- (1) Lundbeck Foundation, grid.452548.a
- (2) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU
- (3) Aarhus University Hospital, grid.154185.c, Central Denmark Region
- (4) Center of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience, Aarhus University, Department of Neuroradiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark
- (5) University Hospital of Lausanne, grid.8515.9
Introduction: Offspring of parents with severe mental illness have an increased risk of developing mental illnesses themselves. Familial high risk cohorts give a unique opportunity for studying the development over time, both the illness that the individual is predisposed for and any other diagnoses. These studies can also increase our knowledge of etiology of severe mental illness and provide knowledge about the underlying mechanisms before illness develops. Interventions targeting this group are often proposed due to the potential possibility of prevention, but evidence about timing and content is lacking. Method: A large, representative cohort of 522 7-year old children born to parents with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or controls was established based on Danish registers. A comprehensive baseline assessment including neurocognition, motor functioning, psychopathology, home environment, sociodemographic data, and genetic information was conducted from January 1, 2013 to January 31, 2016. This study is the first follow-up of the cohort, carried out when the children turn 11 years of age. By assessing the cohort at this age, we will evaluate the children twice before puberty. All instruments have been selected with a longitudinal perspective and most of them are identical to those used at inclusion into the study at age 7. A diagnostic interview, motor tests, and a large cognitive battery are conducted along with home visits and information from teachers. This time we examine the children's brains by magnetic resonance scans and electroencephalograms. Measures of physical activity and sleep are captured by a chip placed on the body, while we obtain biological assays by collecting blood samples from the children. Discussion: Findings from the VIA 7 study revealed large variations across domains between children born to parents with schizophrenia, bipolar and controls, respectively. This study will further determine whether the children at familial risk reveal delayed developmental courses, but catch up at age 11, or whether the discrepancies between the groups have grown even larger. We will compare subgroups within each of the familial high risk groups in order to investigate aspects of resilience. Data on brain structure and physical parameters will add a neurobiological dimension to the study.