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Trull T.J.,University of Missouri | Ebner-Priemer U.,Karlsruhe Institute of Technology | Ebner-Priemer U.,Central Institute of Mental Health
Annual Review of Clinical Psychology

Ambulatory assessment (AA) covers a wide range of assessment methods to study people in their natural environment, including self-report, observational, and biological/physiological/behavioral. AA methods minimize retrospective biases while gathering ecologically valid data from patients' everyday life in real time or near real time. Here, we report on the major characteristics of AA, and we provide examples of applications of AA in clinical psychology (a) to investigate mechanisms and dynamics of symptoms, (b) to predict the future recurrence or onset of symptoms, (c) to monitor treatment effects, (d) to predict treatment success, (e) to prevent relapse, and (f) as interventions. In addition, we present and discuss the most pressing and compelling future AA applications: technological developments (the smartphone), improved ecological validity of laboratory results by combined lab-field studies, and investigating gene-environment interactions. We conclude with a discussion of acceptability, compliance, privacy, and ethical issues. Copyright © 2013 by Annual Reviews. Source

Meyer-Lindenberg A.,Central Institute of Mental Health
Psychological Medicine

For highly heritable brain disorders, such as schizophrenia and autism, investigating genetic effects on the level of neural systems seems an obvious approach. Nevertheless, the usefulness of the intermediate phenotypes (endo phenotypes) continues to be debated energetically. We argue that, while not all intermediate phenotypes are created equal, the hypothesis-driven investigation of the translational cascades linking genetic variation to disturbed behavior is a viable and important strategy that should not be supplanted by an exclusive focus on brainless, clinical/categorical phenotypes investigated in very large numbers of participants. © Cambridge University Press 2009. Source

Zink C.F.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | Meyer-Lindenberg A.,Central Institute of Mental Health
Hormones and Behavior

The neuropeptides oxytocin and vasopressin have increasingly been identified as modulators of human social behaviors and associated with neuropsychiatric disorders characterized by social dysfunction, such as autism. Identifying the human brain regions that are impacted by oxytocin and vasopressin in a social context is essential to fully characterize the role of oxytocin and vasopressin in complex human social cognition. Advances in human non-invasive neuroimaging techniques and genetics have enabled scientists to begin to elucidate the neurobiological basis of the influence of oxytocin and vasopressin on human social behaviors. Here we review the findings to-date from investigations of the acute and chronic effects of oxytocin and vasopressin on neural activity underlying social cognitive processes using "pharmacological fMRI" and "imaging genetics", respectively. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Oxytocin, Vasopressin, and Social Behavior. © 2012. Source

Schredl M.,Central Institute of Mental Health
International Review of Neurobiology

Dreams have been studied from different perspectives: psychoanalysis, academic psychology, and neurosciences. After presenting the definition of dreaming and the methodological tools of dream research, the major findings regarding the phenomenology of dreaming and the factors influencing dream content are briefly reviewed. The so-called continuity hypothesis stating that dreams reflect waking-life experiences is supported by studies investigating the dreams of psychiatric patients and patients with sleep disorders, i.e., their daytime symptoms and problems are reflected in their dreams. Dreams also have an effect on subsequent waking life, e.g., on daytime mood and creativity. The question about the functions of dreaming is still unanswered and open to future research. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. Source

Gebicke-Haerter P.J.,Central Institute of Mental Health

Investigations on gene variants as milestones in the development of schizophrenia have not fulfilled the enormous, initial expectations. Neither candidate gene approaches trying to associate single genes with the disorder, nor genome-wide association studies (GWAS), that have been welcomed more recently with great enthusiasm, could end the general disappointment associated with these strategies. Owing to very large numbers of samples and most advanced sequencing technologies, some variants have been found but their effects, even in combination are very small. In summary, most of the tentative heritability of schizophrenia remains unexplained. More hope to find mechanisms connecting genes with the disorder lies in analyses of the epigenome with technologies developed during the last 10 or 15 years and undergoing more and more refinement recently. Although investigations on interactions between DNA methylation patterns and histone modifications will probably be the greatest challenge in molecular genetics for the next decades, they appear to be the most promising approaches on complex brain disorders that typically show a high dependence on environmental factors. © Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York. Source

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