Welcoming Olly Kravchenko

We are happy to announce that Olly Kravchenko just joined the Rück research lab as our new PhD student!

Photo: Micke Sandström

Olly has a background in project management, product testing, and user experience research in tech start-ups. She also has a MSc in German and English Language & Literature (Kyiv National Linguistic University) and a MSc in Public Health Sciences (Stockholm University). She recently finished an internship at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Karolinska Institutet, working on a genetically informed research project using data from the Swedish Twin Registry.

Here at the Rück Research Lab, Olly will mainly be working with the PRiSMED project, with John Wallert as main supervisor and Christian Rück as co-supervisor.

About the project
PRiSMED: Predicting health and socioeconomic outcomes in patients with common psychiatric disorders

Depression, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder are common mental disorders with a combined point prevalence of 15%. Almost 50% of diagnoses leading to sick-leave in Sweden are psychiatric and their share is increasing. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is first-line treatment for these conditions. Yet, 30-60% of patients will not respond to CBT. Several predictors of CBT outcome have been proposed. Results are mixed and lack predictive acuity to guide clinical decisions. Prediction studies using larger samples and multimodal data (clinical, register, genetic) are urgently needed. Coupled with advanced modelling, we could augment precision psychiatry allowing for tailored intervention and cost-effective resource use.

The project main purpose is improved outcome prediction for common mental disorders in routine clinical care. We will build prediction models for both clinical CBT outcomes (e.g., remission) and long-term outcomes (e.g., poverty) using multimodal data on 5,000 genotyped and register-linked patients treated with CBT – the hitherto largest data collection of its kind.

The project has three aims. Aim 1 uses traditional statistical methods to identify group-level predictors for these outcomes. Aim 2 applies Machine Learning (ML) to identify which individual will experience these outcomes. Aim 3 will plan and initiate a trial comparing a developed ML algorithm versus clinicians at predicting remission in prospective CBT patients.

New publication: Implementation of ICBT for OCD in UK’s IAPT system

Another new publication by Oskar Flygare et al!

Implementing therapist-guided internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy for obsessive–compulsive disorder in the UK’s IAPT programme: A pilot trial

Digital therapies such as internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (ICBT) can improve treatment access for patients with common mental disorders, but are rarely used in the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme in the United Kingdom. The objective of this study was to evaluate an evidence-based ICBT intervention for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD-NET) in three IAPT services in an open trial.

Consecutively referred patients with a primary diagnosis of OCD (= 474) were offered OCD-NET. Symptoms of OCD, depression, anxiety, and level of functioning were measured weekly throughout treatment.

In the full intention to treat sample (= 474), the intervention was associated with large reductions in self-reported OCD symptoms (d = 1.77), anxiety (d = 1.55) and depression (d = 0.8), as well as improvements in functional impairment (d = 0.51 to 0.72). Further, 35% of participants were in recovery at their last assessment, 25% achieved reliable improvement and 15% met criteria for both recovery and improvement. Among participants completing at least 4 modules (= 261), corresponding to an adequate ‘dose’ of treatment, the rates of recovery (44%), reliable improvement (34%) and reliable recovery (21%) were higher. A majority of participants were satisfied with the online treatment and found the online materials helpful.

OCD-NET is an effective treatment when delivered in regular care within the IAPT system. Challenges associated with implementing ICBT in regular health care are discussed.

Rates of recovery, reliable change, and reliable recovery using the first and last assessments on the OCI-R and PHQ-9

Maria Bragesjö receives award for clinical contributions

Maria Bragesjö has received the Swedish Behavioral Therapy Association’s (Beteendeterapeutiska föreningen BTF) award for clinical contributions.

The nomination mentioned Maria’s clinical efforts as a therapist learning and teaching Prolonged Exposure therapy (PE), a specific type of cognitive behavioral therapy that teaches individuals to gradually approach trauma-related memories. It also acknowledged her research focusing on developing early interventions for trauma and PTSD, including the CIPE (Condensed Internet-delivered Prolonged Exposure) method.

Maria Bragesjö is a lic. psychologist, PhD, lic. psychotherapist, a specialist in clinical psychology and psychological manager at the Trauma Program at Psykiatri Sydväst. She joined the research group in September 2021 and registered as a postdoc in January 2022. Her research focuses on trauma and PTSD, specifically on early interventions for potentially traumatic events and different ways to effectively treat PTSD and complex PTSD.


PTP-psykolog sökes

Till hösten söker vi en forskningsintresserad PTP-psykolog till vår grupp!

