The IMAGEN study: Reinforcement-related behaviour in normal brain function and psychopathology

King's College London, MRC Social, Genetic, and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK.
Molecular Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 14.5). 12/2010; 15(12):1128-39. DOI: 10.1038/mp.2010.4
Source: PubMed


A fundamental function of the brain is to evaluate the emotional and motivational significance of stimuli and to adapt behaviour accordingly. The IMAGEN study is the first multicentre genetic-neuroimaging study aimed at identifying the genetic and neurobiological basis of individual variability in impulsivity, reinforcer sensitivity and emotional reactivity, and determining their predictive value for the development of frequent psychiatric disorders. Comprehensive behavioural and neuropsychological characterization, functional and structural neuroimaging and genome-wide association analyses of 2000 14-year-old adolescents are combined with functional genetics in animal and human models. Results will be validated in 1000 adolescents from the Canadian Saguenay Youth Study. The sample will be followed up longitudinally at the age of 16 years to investigate the predictive value of genetics and intermediate phenotypes for the development of frequent psychiatric disorders. This review describes the strategies the IMAGEN consortium used to meet the challenges posed by large-scale multicentre imaging-genomics investigations. We provide detailed methods and Standard Operating Procedures that we hope will be helpful for the design of future studies. These include standardization of the clinical, psychometric and neuroimaging-acquisition protocols, development of a central database for efficient analyses of large multimodal data sets and new analytic approaches to large-scale genetic neuroimaging analyses.

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