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Author: Andreas Heinz (451)


Aug
2017

Individual differences in impulsivity and early adversity are known to be strong predictors of adolescent antisocial behavior. However, the neurobiological bases of impulsivity and their relation to antisocial behavior and adversity are poorly understood.
Impulsivity was estimated with a temporal discounting task.

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Jul
2016

Behavioral choice can be characterized along two axes. One axis distinguishes reflexive, model-free systems that slowly accumulate values through experience and a model-based system that uses knowledge to reason prospectively. The second axis distinguishes Pavlovian valuation of stimuli from instrumental valuation of actions or stimulus-action pairs.

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Apr
2016

The maintenance of harmful alcohol use can be considered a reiterated decision in favour of alcohol in concrete drinking occasions. These decisions are often made despite an intention to quit or reduce alcohol consumption. We tested if a hyperactive reward system and/or an impaired cognitive control system contribute to such unfavourable decision-making.

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Mar
2016

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and pharmacological treatment with selective serotonin or serotonin-noradrenalin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI/SSNRI) are regarded as efficacious treatments for panic disorder with agoraphobia (PD/AG). However, little is known about treatment-specific effects on symptoms and neurofunctional correlates.
We used a comparative design with PD/AG patients receiving either two types of CBT (therapist-guided (n=29) or non-guided exposure (n=22)) or pharmacological treatment (SSRI/SSNRI; n=28) as well as a wait-list control group (WL; n=15) to investigate differential treatment effects in general aspects of fear and depression (Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale HAM-A and Beck Depression Inventory BDI), disorder-specific symptoms (Mobility Inventory MI, Panic and Agoraphobia Scale subscale panic attacks PAS-panic, Anxiety Sensitivity Index ASI, rating of agoraphobic stimuli) and neurofunctional substrates during symptom provocation (Westphal-Paradigm) using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

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Dec
1969

The glutamic acid decarboxylase 1 (GAD1) gene is a major determinant of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the most abundant inhibitory neurotransmitter modulating local neuronal circuitry. GABAergic dysfunction and expression of GAD1 have been implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia, and in working memory impairment. We examined the influence of the functional GAD1 rs3749034 variant on white matter fractional anisotropy (FA), cortical thickness, and working memory performance in schizophrenia patients and healthy controls (N=197).

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Dec
1969

The incomplete-hippocampal-inversion (IHI), also known as malrotation, is an atypical anatomical pattern of the hippocampus, which has been reported in healthy subjects in different studies. However, extensive characterization of IHI in a large sample has not yet been performed. Furthermore, it is unclear whether IHI are restricted to the medial-temporal lobe or are associated with more extensive anatomical changes.

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Dec
1969

The association between maternal depression and adverse outcomes in children is well established. Similar links have been found for maternal childhood abuse. One proposed pathway of risk transmission is reduced maternal emotional availability.

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Jan
2016

Although there is considerable support for the relationship between impulsivity and alcohol dependence, little is known about the impact of neurocognitive aspects of impulsivity on treatment outcome. The aim of this study was to prospectively investigate the impact of neurocognitive impulsivity at treatment onset on treatment completion.
Forty-three alcohol-dependent patients entering inpatient treatment for alcohol dependence completed neurocognitive measures of impulsivity at the beginning of treatment.

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Apr
2016

The mesolimbic dopamine system, composed primarily of dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area that project to striatal structures, is considered to be the key mediator of reinforcement-related mechanisms in the brain. Prompted by a genome-wide association meta-analysis implicating the Ras-specific guanine nucleotide-releasing factor 2 (RASGRF2) gene in the regulation of alcohol intake in men, we have recently shown that male Rasgrf2(-/-) mice exhibit reduced ethanol intake and preference accompanied by a perturbed mesolimbic dopamine system. We therefore propose that these mice represent a valid model to further elucidate the precise genes and mechanisms regulating mesolimbic dopamine functioning.

