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Author: Rainer Hellweg (99)


Jan
2018

Activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis has been reported to be affected in alcohol use disorder (AUD). It has been suggested that pharmacological relapse prevention in AUD might exert its effects partly by modulation of HPA axis activity. Here, we assessed the effects of high-dose treatment with baclofen on HPA axis activity in alcohol-dependent patients within a 24-week randomized, placebo-controlled trial (BACLAD study).

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Jan
2018

Despite the evidence suggesting physical activity (PA) as a major factor for the prevention of age-related cognitive decline, only a few studies have systematically investigated the impact of leisure PA during the lifespan (LLPA). This study investigates the effects of LLPA on cognitive function (CF) and brain plasticity (BP) in old age.
Participants' (n = 50, 72 ± 5 yrs, 27 females) LLPA energy expenditure and volume was assessed via a validated questionnaire investigating five epochs (14-80 yrs).

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Jan
2018

Lithium augmentation (LA) of antidepressants is a first-line therapy in treatment-resistant depression. Immunomodulatory effects of lithium have been described. The cytokine hypothesis of depression postulates that cytokines play a key role in the pathophysiology of depression.

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Sep
2017

Lithium augmentation of antidepressants is an effective strategy in treatment-resistant depression. The proteohormone ghrelin is thought to be involved in the pathophysiology of depression. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association of treatment response with the course of ghrelin levels during lithium augmentation.

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Feb
2018

Experimental and clinical evidence suggests an association between neuroplasticity, brain-derived neurotrophic factor and sleep. We aimed at testing the hypotheses that brain-derived neurotrophic factor is associated with specific aspects of sleep architecture or sleep stages in patients with sleep disorders. We included 35 patients with primary insomnia, 31 patients with restless legs syndrome, 17 patients with idiopathic hypersomnia, 10 patients with narcolepsy and 37 healthy controls.

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Mar
2017

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) supports neurogenesis, angiogenesis, and promotes the survival of various cell types in the brain and the coronary system. Moreover, BDNF is associated with both coronary heart disease (CHD) and depression. The current study aims to investigate whether serum BDNF levels are associated with the course of depressive symptoms in CHD patients.

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Dec
1969

We present the ToMenovela, a stimulus set that has been developed to provide a set of normatively rated socio-emotional stimuli showing varying amount of characters in emotionally laden interactions for experimental investigations of (i) cognitive and (ii) affective Theory of Mind (ToM), (iii) emotional reactivity, and (iv) complex emotion judgment with respect to Ekman's basic emotions (happiness, anger, disgust, fear, sadness, surprise, Ekman and Friesen, 1975). Stimuli were generated with focus on ecological validity and consist of 190 scenes depicting daily-life situations. Two or more of eight main characters with distinct biographies and personalities are depicted on each scene picture.

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Dec
1969

Clinical studies have suggested beneficial effects of exercise on cognitive function in ageing adults and neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia. Recent work indicates the same for progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), an inflammatory and degenerative disease of the central nervous system (CNS). The biological pathways associated with these effects are however not well understood.

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Sep
2016

Meta-analytical data show lithium augmentation (LA) as an effective treatment strategy in major depression. Weight-gain is a common side effect of LA. The proteohormone leptin is discussed to be involved in the pathophysiology of weight gain induced by psychopharmacological treatment.

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Dec
1969

The neurotrophin brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been suggested to be involved in the development and maintenance of addictive and other psychiatric disorders. Also, interactions of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-ergic compounds and BDNF have been reported. The objective of this study was to investigate serum levels of BDNF over time in alcohol-dependent patients receiving individually titrated high-dose treatment (30-270mg/d) with the GABA-B receptor agonist baclofen or placebo for up to 20 weeks.

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Dec
1969

Brain morphology significantly differs between the sexes. It has been shown before that some of these differences are attributable to the sex-specific hormonal milieu. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is involved in myriads of neuroplastic processes and shows a sexual dimorphism.

