students, and we will offer PhD projects during the course of the project King's College London has also a comprehensive range of training courses and career development programs which will equip them to become future leaders in life science and make a direct contribution to UK society, culture and economy.
Start Year 2017
 
Description environMENTAL 
Organisation Charite Campus Virchow-Klinikum
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am member of the international environMENTAL consortium, a new an ambitious project funded by the European Commission aiming at reducing the impact on citizens and patients of major environmental challenges that change society in Europe and globally, including urbanicity, climate/pollution and psychosocial stress following the COVID-19 pandemic, With expertise in genetics and biological psychiatry, I lead aspects of the project specifically related to the identification and characterisation of molecular and neurobiological processes underlying mental illness related to these environmental changes. I also provide access to data collected in the ESTRA, STRATIFY and IMAGEN projects to study collaborators.
Collaborator Contribution This project also brings together an interdisciplinary team of experts from 22 partner or associated institutions around the world, uniquely qualified to deliver our research. This also provides access to data that will enable us to leverage and federate the largest European population cohorts of over 1.5M individuals, as well as clinical and global cohorts.
Impact - Funding (EUROS 10 millions) from the Horizon Europe Work Programme 2021-2022: "HORIZON-HLTH-2021-STAYHLTH-01-02: Towards a molecular and neurobiological understanding of mental health and mental illness for the benefit of citizens and patients" - Multidisciplinary collaboration involving neuroscientists, psychiatrists, geo-scientist, climatologists, psychologists, epidemiologists, anthropologists, sociologists, computer scientists, experts in digital interventions as well as non-academic stakeholders.
Start Year 2021
 
Description Consortium on Vulnerability to Externalising Disorders and Addiction- study methods and application 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The methods and research goals of this study were presented to Indian and Chinese colleagues involved in similar research studies focusing on precision medicine using adolescent cohorts.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://cveda.org
 
Description Eating Disorders Awareness Week 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Impact on society: To assist in raising awareness and reducing stigma for patients with eating disorders we have engaged in dissemination activities as part of the Eating Disorders Awareness Week. A Questions & Answer based interview highlighting the significance of our work was published on the Medical Research Foundation's website and on social media, which was liked and retweeted in beyond the UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.medicalresearchfoundation.org.uk/news-and-events
 
Description Engagement of ED sufferers as research students 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact We will assist in reducing stigma for patients with eating disorders through close ties and dissemination activities together with the related (First Episode Rapid Early Intervention in Eating Disorders) project led by co-applicant Prof Ulrike Schmidt. As part of teaching activities, we have given an overview of our project to about 120 students on several masters programmes at King's College London. Following this, several students who had personally experienced eating disorders registered their very strong interest in working with us for their research project. We have started several projects taking their perspective into account and expect the first research outputs in the form of publications in 2019. We will ask these students to advise on recruitment of eating disorder patients to the study, development of user-friendly patient information and participate/advise on study dissemination to patients and carers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description NIHR-BRC OBELIX Theme workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The OBELIX Theme day held on Wednesday 20th June 2018 was an opportunity for principal investigators, early career researchers and PhD students working on the theme of eating disorders and obesity to showcase their work and establish novel collaborations with neuroscientists, nutritionists and clinical researchers with experience of developing novel interventions. This generated new ideas for collaborations that we are now developing.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
 
Description North East London NHS Foundation Trust 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The project was presented to clinicians and key stakeholders to include this site as a PIC (Participant Identification Centre) for recruitment and finding collaborators on the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Vincent Square Eating Disorders outpatient clinic 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The project was presented to clinicians with the aim of boosting recruitment.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018