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Dec
2015

Behavioral deficits in the Theory of Mind (ToM) have been robustly demonstrated in bipolar disorder. These deficits may represent an intermediate phenotype of the disease. The aim of this study was: (i) to investigate alterations in neural ToM processing in euthymic patients with bipolar disorder, and (ii) to examine whether similar effects are present in unaffected relatives of patients with bipolar disorder suggesting that ToM functional activation may be, in part, due to genetic risk for the disease.

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Dec
1969

The interruption of learning processes by breaks filled with diverse activities is common in everyday life. We investigated the effects of active computer gaming and passive relaxation (rest and music) breaks on working memory performance. Young adults were exposed to breaks involving (i) eyes-open resting, (ii) listening to music and (iii) playing the video game "Angry Birds" before performing the n-back working memory task.

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Jan
2016

Contemporary psychiatry faces major challenges. Its syndrome-based disease classification is not based on mechanisms and does not guide treatment, which largely depends on trial and error. The development of therapies is hindered by ignorance of potential beneficiary patient subgroups.

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Jan
2016

This is the second of two companion papers proposing priority problems for research on mental disorders. Whereas the first paper focuses on questions of nosology and diagnosis, this Personal View concerns pathogenesis and aetiology of psychiatric diseases. We hope that this (non-exhaustive and subjective) list of problems, nominated by scientists and clinicians from different fields and institutions, provides guidance and perspectives for choosing future directions in psychiatric science.

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Dec
2015

Abnormal reward processing is suggested to underlie the formation of psychotic symptoms, likely driven by elevated ventral striatal (VS) dopamine levels. Functional magnetic resonance imaging studies reveal alterations of VS activity during reward processing in patients with chronic psychosis and first episode of psychosis, as well as individuals at high risk for psychosis, but findings are inconclusive, conflicting, and difficult to subject to meta-analysis without introducing bias because several studies reported that findings were not statistically significant but did not report statistics.
To assess the differences between patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders and healthy controls in VS activation during reward processing.

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Oct
2015

Effective and Neurobiologically Sound.

Dtsch Arztebl Int 2015 Oct;112(41):681-2
Andreas Heinz, Tomislav Majić

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Jan
2016

The processing of emotional faces is an important prerequisite for adequate social interactions in daily life, and might thus specifically be altered in adolescence, a period marked by significant changes in social emotional processing. Previous research has shown that the cannabinoid receptor CB1R is associated with longer gaze duration and increased brain responses in the striatum to happy faces in adults, yet, for adolescents, it is not clear whether an association between CBR1 and face processing exists. In the present study we investigated genetic effects of the two CB1R polymorphisms, rs1049353 and rs806377, on the processing of emotional faces in healthy adolescents.

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Nov
2015

The aim of the present longitudinal study was the psychometric evaluation of the Substance Use Risk Profile Scale (SURPS).
We analyzed data from N = 2,022 adolescents aged 13 to 15 at baseline assessment and 2 years later (mean interval 2.11 years).

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Nov
2015

The interruption of learning processes by breaks filled with diverse activities is common in everyday life. This study investigated the effects of active computer gaming and passive relaxation (rest and music) breaks on auditory versus visual memory performance. Young adults were exposed to breaks involving (a) open eyes resting, (b) listening to music, and (c) playing a video game, immediately after memorizing auditory versus visual stimuli.

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Nov
2015

In alcohol dependence, individual prediction of treatment outcome based on neuroimaging endophenotypes can help to tailor individual therapeutic offers to patients depending on their relapse risk. We built a prediction model for prospective relapse of alcohol-dependent patients that combines structural and functional brain images derived from an experiment in which 46 subjects were exposed to alcohol-related cues. The patient group had been subdivided post hoc regarding relapse behavior defined as a consumption of more than 60 g alcohol for male or more than 40 g alcohol for female patients on one occasion during the 3-month assessment period (16 abstainers and 30 relapsers).