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Dec
2015

Demographic changes are increasing the pressure to improve therapeutic strategies against cognitive decline in Alzheimer disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Besides drug treatment, physical activity seems to be a promising intervention target as epidemiological and clinical studies suggest beneficial effects of exercise training on cognition. Using comparable inclusion and exclusion criteria, we analyzed the efficacy of drug therapy (cholinesterase inhibitors, memantine, and Ginkgo biloba) and exercise interventions for improving cognition in AD and MCI populations.

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Aug
2016

Long-term cannabis use may confer cognitive deficits and increased risk of psychosis. However, the relationship between cannabis use and schizophrenia is complex. In particular, little is known about the effects of chronic cannabis use on the attention-related electric brain response in schizophrenia.

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Apr
2016

The interplay between BDNF signaling and the serotonergic system remains incompletely understood. Using a highly sensitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, we studied BDNF concentrations in hippocampus and cortex of two mouse models of altered serotonin signaling: tryptophan hydroxylase (Tph)2-deficient (Tph2 (-/-)) mice lacking brain serotonin and serotonin transporter (SERT)-deficient (SERT(-/-)) mice lacking serotonin re-uptake. Surprisingly, hippocampal BDNF was significantly elevated in Tph2 (-/-) mice, whereas no significant changes were observed in SERT(-/-) mice.

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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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Jun
2015

ECT seizure quality and serum BDNF, revisited.

Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 2015 Jun 5;265(4):359-60. Epub 2015 Feb 5.
Alexander Sartorius, Jan Malte Bumb, Suna Su Aksay, Peter Gass, Rainer Hellweg, Laura Kranaster

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Mar
2015

Alterations in secretion of stress hormones within the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis have repeatedly been found in substance-related addictive disorders. It has been suggested that glucocorticoids might contribute to the development and maintenance of substance use disorders by facilitatory effects on behavioral responses to substances of abuse. The objective of this pilot study was to investigate HPA axis activity in patients with non-substance-related addictive disorders, i.

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Jan
2015

Serum levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are reduced in male-to-female transsexual persons (MtF) compared to male controls. It was hypothesized before that this might reflect either an involvement of BDNF in a biomechanism of transsexualism or to be the result of persistent social stress due to the condition. Here, we demonstrate that 12 month of cross-sex hormone treatment reduces serum BDNF levels in male-to-female transsexual persons independent of anthropometric measures.

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Apr
2015

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a well-established, safe and effective treatment in severest or drug-resistant affective disorders. The potential relation between any peripheral biological marker and the seizure quality as a surrogate for treatment efficacy has not been investigated so far. We prospectively examined serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels in 20 patients with major depression before and after electroconvulsive therapy.

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Oct
2014

Several studies support the assumption that the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays an important role in the pathophysiology of eating disorders. In the present cross-sectional and longitudinal study, we investigated BDNF levels in patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) at different stages of their illness and the association with cognitive functioning. We measured serum BDNF in 72 acutely underweight female AN patients (acAN), 23 female AN patients who successfully recovered from their illness (recAN), and 52 healthy control women (HCW).

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Aug
2014

Since the early 1930s, deep hypothermia (cryoanaesthesia) has been a useful anaesthetic in several types of surgery on neonatal rodents. Especially against the background of modern techniques in systems neuroscience, the method enjoys again increasing popularity. However, little is known about its effects on the subsequent adult behavioural and physiological profile.

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Dec
1969

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a noninvasive, safe and efficacious technique for treating various neuropsychiatric disorders, but its underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. A newly developed H-coil allows the stimulation of deeper brain regions. This study is the first to investigate the effects of deep high-frequency rTMS on brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) serum concentrations in healthy volunteers.

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Dec
1969

We previously analysed clinical and immunological parameters under Trichuris suis ova (TSO) therapy in four patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. The serum Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels of these four patients were assessed before, during and after therapy with TSO and showed significant decrease of BDNF during TSO therapy (p < 0.05).

