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BMC Psychiatry. 2014 May 30;14:159. doi: 10.1186/1471-244X-14-159.

Study protocol: The Whitehall II imaging sub-study.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX, UK. klaus.ebmeier@psych.ox.ac.uk.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The Whitehall II (WHII) study of British civil servants provides a unique source of longitudinal data to investigate key factors hypothesized to affect brain health and cognitive ageing. This paper introduces the multi-modal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) protocol and cognitive assessment designed to investigate brain health in a random sample of 800 members of the WHII study.

METHODS/DESIGN:

A total of 6035 civil servants participated in the WHII Phase 11 clinical examination in 2012-2013. A random sample of these participants was included in a sub-study comprising an MRI brain scan, a detailed clinical and cognitive assessment, and collection of blood and buccal mucosal samples for the characterisation of immune function and associated measures. Data collection for this sub-study started in 2012 and will be completed by 2016. The participants, for whom social and health records have been collected since 1985, were between 60-85 years of age at the time the MRI study started. Here, we describe the pre-specified clinical and cognitive assessment protocols, the state-of-the-art MRI sequences and latest pipelines for analyses of this sub-study.

DISCUSSION:

The integration of cutting-edge MRI techniques, clinical and cognitive tests in combination with retrospective data on social, behavioural and biological variables during the preceding 25 years from a well-established longitudinal epidemiological study (WHII cohort) will provide a unique opportunity to examine brain structure and function in relation to age-related diseases and the modifiable and non-modifiable factors affecting resilience against and vulnerability to adverse brain changes.

PMID:
24885374
PMCID:
PMC4048583
DOI:
10.1186/1471-244X-14-159
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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