New study: PRIMED

In collaboration with researchers at Linnéuniversitet, Royal Institute of Technology and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill we are planning a new study called PRIMED: Predicting Response to CBT in Mental Disorders using multimodal data and machine learning.

Common mental disorders such as depression, social anxiety, panic disorder and OCD have a point prevalence of 15%. CBT is the treatment of choice, yet 30-60% of patients undergoing CBT will not respond to treatment. Identifying non-responders before treatment would allow alternative treatment choices.

Predictor studies have so far not been able to reach an acceptable predictive power to guide clinical decisions so adding fine-grained and multiple types data, including the genetic footprint, may be a way forward.

Hence, the aim of PRIMED is to better predict treatment response to Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in depression, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and OCD by using clinical, register-based, and genetic data from 6000 individuals in Sweden.

In PRIMED, potential predictors include clinical information, register based data and genetic variation. Outcomes are short-term clinical data, long-term register based medical data e.g. prescriptions, diagnoses, suicide attempts and social data such as unemployment, sickness absence, and disability pension.

icon primed transparent

In addition to study predictors on these different levels, we also want to add artificial intelligence, or Machine Learning to identify individuals at risk of not responding to treatment. So-called ‘Learning Machines’ can learn from historical cases and then apply what it has learnt to predict outcomes in a single, new case. Rather than considering the effect of one variable on an outcome of interest at a group level, Learning Machines identify patterns of information that can be used to predict the outcome for an individual.

The Learning Machine will learn from a training dataset consisting of 4 000 individuals and then validate its ability to correctly identify patients at risk on 2 000 new patients.

This project pursues a novel research area that can only be developed by a multidisciplinary team involving experts in disparate fields: psychiatry, psychology, epidemiology, AI, and genetics. We have assembled a strong interdisciplinary team from four different universities in two countries and are very excited about this collaboration!

OCD genetics meeting in Stockholm

Last monday we had some important guests from Denmark, Norway and USA for an OCD genetics meeting at Villa Källhagen in Stockholm.

Patrick Sullivan, professor at MEB, KI, gav an excellent presentation on the big picture of psych genetics. See his Stockholm psychiatry lecture from 2015 here.


Pat Sullivan

Ellinor Karlsson did a talk on dog genetics and dog OCD or canine compulsive syndrome (CCD). She runs the Karlsson lab at Broad and collects DNA samples through Darwin’s dogs.

Ellinor Karlsson

We also got updates on DNA collection from the Swedish and the Norwegian side of the project, great discussion and input on how to improve recruitment at this point of the study.

All in all, a great day for genome research in the OCD field.



WeMind i samarbete med OCD genetikstudien

Skärmavbild 2017-08-24 kl. 09.41.02WeMind Ångest och Depression Stockholm är den senaste och tionde kliniken som ansluter sig till studien. I OCD genetikstudien ämnar vi att samla in 5000 DNA-prover från personer med tvångssyndrom, dysmorfofobi, samlarsyndrom, tics eller Tourettes syndrom. För att nå detta mål behöver vi samarbeta med mottagningar där de här personerna finns.

Vi är mycket glada att få samarbeta med just WeMind då de håller hög kvalitet gällande bedömning, diagnostik och behandling. De har också väl etablerade rutiner för att mäta och utvärdera behandlingsresultat vilket är ett viktigt bidrag till studien. Vi tänker nämligen inte bara analysera DNA, utan samlar också in en stor mängd fenotypdata, eller kliniska data. Det bidrar till att öka vår kunskap om saker som hur de här patienterna har de och hur de svarar på behandling.

Du kan läsa mer om studien här.


Rücklab visits professor Thalia Eley & EDIT lab at King’s college, London

Thalia Eley is professor of developmental behavioural genetics at SGDP centre, Institute of psychiatry, King’s College, London. She is also head of EDIT lab where the research focuses on the genetic and environmental effects on development and treatment of anxiety and depression amongst children.

IMG_0070Christian Rück, Thalia Eley, Evelyn Andersson, Julia Boberg & Chris
Rayner outside EDIT lab.

The EDIT lab team aim to explore why anxiety and depression disorders to some extend run in the family. On one hand they do twin studies to explore how much of variation in a phenotype, i.e. anxiety disorders, could be explained by genetic variance and on the other hand they perform studies on environmental factors to explore to what extent variation could be explained by nurture.

The BioPoRT project is a part of IAPT (Increasing access to psychological treatment) in the UK. The aim of  BioPoRT is to find predictors for treatment outcome, exploring both demographic variables as well as clinical and genetic factors. The latter is called therapygenetics, a term coined by Thalia Eley a few years ago.

Additionally the team do research on information processing.

We got a tour of the actual lab by the centre laboratory manager Bernard Freeman, where the whole genome sequencing (GWAS) is being executed. He showed us DNA extracted from salmon sperm and some very high tech machinery.

IMG_0077GWAS chip

IMG_0074Bernard Freeman with the double helix

The team also run the EDIT lab blog, a great source for novel research, interesting chronicles about bringing research into daily life hazzle (such as making your baby sleep) and the challenges one could face when working as a researcher.

Much of the work done at EDIT lab is related to the genetics work done at Rücklab, although our experience and knowledge in the field is a bit more scant. We look forward to future collaborations with the EDIT lab team.