The AURORA Study: a longitudinal, multimodal library of brain biology and function after traumatic stress exposure.
McLean SA, Ressler K, Koenen KC, Neylan T, Germine L, Jovanovic T, Clifford GD, Zeng D, An X, Linnstaedt S, Beaudoin F, House S, Bollen KA, Musey P, Hendry P, Jones CW, Lewandowski C, Swor R, Datner E, Mohiuddin K, Stevens JS, Storrow A, Kurz MC, McGrath ME, Fermann GJ, Hudak LA, Gentile N, Chang AM, Peak DA, Pascual JL, Seamon MJ, Sergot P, Peacock WF, Diercks D, Sanchez LD, Rathlev N, Domeier R, Haran JP, Pearson C, Murty VP, Insel TR, Dagum P, Onnela JP, Bruce SE, Gaynes BN, Joormann J, Miller MW, Pietrzak RH, Buysse DJ, Pizzagalli DA, Rauch SL, Harte SE, Young LJ, Barch DM, Lebois LAM, van Rooij SJH, Luna B, Smoller JW, Dougherty RF, Pace TWW, Binder E, Sheridan JF, Elliott JM, Basu A, Fromer M, Parlikar T, Zaslavsky AM, and Kessler R. The AURORA Study: a longitudinal, multimodal library of brain biology and function after traumatic stress exposure. Mol Psychiatry 2020; 25(2):283-296.
Adverse posttraumatic neuropsychiatric sequelae (APNS) are common among civilian trauma survivors and military veterans. These APNS, as traditionally classified, include posttraumatic stress, postconcussion syndrome, depression, and regional or widespread pain. Traditional classifications have come to hamper scientific progress because they artificially fragment APNS into siloed, syndromic diagnoses unmoored to discrete components of brain functioning and studied in isolation. These limitations in classification and ontology slow the discovery of pathophysiologic mechanisms, biobehavioral markers, risk prediction tools, and preventive/treatment interventions. Progress in overcoming these limitations has been challenging because such progress would require studies that both evaluate a broad spectrum of posttraumatic sequelae (to overcome fragmentation) and also perform in-depth biobehavioral evaluation (to index sequelae to domains of brain function). This article summarizes the methods of the Advancing Understanding of RecOvery afteR traumA (AURORA) Study. AURORA conducts a large-scale (n = 5000 target sample) in-depth assessment of APNS development using a state-of-the-art battery of self-report, neurocognitive, physiologic, digital phenotyping, psychophysical, neuroimaging, and genomic assessments, beginning in the early aftermath of trauma and continuing for 1 year. The goals of AURORA are to achieve improved phenotypes, prediction tools, and understanding of molecular mechanisms to inform the future development and testing of preventive and treatment interventions.