I forskargruppen pågår ett flertal projekt kring psykologisk behandling, bland annat studier av så kallad Bergen 4 dagars behandling men också flera andra studier kring flera olika diagnoser. Ett annat forskningsfokus är prediktiv modellering av behandlingsutfall samt suicid. Utmattningssyndrom är ett annat fokusområde. Vilket forskningsprojekt som är aktuellt i denna tjänst avgörs i samråd med den sökande.

De kliniska delarna utgör hälften av arbetstiden och genomförs i våra FoU-projekt och på klinikens vårdenheter. Du ska under handledning bedriva psykiatriskt bedömnings- och behandlingsarbete. Det psykiatriska behandlingsarbetet vilar på KBT, varför dokumenterat goda kunskaper i KBT är meriterande, liksom erfarenhet av projektarbete och projektledning.

Tjänsten utlyses av Psykiatri Sydväst och där utlyses även två PTP-platser till Viktor Kaldos forskargrupp.

Läs mer och ansök här.

English translation: We are hiring a psychology intern (PTP-psykolog) for a 50/50 research/clinical employment at the Rück research lab and at Psykiatri Sydväst.

Elin Lindsäter receives grant for primary care research

Elin Lindsäter recently received a two-year grant, “clinical postdoc in primary care”!  🎊

The grant is a part of a larger fund announcement within primary care. The SLSO Research, Development and Education commettee (SLSO’s FoUU-kommitté) describes the investment as an effort to strengthen and renew the clinically oriented medical research that improves and develops healthcare, with a focus on the role of primary care in the healthcare system.

Elin Lindsäter is a lic. Psychologist and PhD at Karolinska Institutet. She works at Gustavsberg primary care center where she, along with her clinical research, works with education and implementation of evidence-based treatments for conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders and stress-related disorders. 

Internet CBT vs face-to-face CBT for OCD

New publication by research group members Lina Lundström and Oskar Flygare!

Cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a highly specialized treatment that is in short supply worldwide. This study aimed to investigate whether therapist-guided internet-delivered CBT (ICBT) is non-inferior to face-to-face CBT for adults with OCD. Secondary objectives were to investigate if ICBT could be equally effective without therapist support (i.e. unguided), to conduct a health-economic evaluation, and to determine whether treatment effects were moderated by source of participant referral.

A consecutive sample of 120 adults with a primary diagnosis of OCD, either self-referred or referred by a clinician, were randomized to receive guided ICBT (n=42), unguided ICBT (n=40) or face-to-face CBT (n= 38) delivered over 14 weeks. The main outcome measure was change in OCD symptom severity according to the clinician rated Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) from baseline to 3-month follow-up (primary endpoint). The non-inferiority margin was set to 3 points on the Y-BOCS. 

Results: Of the 120 randomized participants, 80 (67%) were women with a mean age of 32 (SD = 9.64) years.The mean difference between therapist-guided ICBT and face-to-face CBT at the primary endpoint was 2.10 points on the Y-BOCS (90% CI -0.41 to 4.61), P = .17, favoring face-to-face CBT, meaning that the primary non-inferiority results were inconclusive. The difference between unguided ICBT and face-to-face CBT was 5.35 points (90% CI 2.76 to 7.94), P < .001), favoring face-to-face CBT. The health economic analysis showed that both guided and unguided ICBT were cost-effective compared to face-to-face CBT. Source of referral did not moderate treatment outcome. The most common adverse events were anxiety (25%), depressive symptoms (17%) and stress (9%).  

Conclusions and Relevance: In this randomized controlled trial of internet-based versus face-to-face cognitive behavioral therapy for adults with obsessive-compulsive disorder we could not conclusively demonstrate non-inferiority. Therapist-guided ICBT could be a cost-effective alternative to in-clinic CBT for adults with OCD in scenarios where traditional CBT is not readily available. Unguided ICBT is probably less efficacious but could be an alternative when providing remote clinician support is not feasible.

Read the article here.

Enkätstudie om problematiskt samlarbeteende under coronapandemin

Har du svårt att göra dig av med saker? Har det påverkats av coronapandemin?

Om du upplever att ditt samlande skapar problem för dig hoppas vi att du vill vara med i vår studie och hjälpa oss fylla i en anonym webbenkät:


Vi söker deltagare till en enkätstudie med syfte att undersöka coronapandemins påverkan på personer som har problem med samlande. Samlande kan bland annat bero på samlarsyndrom, vilket kännetecknas av att den drabbade har så stora svårigheter att slänga saker att hemmet blir belamrat och inte kan användas (helt eller delvis). Tillståndet kan leda till flera negativa konsekvenser både på individ- och samhällsnivå.