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Sep
2015

Gaze direction and especially direct gaze is a powerful nonverbal cue that plays an important role in social interactions. Here we studied the neural mechanisms underlying the privileged access of direct gaze to visual awareness. We performed functional magnetic resonance imaging in healthy human volunteers who were exposed to faces with direct or averted gaze under continuous flash suppression, thereby manipulating their awareness of the faces.

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Oct
2015

Neuroimaging findings have been reported in regions of the brain associated with emotion in both adults and adolescents with depression, but few studies have investigated whether such brain alterations can be detected in adolescents with subthreshold depression, a condition at risk for major depressive disorder. In this study, we searched for differences in brain structure at age 14 years in adolescents with subthreshold depression and their relation to depression at age 16 years.
High-resolution structural magnetic resonance imaging was used to assess adolescents with self-reported subthreshold depression (n = 119) and healthy control adolescents (n = 461), all recruited from a community-based sample.

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Dec
2015

Cannabis use in adolescence may be characterized by differences in the neural basis of affective processing. In this study, we used an fMRI affective face processing task to compare a large group (n=70) of 14-year olds with a history of cannabis use to a group (n=70) of never-using controls matched on numerous characteristics including IQ, SES, alcohol and cigarette use. The task contained short movies displaying angry and neutral faces.

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Feb
2016

As evidenced by a multitude of studies, abnormalities in Theory of Mind (ToM) and its neural processing might constitute an intermediate phenotype of schizophrenia. If so, neural alterations during ToM should be observable in unaffected relatives of patients as well, since they share a considerable amount of genetic risk. While behaviorally, impaired ToM function is confirmed meta-analytically in relatives, evidence on aberrant function of the neural ToM network is sparse and inconclusive.

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Sep
2015

The brain is an inherently dynamic system, and executive cognition requires dynamically reconfiguring, highly evolving networks of brain regions that interact in complex and transient communication patterns. However, a precise characterization of these reconfiguration processes during cognitive function in humans remains elusive. Here, we use a series of techniques developed in the field of "dynamic network neuroscience" to investigate the dynamics of functional brain networks in 344 healthy subjects during a working-memory challenge (the "n-back" task).

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Oct
2015

Cannabis use during adolescence is known to increase the risk for schizophrenia in men. Sex differences in the dynamics of brain maturation during adolescence may be of particular importance with regard to vulnerability of the male brain to cannabis exposure.
To evaluate whether the association between cannabis use and cortical maturation in adolescents is moderated by a polygenic risk score for schizophrenia.

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Nov
2015

The aim of the current study was to determine genotype effects of four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the genes of the N-Methyl-d-aspartate receptor (GRIN1, GRIN2A, GRIN2C) and kainate receptor (GRIK1), which have been previously associated with alcoholism, on behavior, neural cue-reactivity and drinking outcome. Eighty-six abstinent alcohol dependent patients were recruited from an in-patient setting. Neuropsychological tests, genotyping and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) were used to study genotype effects.

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Nov
2015

Discrimination is linked to various health problems, including mental disorders like depression and also has a negative effect on the access to mental health care services. Little is known about factors mitigating the association between ethnic discrimination and mental distress.
The present study examined the extent of the relationship between perceived ethnic discrimination and psychological distress among women of Turkish origin residing in Berlin, and explored whether this association is moderated by acculturation strategies while controlling for known predictors of distress in migrant populations.

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Jan
2016

A dysfunctional differentiation between self-relevant and irrelevant information may affect the perception of environmental stimuli as abnormally salient. The aberrant salience hypothesis assumes that positive symptoms arise from an attribution of salience to irrelevant stimuli accompanied by the feeling of self-relevance. Self-referential processing relies on the activation of cortical midline structures which was demonstrated to be impaired in psychosis.

