The BRAINnet Database

Brain Resource International Database

Brain Resource Ltd. has made the processed data from the Brain Resource International Database available to BRAINnet for independent and transparent scientific use, freely and without constraint on publication.  BRAINnet’s coordination of access to the processed data is entirely independent from the service operations of Brain Resource Ltd.

The Brain Resource International Database is the largest available library of  human brain health information acquired using standardized measures, so that multiple sources of data are available on the same individuals.

As of June 2009, data from the Brain Resource International Database has been made available to BRAINnet from:

5,000 subjects, with confirmed status as healthy

1,000 subjects with confirmed status as clinical disorder or extreme function:

  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • ADHD
  • First Onset Schizophrenia
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Mild Cognitive Impairment
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Panic Disorder
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Obesity

The following types of data are available for these subjects, acquired using standardized protocols and platforms:

  • Screening Questionnaires
  • General and Emotional Cognition
  • Brain-Body Functions
  • Genetics
  • MRI, fMRI and DTI

Under these protocols, each measure has been implemented under the supervision, sign off and publication of experts in each field.  The quality (including psychometric properties) of the measures have also been established and published.

The Brain Resource International Database builds on landmark neuroinformatics principles. Its key features are inclusion of multiple information sources and standardized methods.

By being provided with access to the Brain Resource International Database, the BRAINnet Foundation would have the following advantages:

i) The capacity to provide members with different types of data in the same individuals – from clinical history to brain function to genomics.  These data are also available for multiple groups, including groups of healthy people and those experiencing a range of brain-related illnesses.  The illnesses include major conditions of mental health, such as depression, anxiety disorders, ADHD, psychoses, dementias, stress and sleep problems.

ii) These different types of data can be integrated straight away because they are available on the same study subjects. The data have been acquired using standardized platforms and protocols to support their integration. These protocols have published scientific quality and have been implemented under the supervision of experts in each field.

iii) There is currently a large volume of data, and it continues to grow. BRAINnet will be able to provide free access to processed data, typically in tabulated numerical form. Access to already processed data supports its ready integration in analyses for publication.

Because Brain Resource International Database uses standardized measures to acquire all information, different types of information from clinical history to genetics can be integrated within the same individuals, across cohorts (normative and clinical) and across sites.

The focus on a standardized, integrative approach was developed to:

  • Address the challenges of neuroscience and brain health research. A Major challenges were highlighted in the article on Databasing the Human Brain in Nature (2000): the proliferation of specialties that do not talk to each other, the difficulties of data collation, and the tradition of data hugging by scientists. The need for large scale science to understand the brain has been highlighted (Insel et al., 2004. Nature Neuroscience).
  • The strategic direction in the integration of neuroscience and psychiatry, reflected in the development of DSM-V and the need to inform clinical diagnosis with brain insights. This direction has been highlighted by NIH Directors (Nature Neuroscience Reviews, 2007) and in the NIH Strategic Plan.

Databasing Site Listing

This BRAINnet database is listed on the major data basing site The Society for Neuroscience Neuroscience database gateway (NDG). Other similar data basing sites include Laboratory of Neuro Imaging UCLA;  Biomedical Informatics Research Work (BIRN).

BRAINnet database Exemplar

An example publication outcome from the processed data made available via BRAINnet is in Molecular Psychiatry:

Interactions between BDNF Val66Met polymorphism and early life stress predict brain and arousal pathways to syndromal depression and anxiety. Gatt JM, Nemeroff CB, Dobson-Stone C, Paul RH, Bryant RA, Schofield PR, Gordon E, Kemp AH, Williams LM. Molecular Psychiatry, 2009.

This publication reports on the integration of:

Screening Questionnaires, General and Emotional cognition, Brain-Body functions, Genetics and MRI

Summary of the outcomes:

Individual risk markers for depression and anxiety disorders have been identified but the explicit pathways that link genes and environment to these markers remain unknown. This study reports on the explicit interactions between the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) Val66Met gene and early life stress (ELS) exposure in brain (amygdala hippocampal prefrontal gray matter volume), body (heart rate), temperament and cognition in 374 healthy European volunteers assessed for depression and anxiety symptoms.