This project is a collaboration between Amsterdam UMC/VUmc in Amsterdam and Erasmus Medical Center and is embedded within the Generation R study. It is financially supported by NWO-ZonMw (VIDI grant 91717306, OA van den Heuvel).
The Generation R Study is a longitudinal, population-based cohort in which children are followed up from foetal life forward. Generation R aims to identify early environmental and genetic determinants of growth, development and health.
The initial cohort comprised 9778 pregnant women living in Rotterdam. The almost inexhaustible database includes information on early environmental factors, DNA, physical and mental health, cognition, and brain structure/function. The study includes three imaging waves yielding high-resolution structural MRI, diffusion tensor imaging, and resting-state functional MRI at age 7.5, 10 and 14 years of age.
The aim of this project is to study the relationship between brain development and OCD vulnerability in school-aged children from the general population. We use brain imaging to examine how longitudinal patterns of brain development relate to early OCD symptoms. Also, we explore whether exposure to environmental factors in early life contributes to OCD vulnerability or resilience.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common (1-3% of the population) and disabling disorder that often starts in childhood and is usually chronic. Many children display repetitive behaviors seen in OCD as part of normal development. However, it is unknown which children eventually develop clinical OCD and which children do not. Therefore, it is crucial to study the brain prior to disorder onset and identify early predictive biomarkers.
Researchers involved in the project are Odile van den Heuvel (project leader), Chris Vriend, Henning Tiemeier (Harvard / ErasmusMC), Tonya White (ErasmusMC) and Cees Weeland (PhD candidate).