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Jul
2015

The striatum is known to play a key role in reinforcement learning, specifically in the encoding of teaching signals such as reward prediction errors (RPEs). It has been proposed that aberrant salience attribution is associated with impaired coding of RPE and heightened dopamine turnover in the striatum, and might be linked to the development of psychotic symptoms. However, the relationship of aberrant salience attribution, RPE coding, and dopamine synthesis capacity has not been directly investigated.

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Oct
2015

The application of global signal regression (GSR) to resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data and its usefulness is a widely discussed topic. In this article, we report an observation of segregated distribution of amygdala resting-state functional connectivity (rs-FC) within the fusiform gyrus (FFG) as an effect of GSR in a multi-center-sample of 276 healthy subjects. Specifically, we observed that amygdala rs-FC was distributed within the FFG as distinct anterior versus posterior clusters delineated by positive versus negative rs-FC polarity when GSR was performed.

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Jul
2015

Alcohol abuse is highly prevalent, but little is understood about the molecular causes. Here, we report that Ras suppressor 1 (Rsu1) affects ethanol consumption in flies and humans. Drosophila lacking Rsu1 show reduced sensitivity to ethanol-induced sedation.

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Jul
2015

Theoretical and animal work has proposed that prefrontal cortex (PFC) glutamate inhibits dopaminergic inputs to the ventral striatum (VS) indirectly, whereas direct VS glutamatergic afferents have been suggested to enhance dopaminergic inputs to the VS. In the present study, we aimed to investigate relationships of glutamate and dopamine measures in prefrontostriatal circuitries of healthy humans. We hypothesized that PFC and VS glutamate, as well as their balance, are differently associated with VS dopamine.

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Dec
2015

The authors examined whether alterations in the brain's reward network operate as a mechanism across the spectrum of risk for depression. They then tested whether these alterations are specific to anhedonia as compared with low mood and whether they are predictive of depressive outcomes.
Functional MRI was used to collect blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) responses to anticipation of reward in the monetary incentive task in 1,576 adolescents in a community-based sample.

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Jan
2016

The aim of this study was to identify if psychological distress may contribute to treatment outcome in alcohol-addicted patients during a follow-up period of 5 months after detoxification.
As part of a prospective, multicenter, randomized study in relapse prevention, patients' levels of psychological distress were assessed using the Symptome Checklist (SCL-90-R). At study inclusion, all patients were detoxified and showed no more withdrawal symptoms.

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Jun
2015

During rest, brain activity is synchronized between different regions widely distributed throughout the brain, forming functional networks. However, the molecular mechanisms supporting functional connectivity remain undefined. We show that functional brain networks defined with resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging can be recapitulated by using measures of correlated gene expression in a post mortem brain tissue data set.

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Aug
2015

Previous randomized, placebo-controlled trials (RCTs) assessing the efficacy of the selective γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-B receptor agonist baclofen in the treatment of alcohol dependence have reported divergent results, possibly related to the low to medium dosages of baclofen used in these studies (30-80mg/d). Based on preclinical observations of a dose-dependent effect and positive case reports in alcohol-dependent patients, the present RCT aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of individually titrated high-dose baclofen for the treatment of alcohol dependence. Out of 93 alcohol-dependent patients initially screened, 56 were randomly assigned to a double-blind treatment with individually titrated baclofen or placebo using dosages of 30-270mg/d.

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Dec
1969

To investigate the role of personality factors and attentional biases towards emotional faces, in establishing concurrent and prospective risk for mental disorder diagnosis in adolescence.
Data were obtained as part of the IMAGEN study, conducted across 8 European sites, with a community sample of 2257 adolescents. At 14 years, participants completed an emotional variant of the dot-probe task, as well two personality measures, namely the Substance Use Risk Profile Scale and the revised NEO Personality Inventory.

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Sep
2015

The need for intercultural opening of supply facilities for improving access and treatment of people with migration background is acknowledged in Germany. The purpose of the survey was to determine the current state of intercultural opening of psychosocial services in one Berlin district. 127 representatives of institutions were interviewed using a semi-structured assessment tool.

