Affective disorders

Research group
Active research
Project owner
Institutionen för neurovetenskap och fysiologi

Short description

The overarching aim is to increase our understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms of mood disorders and how they relate to the clinical picture. We also hope to identify biomarkers to complement diagnosis, predict treatment response or side effects and provide prognostic assessments for psychiatric disorders. The aim is to develop tools to enable a personalized psychiatric care.

Research projects

We actively pursue the integration of research with clinical work processes. This is accomplished both through national quality registers and the S:t Göran project.

We also run several large scale studies within the psychiatric field. In this context, we also participate in international collaborations where large patient samples are collected for Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS).

Our research is targeted both at elucidating the causative mechanisms of psychiatric disorders as well as the practical application of biomarkers in psychiatric care.

The ANGI study

The ANGI study aims to identify biological and environmental factors underlying anorexia nervosa.

The study is approved by the Regional ethical committee in Stockholm (Ref no 2013/112-31/2) and represents a collaboration between Swedish and International universities. The study is coordinated from Karolinska Institutet, Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics. ANGI is short for Anorexia Nervosa Genetic Initiative and the project gathers researchers from USA, Australia, Denmark and Sweden. The ANGI-project is funded by the Klarman Family Foundation.

The PREFECT study

The PREFECT was launched in 2013. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a highly effective treatment for depression. However, not all patients respond to the therapy and some experience side effects. More knowledge is needed to determine who and what indication is most likely to benefit from the treatment. The aim of the study is to identify factors that help predict which individuals are most likely to respond to ECT treatment and which individuals that are more likely to benefit from other treatment forms. We aim to identify both genetic and blood borne markers for ECT response and side effects. The overarching aim is to develop tools that can be used to tailor the psychiatric treatment for individual patients.

The study has been approved by the Regional ethical committee in Stockholm (ref no 2012/169-31/1) and is funded by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research. The study is coordinated from Karolinska Institutet, Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

The S:t Göran Bipolar project

A prospective longitudinal study of bipolar syndromes

In the S:t Göran Bipolar project (SBP) patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder are meticulously phenotyped and followed over time. This enables the identification of clinically relevant subgroups and markers and provides unique possibilities to study disease mechanisms. The short term goal is to further study disease mechanisms in bipolar disorder. However, the long term aim is to identify factors and markers that are predictive of relapse, treatment response, side effects, cognitive and psychosocial functioning and quality of life for individuals suffering from bipolar syndromes. The study participants are investigated using diagnostic, neuropsychological, neurological, imaging, genetic and biochemical approaches. To enable genetic and biochemical analyses and to secure future research goals samples of whole blood, serum and cerebrospinal fluid are stored at KI-Biobank.
SBP includes patients who after thorough diagnostic evaluation are found to suffer from a bipolar syndrome and provide written agreement of participation. Patients are currently recruited from Affektivt centrum, Norra Stockholms psykiatri and from 2009 also from Affektiva enheten in Mölndal. Annual follow-ups are carried out and after 7 years blood and cerebrospinal fluid sampling, imaging and the neuropsychological tests are repeated. The goal is to follow the patients throughout life.

The STANLEY study

The aim of the STANLEY study is to identify gene variants and environmental factors that increase the risk of bipolar disorder. Genes and environment interact to cause the disorder and once genetic risk variants are identified their effect in a particular environment can be studied, This knowledge can then be used to develop new treatments for bipolar disorder.

The research study is named after The Stanley Medical Research Institute, an organization that supports research into mechanisms and potential treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The STANLEY study is mainly funded by a grant from The Stanley Medical Research Institute but also receives funding from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Group members