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Cardiovascular diseases (CVD), their risk factors (CVRF) and mental disorders are common and co-occur more frequently than would be expected by chance. However the mechanisms underlying their association still need to be elucidated. Several non-mutually exclusive hypotheses have been suggested to explain this association:

  • Mental disorders could increase vulnerability to CVD through damaging health behavior including smoking, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle or the side effects of psychotropic drugs
  • CVD or its treatment could promote the development of mental disorders
  • Mental disorders and CVD/CVRF could share pathogenetic mechanisms, such as metabolic processes or genes.

Thus, in 2004 the follow-up of the entire CoLaus population was initiated in order to prospectively assess the associations between CVD, CVRF and mental disorders: the CoLaus|PsyCoLaus study was born. The PsyCoLaus study is based on the large epidemiological sample of the CoLaus survey, which assessed CVD risk factors and the genetic variants associated with these conditions in the general population of the City of Lausanne. 

The PsyCoLaus investigation should allow us to address three main questions:

  • Do mental disorders increase vulnerability to CVRF and CVD?
  • Do CVRF and CVD or their drug treatment promote the development of mental disorders?
  • Do CVRF/CVD and mental disorders share common pathogenetic processes?

More than 5000 persons aged 35-75 years at baseline have participated in PsyCoLaus at least once.

A detailed description of the participant selection, inclusion criteria and methods used can be found in the following manuscript:

Preisig M, Waeber G, Vollenweider P, Bovet P, Rothen S, Vandeleur C, Guex P, Middleton L, Waterworth D, Mooser V, et al. The PsyCoLaus study: methodology and characteristics of the sample of a population-based survey on psychiatric disorders and their association with genetic and cardiovascular risk factors. BMC Psychiatry. 2009; 9:9. PMID: 19292899; PMCID: PMC2667506; DOI: 10.1186/1471-244X-9-9.

What data have been collected?


Diagnostic information has been collected using the Diagnostic Interview for Genetic Studies (DIGS), with several modifications that were incorporated into the French version. The applied semi-structured interview allowed for the establishment of the lifetime and 12-month prevalence of a large array of specific DSM-IV axis-I (threshold) disorders as well as algorithmically-defined subthreshold mood and anxiety syndromes.

  • Headache symptoms have been assessed using the validated French version of the Diagnostic Interview for Headache Syndromes (DIHS)
  • Stressful life events during adulthood have been evaluated using the Amiel Lebigre’s Life Event Questionnaire
  • Family history information has been systematically collected from all participants (if they were 15 years of age or older) using the Family History-Research Diagnostic Criteria (FH-RDC)

Questionnaire data

Additional data collection includes:

Current phase

The third follow-up has now been completed (2018-2021). The data are currently being analyzed.

A forth follow-up started in October 2021.

Study Team

Prof. Martin Preisig

Prof. Martin Preisig

Principal investigator

Christine De Gunten
Executive secretary
Tamara Zmandar-Mermod
Psychologist, Chief psychologist
Dre Caroline Vandeleur
Research psychologist
Dr Giorgio Pistis
Research collaborator
Enrique Castelao
Data manager
Marie-Pierre Strippoli
Data manager
Yasmina Bouflioune Dubois
Pilar Jaton-Lorente
Kessie Roc
Giada Ehrensperger