Ongoing Projects

Accidental deaths among persons with schizophrenia: This project explores how accidental deaths contribute to the excess mortality among patients with schizophrenia. Hopefully, the project will be an important step in the investigation of possible explanations of the unacceptable high mortality among patients with schizophrenia. Participants are Line Amalie Hellemose in collaboration with Professor Thomas Munk Laursen and PhD Anita Tønder Nielsen at the National Centre for Register-based Research.

 

Changes in antipsychotic and other psychotropic medication during lifestyle intervention among outpatients with schizophrenia. This project explores the association between lifestyle intervention and doses of antipsychotic medications. With a descriptive approach it also investigates the actual medication practice among young patients with schizophrenia treated in outpatient clinics. The project involves members of the Psychiatric Research Academy (Mikkel Højlund and Anja Friis Elliott) in collaboration with Povl Munk-Jørgensen and the Department of Affective Disorders at Aarhus University Hospital in Risskov.

Light as an aid for recovery in psychiatric inpatients. Electrical indoor lighting can disturb sleep and increase depressive symptoms; both common complaints in psychiatric inpatients. In this clinical randomized trial we want to improve quality of sleep using an indoor hospital lighting environment simulating nature in intensity, color and circadian timing. Clinicaltrials.gov number NCT02653040. The project involves members of the Psychiatric Research Academy (Niels Okkels) in collaboration with the Department of Affective Disorders, Aarhus University Hospital.

The orexinergic system as a novel target for antidepressant treatment. Patients suffering from depression often suffer from sleep disturbances as well. New research has shown that the orexinergic system might be disturbed during depression. The project investigates the effect of conventional medication and novel treatment’s effect on antidepressant-like behaviour in a rat model of depression and if the orexinergic system might be involved. The project involves Astrid Harpøth and Professor Gregers Wegener.

Can anti-inflammatory drug use decrease the risk of anxiety and depression after critical illness? In this nationwide, population-based cohort study we investigate whether use of Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs, statins or glucocorticoid can alter the elevated risk of anxiety and depression after discharge from an intensive care unit where the included patients were mechanically ventilated. This project involves Clara Medici, associate professor Christian Fynbo Christiansen, assistant professor Jaimie Greadus, professor Henrik Toft Sørensen, professor Lars Pedersen and associate professor Søren Dinesen Østergaard.

How do typical and atypical antipsychotics differ in effect on acute mania? In clinical practice it is often said that treatment with typical antipsychotics of patients admitted with acute mania is more efficient compared with treatment with atypical antipsychotics. This project will look into various treatment regimes. The project involves Linda Marie KaiChristian Kirkedal and Clara Reece Medici in collaboration with Sune Puggaard Vogt Straszek.

A nationwide study of borderline personality disorder. We use data from the Danish Psychiatric Central Research Register to analyse the diagnostic profile before and after the first diagnosis of BPD. The project involves Jesper Noergaard KjaerRobert Biskin (McGill University), Lea Nørgreen Gustafsson and Povl Munk-Jørgensen.

Quality of diet amongst adults with ADHD. Using a validated food frequency questionnaire we analyse the quality of the diet amongst adults with ADHD compared to a standard population. The project involves members of the Psychiatric Research Academy (Louise M. A. Jakobsen and Jesper Noergaard Kjaer) in collaboration with Søren Skadhede, Lars Merinder and Povl Munk-Jørgensen.

Does polypharmacy increase the QTc interval in patients with schizophrenia? Certain groups of patients with psychiatric disorders have 2-3 times higher risk of sudden death than the general population. This is in part because of a long QT-interval which is a risk factor for the development of the malignant arrhythmia named Torsades de pointes. This project is a sub-study of the “Prevention of premature death in patients with psychiatric disorders” project, which aimsinvestigated the associations between QTc interval and antipsychotic monotherapy and antipsychotic polypharmacy treatment in schizophrenic patients. The project involves members of the Psychiatric Research Academy (Anja Friis Elliott and Mikkel Højlund) in collaboration with Thibault J. Mørk, Jens C. Nielsen Povl Munk-Jørgensen and the Department of Affective Disorders at Aarhus University Hospital in Risskov.

Does cognitive computer training help patients to return employment?  Persistent cognitive impairment in depression in remission contributes to poor occupational function. Therefore, this pilot study aimed to evaluate the use of cognitive computer training in patients with depression in remission according to cognitive function and employment status. The project involves members of the Psychiatric Research Academy (Anja Friis Elliottin collaboration with professor Bent Nielsen. 

