Deakin University
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Protocol for establishing a child and adolescent twin register for mental health research and capacity building in Sri Lanka and other low and middle-income countries in South Asia

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Version 3 2024-06-18, 17:47
Version 2 2024-06-06, 03:35
Version 1 2019-11-20, 13:04
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-18, 17:47 authored by K Jayaweera, Jeffrey CraigJeffrey Craig, HMS Zavos, N Abeysinghe, S De Alwis, A Andras, L Dissanayake, K Dziedzic, B Fernando, N Glozier, A Hewamalage, J Ives, KP Jordan, G Kodituwakku, C Mallen, O Rahman, S Zafar, A Saxena, F Rijsdijk, R Saffery, E Simonoff, R Yusuf, A Sumathipala
IntroductionWorldwide, 10%–20% of children and adolescents experience mental health conditions. However, most such disorders remain undiagnosed until adolescence or adulthood. Little is known about the factors that influence mental health in children and adolescents, especially in low and middle-income countries (LMIC), where environmental threats, such as poverty and war, may affect optimal neurodevelopment. Cohort studies provide important information on risks and resilience across the life course by enabling tracking of the effects of early life environment on health during childhood and beyond. Large birth cohort studies, including twin cohorts that can be aetiologically informative, have been conducted within high-income countries but are not generalisable to LMIC. There are limited longitudinal birth cohort studies in LMIC.MethodsWe sought to enhance the volume of impactful research in Sri Lanka by establishing a Centre of Excellence for cohort studies. The aim is to establish a register of infant, child and adolescent twins, including mothers pregnant with twins, starting in the districts of Colombo (Western Province) and Vavuniya (Northern Province). We will gain consent from twins or parents for future research projects. This register will provide the platform to investigate the aetiology of mental illness and the impact of challenges to early brain development on future mental health. Using this register, we will be able to conduct research that will (1) expand existing research capacity on child and adolescent mental health and twin methods; (2) further consolidate existing partnerships and (3) establish new collaborations. The initiative is underpinned by three pillars: high-quality research, ethics, and patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE).Ethics and disseminationEthical approval for this study was obtained from the Ethics Review Committee of Sri Lanka Medical Association and Keele University’s Ethical Review Panel. In addition to journal publications, a range of PPIE activities have been conducted.



BMJ Open



Article number

ARTN e029332









Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal