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Research Group Psychotic Disorders

The research group Psychotic disorders focuses on research of neurocognitive deficits and the development of alternative psychotherapeutic treatment strategies as well as intercultural stigma research. The individual projects are explained in more detail below.

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If you have any questions about the projects, please do not hesitate to contact us via phone or email. Those interested in a practical research internship and / or psychological Master's thesis within the schizophrenia research group, are welcome to contact the director of studies, Dr. Kerem Böge.

The contextual influence of the oxytocin system on empathy in patients with schizophrenia

The contextual influence of the oxytocin system on empathy in patients with schizophrenia.

In previous studies the neuropeptide oxytocin has been in particular associated with social enhancing and anxiety relieving effects. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of oxytocin on empathy in patients with schizophrenia. On a neurobiological level, social effects mediated by oxytocin are based on oxytocin`s influence on the complexly regulated mesocorticolimbic dopamine system. Preliminary studies have already shown that oxytocin increases neuronal connections between social reward expectancy networks and networks for socioemotional processes in the brain, which on a behavioral level leads to increased social activation, motivation, and also improved social perception.

Furthermore, an increase in empathy modulated by the amygdala has been shown in healthy individuals following oxytocin administration. In particular, primary psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, are associated with deficits in the domain of social cognition, including empathy, with the degree of negative symptoms playing an important mediating role. Another study demonstrated a significantly lower expression of empathy as well as a significantly lower oxytocin level in patients with schizophrenia compared to healthy subjects. According to the hypothesis of social salience, which describes an increased importance of certain social stimuli, the effect of oxytocin varies depending on specific contexts and individual variables of the perceiving person, such as the degree of negative symptoms. Therefore, based on such preliminary findings, the research project will explore an effect of oxytocin on empathy within a positively experienced and controlled context, especially in patients with schizophrenia regarding their negative symptoms.

Yoga-based group therapy for patients with psychotic disorders (YING)

Yoga-based group therapy for patients with psychotic disorders (YING)

Yoga-based group therapies for mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety disorders are well established in both psychiatric research and in outpatient and inpatient treatment. For patients with psychotic disorders, especially schizophrenia, the evidence for yoga-based group therapies is still insufficient. Therefore, the range of treatments for this group of patients is still limited.
This YING study offers the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the subjective experience of the patient during group therapy and to gain new insights into the underlying processes of action of yoga-based group therapy as part of a mixed-methods approach. Based on the semi-structured interviews with patients with psychotic disorders, current limitations of yoga-based group therapies with regard to feasibility, applicability and effectiveness will be assessed and adapted accordingly. By continuously incorporating the feedback of participants, a yoga-based group therapy manual is developed, which is oriented towards the needs of patients with psychotic disorders and can thus contribute to an expanded range of therapeutic treatments for this group of patients.

Mindfulness for Psychotic Disorders (SENSE)

In addition to the inpatient and outpatient psychotherapeutic offers for psychotic disorders at our clinic, we investigate the effectiveness of mindfulness-based group therapy (MBGT) for patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders based on the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

The aim of the research project is to investigate individual factors of patients with psychotic disorders that contribute to the maintenance of symptoms in the context of an MBGT. Mindfulness is understood as an open, flexible and value-free attention to the present moment. MBGT achieved scientifically proven and lasting transdiagnostic psychotherapeutic effects. Taking into account the symptoms of the patient, a detailed differential diagnostics take place before participating in the MBGT, which takes place in addition to the regular inpatient or outpatient therapeutic care offered at the clinic.

Effects and adverse effects of meditation

Using an international cross-sectional study, possible effects and adverse effects of meditation are researched. The previous investigations have mainly focused on the positive effects of meditation, which are characterized, among other things, by a reduction in anxiety and stress, a reduction in depressive symptoms and an improvement in well-being. However, the current state of studies on the risks and adverse effects of meditation is inadequate. Less than 25% of the available studies on meditation contain a methodological recording of adverse effects or negative effects. Due to the increasing clinical-therapeutic use of meditation and mindfulness-based procedures and the lack of research on possible risks and adverse effects, there is a need to expand knowledge about the prevalence and type of possible adverse and negative meditation-related effects. The results of the study support the development of individual and process-oriented psychotherapeutic approaches.

Determination of drug concentrations in the hair of patients under medication with psychotropic drugs (antidepressants, antipsychotics, benzodiazepines)

This investigation serves to determine the active substance concentrations in the hair of patients who have regularly taken psychotropic medication over a longer period of time (at least 3 months). Today, hair analysis is an established investigation in many forensic-toxicological issues, e.g. it is used in the context of alcohol or drug abstinence examinations. Despite intensive research in the field of hair analysis, there is so far little data for this dynamically developing group of substances. An assessment of hair findings in clinical or forensic contexts is therefore very difficult. In addition to the recording of active ingredient concentrations, the study deals with the question of the extent to which there is a statistical relationship between the dose taken and the active ingredient concentration in the hair and whether this is suitable for a non-invasive examination of the drug intake.


Selected Publications

Selected Publications of the Research group Psychotic Disorders

Ahlers E*, Hahn E*, Ta T, Gourdazi E., Dettling M, Neuhaus A, Smoking improves divided attention in schizopherenia; Psychopharmacology 2014. *shared authorship

Böge, K., & Hahn, E. SENSE – Achtsamkeit bei psychotischen Störungen. Ein Gruppentherapiemanual für die stationäre, tagesklinische und ambulante Behandlung. 2021; Beltz.