Use of psychotropic medication among inpatients during focused efforts in prevention of coercion and restraint. This cohort study seeks to improve the knowledge of psychopharmacological practice associated with efforts to reduce mechanical restraints. Type and dose of different psychotropic medications is analyzed across patients with different diagnoses in risk high of coercion and restraint during admission. The project involves members of the Psychiatric Research Academy (Mikkel Højlund) in collaboration with the Department of Psychiatry in Aabenraa.

Previous projects:

Mechanical restraint and staffing level in a psychiatric ward. This one-year naturalistic descriptive study seeks to improve the knowledge of mechanisms associated with the use of mechanical restraints. Staffing level, staff characteristics, patient characteristics, type of shift and changes in shifts are investigated in relation to the use of mechanical restraints. The project involves members of the Psychiatric Research Academy (Johanne Sofie Kodal and Jesper Noergaard Kjaer) in collaboration with Erik Roj Larsen.

Studies in both animals and humans have documented that traumatic experiences have the ability to permanently alter the structure and function of the brain. In this nationwide prospective cohort study we investigate the longterm consequences of trauma. The project involves medical doctor Niels Okkels, psychologist Mikkel Arendt, statistician Bettina Trabjerg and professor Carsten Bøcker. Read the article here.

Prevention of premature death in patients with psychiatric disorders comorbid to substance use disorders. Patients with dual diagnosis have an increased risk of premature death compared to the general population. This two-year interventional study seeks to improve the physical health of 64 patients. Through monthly consultations with research nurse Anette Juel, patients are guided towards a physically active life, smoking cessation and a healthy diet. The project investigates effect of lifestyle interventions on physical health parameters, quality of life and the extent of substance abuse.

Seasonality and weather: effect on admissions with mania. In this nationwide, population-based cohort study we investigate if the seasonality of admissions with mania is due to weather (sunshine, UV dose, rain, snow cover, temperature) or other seasonally conditioned factors. This project involves Clara Medici, statistician Claus Høstrup Vestergaard, statisticiam Dusan Hadzi-Pavlovic, professor Povl Munk-Jørgensen and professor Gordon Parker. Read the article here.

What can ultrasonic vocalizations in rats tell us about their underlying affective states? This project explores whether the inaudible ultrasonic vocalizations produced by rats differ between a genetic animal model of depression and a control, and whether these differences can be eliminated through treatment with antidepressants. Hopefully this will shed light on the utility of ultrasonic vocalizations as a measure of affective states in future animal research on depression. Participants are Linda Kai in collaboration with Prof. Gregers Wegener and post.doc Cecilie Bay Richter at the Translational Neuropsychiatry Unit.

How many clicks with a mouse does it take to admit a patient? More and more health staff feel the burden of computer work, registration and documentation. Many complain to each other, in the media and about the development the system has undertaken over the past one or two decades. We want to document the administrative work load that the hospitals computer systems demand from doctors and nurses. Implicated are Rasmus Paulin Beske, Christina Blanner, Mette Vinther and Niels Okkels.

Is QT-prolongation in patients with schizophrenia influenced by life-style factors? Certain groups of patients with psychiatric disorders have 2-3 times higher risk of sudden death than the the general population. This is in part because of a long QT-interval which is a risk factor for the development of the malignant arrhythmia named torsades de pointes. This project is a sub-study of the “Prevention of premature death in patients with psychiatric disorders” project, which aims at elucidating the effect of life-style interventions on the death rate in these patients. Implicated in this project are Thibault J. Mørk and Povl Munk-Jørgensen.

Can personalized medical data enhance health care delivery? This project focuses on the importance of how to communicate medical data to patients in a more understandable way. By developing and introducing features as the Personalized Patient Pages into everyday clinical practice, we seek to make it easier for the patients relate to treatment and ultimately to improve the efficacy and quality of health care. Participants are Niklas Andersson, Niels Okkels, and health care staff members of the involved wards.

Does the psychosocial environment influence on the risk of physical disease? We are conducting a series of epidemiological studies that seek to enlighten the impact of the psychological perception of the social environment on the risk of broad range of physical diseases. These analyses will partake in a hastily growing body of studies within the field of psychoneuroimmunology. This work is being carried out by members of the Psychiatric Research Academy (Niklas Andersson, Niels Okkels) together with professor Steve Cole from UCLA and Renee D. Goodwin from Columbia University.

Mortality and secular trend in the incidence of bipolar disorder. In this project we described the incidence and mortality in bipolar disorder over the last 18 years. It has been published in the Journal of Affective Disorders. Read the article here.

Quality og life and clinical characteristics in a nonselected sample of patients with schizophrenia. In this project we examined the relation between quality of life and clinical characteristics, such as obesity and smoking, in patients with schizophrenia. It has been published in the International Journal of Social Psychiatry. Read the article here.

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