Paid volunteers are needed to take part in a study that is being conducted at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London.
The study is called PSYSCAN (psyscan.eu), it is an international study designed to develop a method to predict disease onset in young individuals at high risk of developing psychosis and the disease course and outcome for patients with a first episode of psychosis.
Our results are expected to help doctors and medical researchers understand more about how genes, environments, brain functioning, and thinking skills are involved in the onset of psychosis, in psychotic episodes and outcomes in patients with first psychosis. This study is conducted in 9 European countries, Brazil, Canada, Israel, South Korea, China and Australia. A total of 330 young individuals at high risk of psychosis and 465 patients with psychosis are expected to participate in this study. The study is financially supported by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission.
What is psychosis?
Psychosis is a disorder that makes it difficult to distinguish between what is real and not real, think clearly, manage emotions and relate to other people. Some people with psychosis hear voices, others see things that are not there, some have the feeling of being watched or followed. Also lack of initiative, flat affection, difficulties with concentration and /or memory could be part of psychosis. This disorder may progress in different ways for every affected person. Some people only experience one psychotic episode from which they recover well. Others might have regular relapses or deterioration. Until now we are not yet able to reliably predict for each individual if psychosis will come back after he has experienced his first psychosis. Such a prediction could be very helpful for the doctors to tailor the psychiatric care to the needs of each patient -‐ i.e. to provide personalised care.
What do we expect to learn from this project?
Predicting which individuals at high risk will go on to develop psychosis is not possible on the basis of a clinical assessment as well as it is not possible to predict the course and outcome after the first episode of psychosis. This is in part due to the fact that the research performed until now is based on group-‐level research, which is not directly useful for an individual patient. We expect that we can make predictions for an individual patient when we combine a lot of information from one person: for example, type and level of symptoms, specific blood markers, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, cognitive measurements.
What happens during this study?
This is a naturalistic study, which means that we do not test (new) medication or have other significant interventions. We compare results from individuals at risk of psychosis and patients with a first episode of psychosis with healthy control participants like you. You will be followed-up for two years, through four visits to the study centre in Camberwell. Visit 1 (baseline) consists of collection of personal and medical information, assessment of IQ and psychiatric symptoms and conducting a diagnostic interview. You will also undergo a baseline MRI scan of about an hour we will also collect a blood and hair sampled. You will also be provided with some saliva collection tubes so that you can collect some saliva samples for us whilst you are at home. Visits 2, 3 and 4 are 6 months, 12 months and 2 years after baseline, respectively. During these visits, psychiatric and psychosocial function will be examined, as well as additional measures of health and social functioning, drug use, and thinking skills. Visit 2, 3 and 4 also entail a follow-‐up MRI scan and drawing blood. As each visit includes quite a lot of assessments, the assessments of each visit can be completed in multiple days.
Is participation voluntary?
Participation in this study is entirely voluntary. You are free to decide whether or not to participate. If you decide to participate, you are free to withdraw from the study at any time and for whatever reason. If you decide to participate in the study you will be reimbursed for your time.
Who can participate?
There are some criteria that you need to meet before you can participate. Some of these criteria are listed below. If you are interested, all criteria need to be discussed with the study team.
You need to:
∞ be aged between 16 and 40 years
∞ be willing and allowed to undergo an MRI scan
∞ be willing to have blood drawn
You cannot participate if you have a history of:
∞ any psychiatric disorder
∞ neurological disorder
∞ head injury resulting in unconsciousness lasting at least 1 hour
Are there benefits for participants?
There are no direct benefits for participating in the study. The associated risks are deemed negligible. By participating in this study, you contribute to the development of medical knowledge of which patients with psychosis could benefit in the future.
Can I get additional information?
If you are interested in participating in this study, please contact the study researchers; George, Natalia and Kate, DIRECTLY for further study information, at:
Telephone: 020 7848 0534