What’s Involved?

The process of follow-up three happens in a series of steps outlined below:

Step 1: Information and Consent

You will be sent an information pack containing details of follow-up three. This includes information on what the study is measuring and what your participation will involve.

Along with the information about follow-up three, the pack also contains consent forms for you to sign.

There are three parts:

  1. A General Consent Form which requires you to sign your name, consenting to your participation in the follow-up
  2. An MRI Contraindication Form that asks you questions about your health
  3. An Operations Form to be filled in about any past operations you have ever had; this and the MRI Contraindication Form are important as they mean we can check it is safe to book you an appointment to have your brain scanned

When you have signed the forms please send them back to us using the self-addressed envelope included in your pack. Once we have received your written consent we will contact you with information about the next step!

Step 2: Home Assessment

When your consent forms are processed we will send you information on your home assessment:

  • You will be sent an email with links to a program called Psytools, that can be accessed on a computer, tablet, or mobile phone. Included in the email is a link to a website where you will be asked to complete another questionnaire called DAWBA.
  • The programme asks you to complete several questionnaires about your personality and thinking style.
  • There are also some reaction time tasks – these can be a lot of fun but also quite challenging!
  • In addition there are a set of optional questionnaires on Psytools that you can fill out for additional compensation.
  • These tasks can be completed in your own time and you are able to go back to any of the sections at any point.
Step 3: The Institute Assessment

Once you have completed your home assessment, you will be contacted by staff to book an appointment for you to visit your local IMAGEN Institute:

  • At the research Institute you will complete a series of computerised tasks and have a short interview.
  • You will have a brain scan in the MRI scanner where you will be asked to complete different tasks, just like those you completed when you were 14 & 19.

We will ask you to provide a small blood sample (approximately 30 ml or 6 teaspoons).

Blood sampling

Why do you want my blood?

Although your genes do not change, the expression of your genes and other genetic markers change over time according to factors like your environment. In order to examine these changes we need to analyse blood samples at different stages of the study.

  • The sample will be sent to the laboratory, where DNA (the material containing your genes) and the proteins made by the DNA will be extracted.
  • Your genetic results and the results of other study participants will then be analysed together as a big group with the results from the psychological tests and the brain imaging data.

This will allow us to determine whether specific genes, either alone or in combination with environmental factors, are associated with specific behavioral and brain imaging results.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

What is MRI?

MRI uses magnetic fields to produce pictures of your brain and of the activities in your brain. This does not hurt, nor does it involve radiation and it is not dangerous. As MRI can interfere with magnetic body implants, anyone that reports having such implants will not be allowed to have an MRI scan. Examples include pacemakers, dental bridges and any irremovable piercings. The consent forms you will be sent include a form that asks you about these details and a radiographer will discuss this with you when you are at the institute to ensure that you may enter the scanner safely. Currently, the effects of MR scanners on unborn children is unknown so in order to eliminate any potential risk if you are, or might be, pregnant, you will not have an MRI scan.


Some persons undergoing an MRI may feel confined, closed-in, or frightened. We make sure that you have contact with the person conducting the examination, so that you can be removed from the scanner quickly if you wish.

Who will look at the images and what if the scan shows something unexpected?

Your brain images will be looked at by a medical doctor, a neuroradiologist, based in London.  In the event that the neuroradiologist feels there is something unusual about your scans, they will report their findings and send a letter to your GP. This is why it is very important you provide us details of your GP when you come to visit us. The study team will not be informed if this procedure happens as the process is confidential.

For any additional queries about the study click on Contact us to get in touch with our staff.