June 2020


A Nexus Model of Restricted Interests in Autism Spectrum Disorder

This paper proposes a new way to understand restricted interests in autism. This model suggests that brain networks that typically process social information may instead to process restricted interests instead.

PI: Gabriel Dichter, PhD

Carter, R.M.; Jung, H., Reaven, J., Blakeley-Smith, A., Dichter, G.S.; (2020); Frontiers in Human Neuroscience: Cognitive Neuroscience. Manuscript ID: 527958


A Systematic Review of Validated Screening Tools for Anxiety Disorders and PTSD in Low to Middle Income Countries

We conducted a systematic review of validated screening tools for detecting anxiety and PTSD in LMICs. While the use of brief screening instruments can bring much needed attention and research opportunities to various at-risk LMIC populations, many have been validated in inadequately designed studies, precluding any general recommendation for specific tools in LMICs. Locally validated screening tools for anxiety and PTSD need further evaluation in well-designed studies to assess whether they can improve the detection and management of these common disorders.

PI: Bradley Gaynes, MD, MPH

Mughal AY, Devadas J, Ardman E, Levis B, Go VF, Gaynes BN. BMC Psychiatry. 2020 Jun 30;20(1):338. doi: 10.1186/s12888-020-02753-3.PMID: 32605551


The Role of Patient-Provider Communication: a qualitative study of patient attitudes regarding co-occurring depression and chronic diseases in Malawi

Depression interventions alone are not effective at improving general medical outcomes, resulting in wide-reaching calls for integrated services. Integrated services are in a nascent phase in low- and middle-incomes in general and in Malawi in particular. This manuscript serves to clarify Malawian patients’ attitudes and perceptions towards depression integration into routine general medical services. We found that training and interventions that facilitate providers’ abilities to transfer their medical knowledge, use strategies to channel their power, and engage patients in a meaningful and collaborative relationship will be key to successfully integrating depression treatment into Malawian general medical clinics.

PI: Bradley Gaynes, MD, MPH

Akiba CF, Zimba CC, Thom A, Matewere M, Go V, Pence B, Gaynes BN, Masiye J. BMC Psychiatry. 2020 May 19;20(1):243. doi: 10.1186/s12888-020-02657-2.PMID: 32429877


Harmonized Outcome Measures for Use in Depression Patient Registries and Clinical Practice

This project aimed to develop a minimum set of standardized outcome measures relevant to both patients and clinicians that can be collected in depression registries and clinical practice. A multistakeholder panel representing clinicians; payers; government agencies; industry; and medical specialty, health care quality, and patient advocacy organizations categorized the 27 identified measures using the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s supported Outcome Measures Framework. The panel identified 10 broadly relevant measures and harmonized definitions for these measures through in-person and virtual meetings, representing a minimum set of outcomes that are relevant to clinicians and patients and appropriate for use in depression research and clinical practice. Routine and consistent collection of these measures in registries and other systems would support creation of a national research infrastructure to efficiently address new questions, improve patient management and outcomes, and facilitate care coordination.

PI: Bradley Gaynes, MD, MPH

Gliklich RE, Leavy MB, Cosgrove L, Simon GE, Gaynes BN, Peterson LE, Olin B, Cole C, DePaulo JR Jr, Wang P, Crowe CM, Cusin C, Nix M, Berliner E, Trivedi MH. Ann Intern Med. 2020 Jun 16;172(12):803-809. doi: 10.7326/M19-3818. Epub 2020 May 12.PMID: 32422056


Eating Disorders in a Community-based Sample of Women with Alcohol Use Disorder and Nicotine Dependence

Women with lifetime diagnoses of alcohol use disorder and nicotine dependence are at high risk for eating disorder symptoms and diagnoses, underscoring the importance of assessing eating disorder symptoms among women with these disorders.

PI: Melissa Munn-Chernoff, PhD, MPE

Munn-Chernoff MA, Few LR, Matherne CE, Baker JH, Men VY, McCutcheon VV, Agrawal A, Bucholz KK, Madden PAF, Heath AC, Duncan AE. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2020 Jul 1;212:107981. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2020.107981. Epub 2020 Apr 25. PMID: 32442752


Genome-Wide Gene-Environment Analyses of Major Depressive Disorder and Reported Lifetime Traumatic Experiences in UK Biobank

Depression is more frequent among individuals exposed to traumatic events. Both trauma exposure and depression are heritable. However, the relationship between these traits, including the role of genetic risk factors, is complex and poorly understood. When modelling trauma exposure as an environmental influence on depression, both gene-environment correlations and gene-environment interactions have been observed. The UK Biobank concurrently assessed Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and self-reported lifetime exposure to traumatic events in 126,522 genotyped individuals of European ancestry.

PI: Patrick Sullivan, MD, FRANZCP

Coleman JRI, Peyrot WJ, Purves KL, et al., Mol Psychiatry. 2020 May 18;:]. Mol Psychiatry. 2020;25(7):1430-1446. doi:10.1038/s41380-019-0546-6


The Genetics of the Mood Disorder Spectrum: Genome-wide Association Analyses of More Than 185,000 Cases and 439,000 Controls

Mood disorders (including major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder) affect 10% to 20% of the population. They range from brief, mild episodes to severe, incapacitating conditions that markedly impact lives. Multiple approaches have shown considerable sharing of risk factors across mood disorders despite their diagnostic distinction.

