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Approved research

Association of genetics, biomarkers, and environment with cognitive function and mental health

Principal Investigator: Professor Helgi Schioth
Approved Research ID: 23482
Approval date: November 1st 2016

Lay summary

This project primarily aims to investigate the interactions between genetics and environmental factors in relation to mental health and cognitive decline. We will study genetic variants with known associations to cognitive decline as well perform a genome-wide exploratory approach for novel variants to determine genetic contributions to mental health and its interaction with environmental variations. Furthermore, we would like to examine associations between known and novel biomarkers, and cognitive function to understand the biological pathways underlying susceptibility to impaired cognitive function. The project provides insights in the relative contribution that environmental factors have on cognitive functioning in adult individuals. This could contribute to public health policies to support brain health and cognitive function in later life. Furthermore, novel insights into the molecular biology and the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms underlying these associations will be critical for providing information to health professionals to ease public-health related decisions. Statistical models will be utilized to analyze the associations between genotype and cognitive function and mental health. To examine causal effect of these genes, Mendelian randomization will be applied. Novel genetic variants will be derived from two-thirds of the cohort and validated in the remaining third. Linear models will be used to study the association between environmental factors and cognitive function. Modifying effects of biomarkers on cognitive function will be assessed by incorporating it through generalized linear models. To maximize power, the full cohort will be included in the project.