Persistent antisocial behaviour, aggression and antisocial disorders, particularly Conduct Disorder (CD) and associated callous unemotional (CU) traits have significant clinical and societal impact across the EU.

CD is defined as a repetitive and persistent pattern of behaviour through which the basic rights of others and major age-appropriate societal norms or rules are violated. CD is often associated with other disorders (Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder-ADHD in 50% of cases) and with psycho-social impairment (e.g. learning problems, school drop-out and scholastic underachievement, increased parenting stress, family breakdown, substance misuse, bullying, property destruction, robbery and theft, violent sexual behaviors).

CD and other Disruptive Behaviour Disorders (DBDs) represent a high burden for the patients, their families and society in general. These disorders can have a chronic persistent course far into adulthood with approximately 50% of all cases presenting with antisocial personality disorder or psychopathy as adults with increased risk of criminality (Wicks-Nelson et al., 2003).

Delivering new approaches to diagnosis, prevention and treatment will alleviate substantially the burden for patients, family and society, and also impact on broader issues such as feeling safe in public places and society in general. Furthermore, these strategies in at-risk and DBDs individuals will be a cost-effective way to reduce the public health burden of aggressive and antisocial behavior that is at risk of extension into adulthood with negative risks for the individual with DBDs and society. Current treatments have limited efficacy or only benefit a subsample of the clinical population. Designing new and more effective interventions requires a much better understanding of the neural, genetic, cognitive and biomarker mechanisms involved in paediatric aggression and antisocial behavior.

MATRICS will make a major impact in the identification of biomarkers associated with aggression and antisocial behaviour in DBDs with and without CU traits. It will also address aggression as cross-disorder problem by addressing CD comorbidity with ADHD in paediatric populations. Identification of biomarkers in DBDs and population cohorts will allow for early intervention in at risk groups and may assist for diagnostic, prognostic and treatment outcome use. We will disseminate the results of MATRICS to patient organizations, clinical professionals and industrial end-users for improvement in the clinical management of DBDs.

Evidently, there is no one-dimensional one-strike solution to the complex problem of aggression and DBDs. MATRICS, if accomplished, will have the following concrete impact:

  • Development more effective medication
  • Development of specific preventive interventions
  • Identification of neural, cognitive, genetic and biomarkers predicting antisocial behaviour and aggression in order to facilitate early intervention in at risk groups
  • Development of clinically feasible Risk Assessment Charts to be used in routine clinical practice in order for clinicians to be able to prioritize and identify youngsters with increased risks and in need of early interventions
  • Lowering the burden for patients, families and society

Your participation in the MATRICS project will help us to reach these aims.

By participating in the MATRICS study you will have the opportunity to meet clinicians and researchers from our academic expert teams. Their goal is to optimize treatments and give a better quality of life for children and adolescents with this disorder. As a participant, you will be informed about the MATRICS study progress and will have access to updated research and therapeutic issues.

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