Eftersom vi inte kan diagnosticera deltagarna via internet använder vi formuleringen problematiskt samlarbeteende i stället för samlarsyndrom. 

Tryck här för att komma till enkäten.

English translation: We are looking for participants to a survey (in Swedish) about problematic hoarding behavior. Hoarding syndrome is characterized by difficulties discarding possessions which leads to cluttering in the home and ultimately to negative consequences on both the individual and the societal level.

Postdoctoral Researcher in Precision Psychiatry

We are now looking for a postdoctoral researcher for a two-year employment. You will be working with statistical modelling in two different studies. In both studies you will collaborate with colleagues at Oxford University (UK), University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (US) and collaborators in Sweden.

Study 1 is a registry study led by John Wallert and focused on risk factors for suicide among psychiatric patients that have experienced compulsive mental careled. Temporal trends in the risk of suicide and also stratified risks by gender and age will be studied. Forty years of nationwide registry data with over 100,000 recorded compulsory care episodes defines the cohort to be studied. The work involves application of your expertise as epidemiologist/biostatistician to estimate absolute and relative risk of suicide. Your role also involves the production of scientific articles. There is also ample possibility to construct instruments that predict risk based on the risk factors that we will discover, and possibilities to apply more advanced modelling appropriate for large-scale observational data.

In Study 2 you will be working with multimodal data (including genetic data) in a nationwide suicide cohort with the purpose of improving present prediction of suicide aiming to derive and validate better risk models for suicide in the total population. Study 2 also provides the opportunity to apply both well-established statistical modelling and newer machine learning methodology.  

Read more and apply here.

Doctoral (PhD) student position in Precision Psychiatry

📣 We are looking for a PhD student interested in Precision Psychiatry to join our team! 📣

The overarching purpose of your PhD project is to improve routine-care predictions of post cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) outcomes for common mental disorders. Our developed prediction models will be focused on avoiding unnecessary treatment failures, minimizing adverse long-term health and socioeconomic events, and promoting effective use of psychiatric resources. Today, there is a general lack of accurate prognostic risk tools implemented in routine psychiatric care, which directly hampers our possibilities for timely and cost-effective tailored intervention and care. The main objective of your PhD project is thus to construct and validate prediction models for both clinical CBT outcomes and long-term register outcomes using the world’s largest multimodal database in the field (clinical, register-linked, and genetic data) including 5,000 individuals treated with CBT.

You will be supervised by John Wallert and co-supervised by Christian Rück.

Click here to read more and apply.

Two grants to research program about suicide prevention

In the end of 2021, project Saving lives received two grants: 4.9 million kronor from Forte (Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare) and 2.4 million kronor from The Swedish Research Council. The research program involves several members from the research group, and the principal investigator of the project is Christian Rück.

Congratulations! 🎯

Saving lives: Constructing a nationwide cohort with multimodal data to improve precision in prediction and prevention of suicide

Project summary:

Suicide is a major public health issue, causing severe impact on individuals and families, as well as relevant societal costs. In Sweden alone, ~70,000 years of potential life are lost each year due to suicide. Despite dedicated research efforts and prevention strategies, suicide-related outcomes are still difficult to predict and prevent. The goal of this research program is to utilize unique resources in Sweden to improve prediction of suicide by integrating environmental factors captured by national registers and genetic information using multi-modal modelling. 

In aim 1, we will create the world’s largest suicide biobank by collecting neonatal blood spots stored at the Swedish PKU biobank from 4,000 individuals that died by suicide, i.e. total coverage of all suicides in Sweden from 1975 and onwards. DNA will be extracted from each of these blood spots. Data from the national registers will be added, covering major risk factors across the lifetime (socioeconomic, demographic and medical). Further, blood spots and register data from 8000 matched controls with no suicidal outcomes will be available through collaboration. 

In aim 2, we will identify register-based risk factors and genetic variants associated with suicide by genotyping all DNA samples from cases and matched controls and performing a case-control genome-wide association study meta-analysis. 

In aim 3, we will combine hundreds of candidate suicide predictors from the national registers (covering demographics, socioeconomic status, In aim 3, we will combine hundreds of candidate suicide predictors from the national registers (covering demographics, socioeconomic status, electronic medical records, criminality) with genetic predictors (polygenic risk scores for suicide, depression, impulsivity, and substance misuse) using both established quantitative modelling and newer machine learning approaches.