Last updated on June 2019

Biological Classification of Mental Disorders


Brief description of study

BeCOME intends to include at least 1000 individuals with a broad spectrum of affective, anxiety and stress-related mental disorders as well as 500 individuals unaffected by mental disorders. After a screening visit, all participants undergo in-depth phenotyping procedures and omics assessments on two consecutive days. Several validated paradigms (e.g., fear conditioning, reward anticipation, imaging stress test) are applied to stimulate a response in a basic system of human functioning (e.g., acute threat response, reward processing, stress response) that plays a key role in the development of affective, anxiety and stress-related mental disorders. The response to this stimulation is then read out across multiple levels. Assessments comprise omics, physiological, neuroimaging, neurocognitive, psychophysiological and psychometric measurements. The multilevel information collected in BeCOME will be used to identify data-driven biologically-informed categories of mental disorders using cluster analytical techniques. A subgroup of affected individuals (patients of the outpatients clinic of the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry) are longitudinally observed regarding the stability of omics markers, vital parameters and symptom severity.

Detailed Study Description

Background

A major research finding in the field of Biological Psychiatry is that symptom-based categories of mental disorders map poorly onto dysfunctions in brain circuits or neurobiological pathways. Many of the identified (neuro)biological dysfunctions are "transdiagnostic", meaning that they do not reflect diagnostic boundaries but are shared by different ICD/DSM diagnoses. The compromised biological validity of the current classification system for mental disorders impedes rather than supports the development of treatments that not only target symptoms but also the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms. The Biological Classification of Mental Disorders (BeCOME) study aims to identify biology-based classes of mental disorders that improve the translation of novel biomedical findings into tailored clinical applications.

Methods

BeCOME intends to include at least 1000 affected individuals (recruited through advertisements/self-referral or visits in the institute's outpatient clinic or in collaborating practices) with a broad spectrum of affective, anxiety and stress-related mental disorders as well as 500 individuals unaffected by mental disorders (advertisements/self-referral). After a screening visit, all participants undergo in-depth phenotyping procedures and omics assessments on two consecutive days. Several validated paradigms (e.g., fear conditioning, reward anticipation, imaging stress test) are applied to stimulate a response in a basic system of human functioning (e.g., acute threat response, reward processing, stress response) that plays a key role in the development of affective, anxiety and stress-related mental disorders. The response to this stimulation is then read out across multiple levels. Assessments comprise omics, physiological, neuroimaging, neurocognitive, psychophysiological and psychometric measurements. The multilevel information collected in BeCOME will be used to identify data-driven biologically-informed categories of mental disorders using cluster analytical techniques. Moreover, the subgroup of patients from the outpatient clinic of the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry is followed-up at study days 14, 28 and 56 as well as 4 and 12 months after baseline for changes in a subset of parameters (omics, vital parameters and selected psychometric measures).

Discussion

The novelty of BeCOME lies in the dynamic in-depth phenotyping and omics characterization of individuals with mental disorders from the depression and anxiety spectrum of varying severity. The investigators believe that such biology-based subclasses of mental disorders will serve as better treatment targets than purely symptom-based disease entities, and help in tailoring the right treatment to the individual patient suffering from a mental disorder. BeCOME has the potential to contribute to a novel taxonomy of mental disorders that integrates the underlying pathomechanisms into diagnoses.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03984084

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Recruitment Status: Open


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