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Dec
2013

In recent years, lithium has proved an effective augmentation strategy of antidepressants in both acute and treatment-resistant depression. Neuroprotective and procognitive effects of lithium have been evidenced. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been shown to play a key role in the pathophysiology of several neurological and psychiatric disorders.

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Oct
2013

Internet use disorder (IUD) is characterised by excessive internet gaming use and has temporarily been conceptualised as a behavioural addiction. Since brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been hypothesised to be involved in the development and maintenance of addictive disorders, we investigated BDNF expression in IUD. We measured BDNF serum levels in male patients with IUD (n=11) and individually matched healthy controls (n=10).

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Dec
1969

Ultrasound (US) is one of the most important diagnostic tools available for the detection and evaluation of carotid stenosis. The case of a 70-year-old woman with recurrent right-sided amaurosis fugax presented here highlights the way in which tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) and contrast-enhanced US (CEUS) may aid in the diagnosis of carotid plaque vulnerability. Furthermore, the novel inverse fly-through technique was used for the three-dimensional visualization of the carotid stenosis.

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Apr
2013

Individual housing of social species is a common phenomenon in laboratory animal facilities. Single housing, however, is known to inflict social deprivation with a number of detrimental consequences. Aiming to improve housing conditions of single housed rodents, we investigated the simulation of social housing by mirrors in a series of behavioural experiments and biochemical parameters in mice.

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Dec
1969

Detection of feigned neurocognitive deficits is a challenge for neuropsychological assessment. We conducted two studies to examine whether memory malingering is characterized by an elevated proportion of false negatives during yes/no recognition testing and whether this could be a useful measure for assessment.
Study 1 examined 51 participants claiming compensation due to mental disorders, 51 patients with affective disorders not claiming compensation and 13 patients with established dementia.

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Apr
2013

Painful diabetic neuropathy is poorly controlled by analgesics and requires high doses of opioids, triggering side effects and reducing patient quality of life. This study investigated whether enhanced Rab7-mediated lysosomal targeting of peripheral sensory neuron μ-opioid receptors (MORs) is responsible for diminished opioid responsiveness in rats with streptozotocin-induced diabetes. In diabetic animals, significantly impaired peripheral opioid analgesia was associated with a loss in sensory neuron MOR and a reduction in functional MOR G-protein-coupling.

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Dec
1969

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF) are involved in neuroadaptation and foster survival of central and peripheral neurons. In this study, we addressed the question whether BDNF and NGF serum concentrations change during subacute alcohol withdrawal in patients with alcohol dependence compared to healthy controls.
Fifteen patients (age 48.

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Aug
2013

Recent studies have emphasized an important role for neurotrophins, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), in regulating the plasticity of neural circuits involved in the pathophysiology of stress-related diseases. The aim of the present study was to examine the interplay of the BDNF Val⁶⁶Met and the serotonin transporter promoter (5-HTTLPR) polymorphisms in moderating the impact of early-life adversity on BDNF plasma concentration and depressive symptoms. Participants were taken from an epidemiological cohort study following the long-term outcome of early risk factors from birth into young adulthood.

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Dec
1969

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays important roles in neurotransmitter release and synaptic plasticity and has been hypothesized to be involved in the development and maintenance of addictive disorders. The objective of this study was to investigate alterations of BDNF expression in a non-substance-related addiction, i.e.

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May
2012

In Parkinson's disease the loss of dopamine induces motor impairment but also leads to non-motor symptoms such as cognitive impairment, anxiety and depression. Selective serotonine reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) are so far first line therapy for mood alterations in PD and have also been shown to influence cognition, however with often insufficient results due to yet not fully understood underlying pathomechanisms of the symptoms. Deficits in the generation and maturation of new neurons in the adult hippocampus seem to be key mechanisms of major depression and cognitive decline and are robustly influenced by serotonergic pharmacotherapy.

