Background: Most of our knowledge about the etiology, course, treatment, and outcome of schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders stems from Western countries. Data from populations living in other geographical areas and low- and middle-income countries, with different genomes (ethnicity) and exposomes (e.g., culture and social support, drugs of abuse, religion), will add to our knowledge of this complex disorder.
Methods: The Azeri Acute phase/Recent onset psychosis Survey (ARAS) has been initiated to study the course of the disorder in patients with recent-onset psychosis using validated diagnostic tools and a comprehensive outcome monitoring system, aiming to reveal indicators for understanding the risk and resilience factors and for choosing the best-personalized treatment strategy. All participants will be evaluated for clinical signs and symptoms as well as risk and resilience factors and will be followed up for 1, 3, and 5 years for outcomes in several domains. A hierarchical cluster method will be applied to identify the number of clusters for each outcome. Defined models will be applied to assess the predictive value of cognition on symptomatic and functional outcomes at follow-up.
Discussion: The ARAS cohort will yield significant academic- (research and education) and care-related achievements. ARAS data and experience will have value both in being a useful model for other parts of this region and in an expansion of the currently available knowledge.