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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

Jayaweera, Kaushalya; M Craig, Jeffrey; M S Zavos, Helena; Abeysinghe, Nihal; De Alwis, Sunil; Andras, Alina; Dissanayake, Lasith; Dziedzic, Krysia; Fernando, Buddhika; Glozier, Nick; Hewamalage, Asiri; Ives, Jonathan; Jordan, Kelvin P; Kodituwakku, Godwin; Mallen, Christian; Rahman, Omar; Zafar, Shamsa; Saxena, Alka; Rijsdijk, Fruhling; Saffery, Richard; Simonoff, Emily; Yusuf, Rita; Sumathipala, Athula

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 Thumbnail


Authors

Kaushalya Jayaweera

Jeffrey M Craig

Helena M S Zavos

Nihal Abeysinghe

Sunil De Alwis

Alina Andras

Lasith Dissanayake

Buddhika Fernando

Nick Glozier

Asiri Hewamalage

Jonathan Ives

Godwin Kodituwakku

Omar Rahman

Shamsa Zafar

Alka Saxena

Fruhling Rijsdijk

Richard Saffery

Emily Simonoff

Rita Yusuf

Athula Sumathipala



Contributors

Aasim Ahmad
Research Group

Achala Jayathilake
Research Group

Ajith Nagahawatte
Research Group

Anant Bhan
Research Group

Chandima Wickramatilake
Research Group

Gominda Ponnamperuma
Research Group

Lavan Selvarathnam
Research Group

Preethi Udagama
Research Group

Sorcha Uí Chonnachtaigh
Research Group

Steven Blackburn
Research Group

Sudath Samaraweera
Research Group

Thamasi Makuloluwa
Research Group

Yatan Balhara
Research Group

Ruwini Cooray
Research Group

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Worldwide, 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.

METHODS: We 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 DISSEMINATION: Ethical 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.

We would like to acknowledge the other members of the SEARCH Group.

Citation

Jayaweera, K., M Craig, J., M S Zavos, H., Abeysinghe, N., De Alwis, S., Andras, A., …Sumathipala, A. (2019). 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. BMJ Open, 9(10), Article e029332. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-029332

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 5, 2019
Publication Date Oct 16, 2019
Publicly Available Date May 26, 2023
Journal BMJ Open
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 10
Article Number e029332
DOI https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-029332
Keywords Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC), South Asia, Sri Lanka, cohort, infant child and adolescents, mental health, twins
Publisher URL http://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-029332

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