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Dec
2015

The main purpose of the present study was to analyse the internal structure and to test the measurement invariance of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), self-reported version, in five European countries. The sample consisted of 3012 adolescents aged between 12 and 17 years (M = 14.20; SD = 0.

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Aug
2015

The perception of control over the environment constitutes a fundamental biological adaptive mechanism, especially during development. Previous studies comparing an active choice condition with a passive no-choice condition showed that the neural basis of this mechanism is associated with increased activity within the striatum and the prefrontal cortex. In the current study, we aimed to investigate whether subjective belief of control in an uncertain gambling situation induces elevated activation in a cortico-striatal network.

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Jun
2015

The genetic component of alcohol use disorder is substantial, but monozygotic twin discordance indicates a role for nonheritable differences that could be mediated by epigenetics. Despite growing evidence associating epigenetics and psychiatric disorders, it is unclear how epigenetics, particularly DNA methylation, relate to brain function and behavior, including drinking behavior.
The authors carried out a genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation of 18 monozygotic twin pairs discordant for alcohol use disorder and validated differentially methylated regions.

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Aug
2015

The endogenous opioid system is involved in the pathophysiology of alcohol-use disorders. Genetic variants of the opioid system alter neural and behavioral responses to alcohol. In particular, a single nucleotide polymorphism rs1799971 (A118G) in the mu-opioid receptor gene (OPRM1) is suggested to modulate alcohol-related phenotypes and neural response in the mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic system.

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May
2016

Adolescence is a common time for initiation of alcohol use and alcohol use disorders. Importantly, the neuro-anatomical foundation for later alcohol-related problems may already manifest pre-natally, particularly due to smoking and alcohol consumption during pregnancy. In this context, cortical gyrification is an interesting marker of neuronal development but has not been investigated as a risk factor for adolescent alcohol use.

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Dec
1969

Little is known about changes in the modulation of the startle reflex when patients go through an alcohol-dependence treatment in an outpatient facility. In the current study, the affective modulation of the cue-related startle reflex has been used to evaluate changes in the emotional processing of alcohol-related stimuli that occurred after a standard cognitive-behavioral intervention, and to assess the outcome of this intervention. We hypothesized a 'normalization' of the startle inhibition for the alcohol-related cues during the period of treatment.

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Jun
2015

In the present study, we explored possible alterations in the default mode network (DMN) and its functional connectivity in 41 schizophrenia patients and 42 age-matched healthy controls. Schizophrenia patients displayed reduced activation in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, left superior temporal gyrus including auditory cortex and temporal pole. Psychophysiological interaction analysis revealed reduced connectivity between left superior temporal gyrus including auditory cortex and the left temporal pole in schizophrenia patients compared to healthy subjects.

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Feb
2015

Contemporary psychiatry is becoming more biologically oriented in the attempt to elicit a biological rationale of mental diseases. Although mental disorders comprise mostly functional abnormalities, there is a substantial overlap between neurology and psychiatry in addressing cognitive disturbances. In schizophrenia, the presence of cognitive impairment prior to the onset of psychosis and early after its manifestation suggests that some neurocognitive abnormalities precede the onset of psychosis and may represent a trait marker.

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May
2016

In detoxified alcohol-dependent patients, alcohol-related stimuli can promote relapse. However, to date, the mechanisms by which contextual stimuli promote relapse have not been elucidated in detail. One hypothesis is that such contextual stimuli directly stimulate the motivation to drink via associated brain regions like the ventral striatum and thus promote alcohol seeking, intake and relapse.

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May
2016

In recent years, deep brain stimulation (DBS) has emerged as a promising treatment option for patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Several stimulation targets have successfully been tested in clinical settings, including the subgenual cingulum (Cg25) and the medial forebrain bundle (MFB). MFB-DBS has led to remarkable results, surpassing the effect of previous targets in terms of response latency and number of responders.

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