Family and generations: The Leiden Family Lab
The Leiden Family Lab (LFL) is an inter-faculty research centre that takes the human life cycle and inter-generational approach as its leading principles. The LFL is primarily a methodological infrastructure that allows substantive themes to be investigated by means of multidisciplinary research in which experimental tasks and behavioral observations are combined with neuronendocrinal measurements, brain research, etc. The infrastructure consists of the recruitment of subjects and the setting up and maintenance of efficient research facilities in which the various departments and labs are involved.
The main aim of the Leiden Family Lab is to investigate the interaction between genetic and environmental factors of specific syndromes or problem behaviors.
Within the Leiden Family Lab, two epidemiological designs are combined: a multiplex, multi-generational study design and a case-control family design. Both designs have their origin in genetic epidemiology. A multiplex multi-generational study includes families that have several members who have the disorder under study (multiplex), spread over several generations (multi-generational). Such a design does not include a control family.
Generally speaking, one looks for similarities between the various family members who are all genetically related. In a case-control family design, the first step is to include one person who has the disorder under study (case) combined with one person from another family who does not have that disorder (control). Next, other family members from both the families of the cases and the controls are included in the research.