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Jun
2012

Responder analyses are of relevance to evaluate the benefits of a medical treatment. The aim of the current paper is to analyse the response of patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease (AD) to memantine, and clinical relevant response is defined as a delay of clinical worsening.
Post hoc analyses were performed over the results of nine individual clinical trials including 2506 study patients.

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Aug
2012

Although poststroke depression (PSD) is a frequent chronic complication of stroke with high relevance for outcome and survival, underlying pathomechanisms remain inadequately understood. This may be because suitable animal models are largely lacking and existing models are poorly characterized.
Male 129/SV mice were subjected to 30-min middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo)/reperfusion and serial magnetic resonance imaging scans.

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Dec
1969

According to the neurotrophin hypothesis, a brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) decrease has been postulated as a pivotal pathomechanism in affective disorder, and the treatment-associated increase in peripheral BDNF has been linked to therapeutic efficacy of antidepressant drugs and electroconvulsive therapy. However, in deep brain stimulation (DBS), a still experimental antidepressant treatment approach, this issue has not yet been investigated.
We examine the long-term course of serum BDNF levels in a 64-year-old woman who is being treated with DBS of the lateral habenula for severe major depressive disorder.

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Feb
2012

There is no valid biomarker for severity of Alzheimer's disease (AD) available until now.
Therefore, we investigated (1)H-NMR spectroscopy for specific resonances as biomarkers for severity of AD.
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with diagnosed AD and healthy control subjects was analysed by one-dimensional water-suppressed (1)H-NMR spectroscopy.

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Feb
2012

The dopamine D(2)/D(3) receptor agonist pramipexole exerts antidepressive capacities in patients with Parkinson's disease with little evidence for patients with affective diseases only. Little is known about the neurobiological basis of these antidepressive effects. In this study, C57BL/6N mice received acute or chronic (3 weeks) treatment with pramipexole in different dosages (0.

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Jun
2011

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is not only involved in the development, differentiation, and survival of dopaminergic neurons; it also regulates fast neurotransmission and neuronal activity.
In this study, 22 patients with acute schizophrenia and 22 age-matched healthy volunteers were recruited, and BDNF serum concentrations were measured in unmedicated patients and after 2 weeks and 4 weeks of medication.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor serum levels of unmedicated schizophrenic patients (n = 22; 4.

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Sep
2010

Recent evidence postulates a role of hippocampal neurogenesis in anxiety behavior. Here we report that elevated levels of neurogenesis elicit increased anxiety in rodents. Mice performing voluntary wheel running displayed both highly elevated levels of neurogenesis and increased anxiety in three different anxiety-like paradigms: the open field, elevated O-maze, and dark-light box.

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Mar
2010

Rearrangement of the actin cytoskeleton is essential for dynamic cellular processes. Decreased actin turnover and rigidity of cytoskeletal structures have been associated with aging and cell death. Gelsolin is a Ca(2+)-activated actin-severing protein that is widely expressed throughout the adult mammalian brain.

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Jun
2010

Acupuncture can alleviate symptoms of spinal cord injuries (SCI). The underlying mechanism, however, is unknown. We hypothesized that stem cells could be mobilized by acupuncture.

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Feb
2010


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Dec
2009

Early diagnosis in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) is of great importance since only a sufficient treatment in early stages of this disease helps to keep patients in an autonomous state for as long as possible. Until now, there is no single diagnostic biomarker for AD derived from material routinely obtained. In this study, proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR) spectra of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of AD patients were compared with 1H-NMR spectra of the CSF of healthy control subjects using a metabonomic approach.

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Jan
2010

Decreased levels of N-acetylaspartate (NAA) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) have been linked to neuronal loss and psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. We previously found that BDNF serum concentration was predicted by the concentration of NAA in the ACC, indicating that neuronal integrity and vitality of a cortical region like the ACC, as reflected by a high concentration of NAA, might be related to high concentrations of BDNF in serum. Moreover, our recent finding that Val66Met genotype appears to predict the BDNF serum level in healthy human volunteers suggests the Met allele to be connected to higher concentrations of BDNF in serum.

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