Böge, K., Hahne, I., Bergmann, N., Wingenfeld, K., Zierhut, M., Thomas, N., Ta, T.M., Bajbouj, M., Hahn, E. (2021). Mindfulness-based group therapy for in-patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders - Feasibility, acceptability. and preliminary outcomes of a rater-blinded randomized controlled trial. Schizophrenia Research

Böge, K., Ergen, E., Hahn, E. ACT bei psychotischen Störungen. In: Romanczuk-Seiferth N, Burian R, Diefenbacher A. (Hrsg.) ACT in der Klinik und Tagesklinik. 2020; Kohlhammer.

Böge, K., Karadza, A., Fuchs, L. M., Ehlen, F., Ta, T. M., Thomas, N., Bajbouj, M., & Hahn, E. (2020a). Mindfulness-based interventions for in-patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders - A qualitative approach. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 11.  doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00600

Böge, K., Schaeuffele, C., Jacobsen, P., Chadwick, P., Ergen, E., Hahne, I., Bergmann, N., Boettcher, J., Wingenfeld, K., Bajbouj, M., Hahn, E. (2020b). Validation of the German version of the Southampton mindfulness questionnaire (SMQ). Mindfulness. doi:10.1007/s12671-020-01447-x

Hahn, C*., Hahn, E*., Dettling, M., Güntürkün, O., Ta, T.M., Neuhaus, A.H. Effects of smoking history on selective attention in schizophrenia. Neuropharmacology. 2012 Mar; 62(4):1897-902. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.12.032. * geteilte Erstautorenschaft

Hahn E., Ta, T.M., Hahn, C., Kuehl, L.K., Ruehl, C., Neuhaus, A,H., Dettling, M. Test-retest reliability of Attention Network Test measures in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research. 2011 Dec; 133(1-3):218-22. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2011.09.026.

Regen, F., Cosma, N.C., Otto, L.R., Clemens, V., Saksone, L., Gellrich, J., Uesekes, B., Ta, T.M., Hahn, E., Heuser, I., Hellmann-Regen, J. Clozapine modulates retinoid homeostasis in human brain and normalizes serum retinoic acid deficit in patients with schizophrenia. Molecular Psychiatry. 2020 June, doi: 10.1038/s41380-020-0791-8

Regen F*, Herzog I*, Hahn E, Le Bret N, Otte C, Dettling M, Heuser I, Hellmann-Regen, J. (2015). Patient-specific in-vitro approach reveals distinct functional alterations in clozapine-induced agranulocytosis. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. 2017 Feb 1; 316:10-16. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2016.12.003

Shen, C., Popescu, F.C., Hahn, E., Ta, T.M., Dettling, M., Neuhaus, A.H. Neurocognitive Pattern Analysis Reveals Classificatory Hierarchy of Attention Deficits in Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin. 2014 Jul; 40(4):878-85. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbt107

Opgen-Rhein, C., Neuhaus, AH., Urbanek, C., Hahn, E., Sander, T., Dettling, M. Executive attention in the Attention Network Test: reduced conflict cost in schizophrenia and the impact of COMT Val108/158Met polymorphism. Schizophrenia Bulletin. 2008 Nov; 34:1231-1239. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbm155

Publication Area - Genetics and Attention:

Hahn E, Ta TM, Hahn C, Kuehl LK, Rühl C, Neuhaus AH, Dettling M. Test-retest reliability of Attention Network Test measures in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research. 2011 Dec;133(1-3):218- 22. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2011.09.026.

Hahn C*, Hahn E*, Dettling M, Güntürkün O, Ta TMT, Neuhaus AH. Effects of smoking history on selective attention in schizophrenia. Neuropharmacology. 2012 Mar;62(4):1897-902. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.12.032. * geteilte Erstautorenschaft

Hahn E, Vollath A, Ta TM, Hahn C, Kühl LK, Dettling M, Neuhaus AH. Assessing long-term test-retest reliability of the CPT-IP in schizophrenia. Pols One. 2014 Jan 8;9(1): e84780. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0084780.

Opgen-Rhein C, Neuhaus AH, Urbanek C, Hahn E, Sander T, Dettling M. Executive attention in the Attention Network Test: reduced conflict cost in schizophrenia and the impact of COMT Val108/158Met polymorphism. Schizophrenia Bulletin. 2008 Nov; 34: 1231-1239. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbm155

Neuhaus AH, Karl C, Hahn E, Trempler NR, Opgen-Rhein C, Urbanek C, Hahn C, Ta TMT, Dettling M. Dissection of early bottom-up and top-down deficits during visual attention in schizophrenia. Clinical Neurophysiology 2011 Jan;122(1):90-8. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2010.06.011.

Neuhaus AH, Popescu F, Grozea C, Hahn E, Hahn C, OpgenRhein C, Urbanek C, Dettling M. Single-subject classification of schizophrenia by event-related potentials during selective attention. Neuroimage. 2011 Mar 15;55(2):514-21. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.12.038.

Hahn C, Neuhaus AH, Pogun S, Dettling M, Kotz SA, Hahn E, Brüne M, Güntürkün O. (2011). Smoking reduces language lateralization: a dichotic listening study with control participants and schizophrenia patients. Brain & Cognition. 2011 Jul;76(2):300-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2011.03.015.