Analysis of data from many thousands of participants may reveal the fundamental principles of interindividual differences. © IRStone/stock.adobe.com

Analysis of data from many thousands of participants may reveal the fundamental principles of interindividual differences. © IRStone/stock.adobe.com

What influences the treatment expectations of an individual patient? Genes, hormones, stress?

Whether and how positive or negative expectations influence the outcome of treatment varies considerably between patients. This central research project analyses the data of 2800 patients and healthy participants from 14 collaborative research centre projects. The objective is to improve understanding of the complex links between them and establish the importance of psychological factors such as anxiety, stress and depression as well as hormones, neuroendocrine messengers and the individual genome for these individual differences. The results will give indications as to how patient expectations are influenced and treatment can be personalised and optimised.

Research summary

Central research project: higher-level psychometrics and neuroendocrine assessment

This central research project provides uniform, standardised psychometric tools for the measurement of anxiety, stress and negative affect in all collaborative research centre projects. In parallel with the psychometric measurements, it will investigate whether and to what extent treatment expectations are influenced by the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and sympathetic nervous system by analysing the awakening response of cortisol and alpha-amylase activity in saliva. Together these findings will enable us to comment on possible psychological and neuroendocrine predictors that influence the treatment expectations and outcomes of patients.

Recommended reading:

Enck P, Bingel U, Schedlowski M, Rief W (2013) The placebo response in medicine: minimize, maximize or personalize? Nat Rev Drug Discov. 12 191-204. PubMed

Grigoleit JS, Kullmann JS, Oberbeck R, Schedlowski M, Engler H (2013) Salivary α-amylase response to endotoxin administration in humans. Psychoneuroendocrinol. 38:1819-1823. PubMed

Petrakova L, Boy K, Mittmann L, Möller L, Engler H, Schedlowski M (2017) Salivary alpha-amylase and noradrenaline responses to corticotropin-releasing hormone administration in humans. Biol Psychol. 127:34-39. PubMed

Rief W, Burton C, Frostholm L, Henningsen P, Kleinstäuber M, Kop WJ, Löwe B, Martin A, Malt U, Rosmalen J, Schröder A, Shedden-Mora M, Toussaint A, van der Feltz-Cornelis C on behalf of the EURONET-SOMA Group (2017) Core outcome domains for clinical trials on somatic symptom disorder, bodily distress disorder and functional somatic syndromes: EURONET-SOMA recommendations. Psychosom Med 79:1008-1015. PubMed

In close cooperation with these projects

A01

A01

A02

A02

A03

A03

A04

A04

A06

A06

A07

A07

How do positive expectations improve mood?

Prof. Dr. Erik M. Müller
Prof. Dr. Dominik M. Endres

A08

A08

Do positive expectations improve the effect of antidepressants?

Prof. Dr. Tilo Kircher
PD Dr. Irina Falkenberg

A11

A11

A12

A12

A13

A13

A15

A15

Does anxiety intensify the discontinuation symptoms of antidepressants?

Prof. Dr. Yvonne Nestoriuc
Prof. Dr. Tilo Kircher

A16

A16

Project Lead

Prof. Dr. Winfried Rief

Prof. Dr. Winfried Rief
Psychologist, Psychological Psychotherapist

Prof. Dr. Erik M. Müller

Prof. Dr. Erik Müller
Project Lead, Psychologist

Prof. Dr. Manfred Schedlowski

Prof. Dr. Manfred Schedlowski
Psychologist

Prof. Dr. Harald Engler

Prof. Dr. Harald Engler
Biologist

Team

Jana Schäfer
Biologist, Technical Support