PI: Patrick Sullivan, MD, FRANZCP

Coleman JRI, Gaspar HA, Bryois J; Bipolar Disorder Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium; Major Depressive Disorder Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, Biol Psychiatry. 2020;88(2):169-184. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2019.10.015


Chronicity and Sex Affect Genetic Risk Prediction in Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia (SCZ) is a severe mental disorder with immense personal and societal costs; identifying individuals at risk is therefore of utmost importance. Genomic risk profile scores (GRPS) have been shown to significantly predict cases-control status. Making use of a large-population based sample from Sweden, we replicate a previous finding demonstrating that the GRPS is strongly correlated with admission frequency and chronicity of SCZ. Furthermore, we were able to show a substantial gap in prediction accuracy between males and females. In sum, our results indicate that prediction accuracy by GRPS depends on clinical and demographic characteristics.

PI: Patrick Sullivan, MD, FRANZCP

Sandra M Meier, Anna K Kähler, Sarah E Bergen, Patrick F Sullivan, Christina M Hultman, Manuel Mattheisen, Front Psychiatry 2020 Jun 9;11:313. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00313. eCollection 2020


Robust Hi-C Maps of Enhancer-Promoter Interactions Reveal the Function of Non-coding Genome in Neural Development and Diseases

Joint analysis of multiple traits can result in the identification of associations not found through the analysis of each trait in isolation. Studies of neuropsychiatric disorders and congenital heart disease (CHD) which use de novo mutations (DNMs) from parent-offspring trios have reported multiple putatively causal genes. However, a joint analysis method designed to integrate DNMs from multiple studies has yet to be implemented. We here introduce multiple-trait TADA (mTADA) which jointly analyzes two traits using DNMs from non-overlapping family samples.

PI: Patrick Sullivan, MD, FRANZCP

Tan-Hoang Nguyen, Amanda Dobbyn, Ruth C Brown, Brien P Riley, Joseph D Buxbaum, Dalila Pinto, Shaun M Purcell, Patrick F Sullivan, Xin He, Eli A Stahl’ Nat Commun. 2020 Jun 10;11(1):2929. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-16487-z


Dynamic Eye Tracking as a Predictor and Outcome Measure of Social Skills Intervention in Adolescents and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

This study shows that an eye tracking measure may indicate whether a treatment is effective for adolescents and adults with autism.

PI: Gabriel Dichter, PhD

Greene, R.K., Parish-Morris, J., Sullivan, M., Kinard, J.L., Mosner, M.G., Turner-Brown, L.M., Penn, D.L., Wiesen, C.A., Pallathra, A.A., Brodkin, E.S., Schultz, R.T., and Dichter, G.S. (in press).


Design of a Randomized Placebo Controlled Trial of High Dose Intravenous Thiamine for the Prevention of Delirium in Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation

Dr. Nakamura and colleagues have designed a highly novel and innovative study investigating the use of high dose vitamin B1 to prevent delirium – a common and consequential neuropsychiatric condition in hospital settings – in patients receiving bone marrow transplantation.

PI: Zev Nakamura, MD

Nakamura ZM, Deal AM, Rosenstein DL, Quillen LJ, Chien SA, Wood WA, Shea TC, Park EM. Contemp Clin Trials. 2020 June 30:106076. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32619524.


Extra-axial Cerebrospinal Fluid Relationships to Infant Brain Structure, Cognitive Development, and Risk for Schizophrenia

Excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) around the brain is a potential imaging biomarker of risk for autism in young children. This study characterized extra-axial CSF in a large sample of typically developing children and children at risk for schizophrenia and found that neither group has the amount seen in autism, suggesting it may be a good biomarker of risk for autism and related disorders.

PI: John Gilmore, MD

Murphy VA, Shen MA, Kim SH, Cornea E, Styner M, Gilmore JH. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. 2020 5:651-659.


White Matter Development from Birth to 6 years of age: a longitudinal study

White matter provides the connections between different parts of the brain and is altered in psychiatric disorders. We studied how white matter develops in early childhood to provide a basis of comparison for future studies of children at risk for psychiatric disorders.

PI: John Gilmore, MD

Stephens RL, Langworthy BW, Short SJ, Girault JB, Styner MA, Gilmore JH. Cerebral Cortex 2020: doi 10.1093/cercor/bhaa170 [Epub ahead of print].


Exploring the relationship between geomagnetic activity and human heart rate variability.

Does space weather (sun spots, solar flares) modulate human physiology as previously claimed? With the correct statistical methods, the answer seems to be “no.”

PI: Flavio Frohlich, PhD

Mattoni M, Ahn S, Fröhlich C, Fröhlich F. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2020 Jun;120(6):1371-1381.


Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) Polymorphism may Influence the Efficacy of tACS to Modulate Neural Oscillations.

One small mutation in a gene appears to modulate the response of the brain to a novel form non-invasive brain stimulation that we study for the treatment of depression and schizophrenia.

PI: Flavio Frohlich, PhD

Riddle J, McPherson T, Atkins AK, Walker CP, Ahn S, Frohlich F.


Neuromodulation of Sleep Rhythms in Schizophrenia: Towards the rational design of non-invasive brain stimulation.

We propose that brain stimulation during sleep has promise as a potential new treatment for symptoms of schizophrenia.

PI: Flavio Frohlich, PhD

Fröhlich F, Lustenberger C. Schizophr Res. 2020 Jul;221:71-80.