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Neurobiological Psychiatry

Group: Willem Verhoeven

This theme combines psychiatric, psychometric, and psychophysiological measurements with genetic and neurobiological (neuroanatomical, neurophysiological and neurochemical) investigations. Emotional and autonomic disturbances are investigated in relation to perceptual, motivational and psychomotor disturbances in adult patients with developmental mental disorders, psychotic disorders, depressive disorders or pre- and postpartum mental disorders.

In addition, the effectiveness of neurobiological interventions, like psychopharmacological and electroconvulsive therapy, is investigated, related to genetic mechanisms.

A separate group focuses on the behavioural phenotypes in mentally retarded patients with psychiatric symptoms and/or behavioural abnormalities, with special emphasis on the relationship between genetic aetiology and dimensions of symptoms.

ResearchDescription research
The main topics under investigation are the interaction between genes, brain and behaviour, functional/dimensional psychiatric diagnosis and neurobiological aspects of psychoses.

The first theme covers in particular the study of the so called behavioural and psychopathological phenotypes i.e. the presence of a specific profile of development, behaviour and (atypical) psychiatric symptoms in genetic disorders such as e.g. Prader-Willi syndrome, 22q11 deletion syndrome and 9q subtelomeric deletion syndrome.

The second theme comprises the dissection of a psychopathological syndrome in combinations of symptoms that may reflect disturbances in neurobiological systems like dopamine dysfunction in apathy syndrome and increased vulnerability to stress related symptoms in patients with intellectual disabilities.

Finally, the neurobiology of psychoses is studied by means of among others measurement of neurotrophic peptides, neopterin and amino acid profile. For diagnostic purposes, not only DSM-IV and ICD-10 criteria are used but also the criteria as proposed by Leonhard, particularly those of the cycloid psychoses.

Research group Willem Verhoeven

Faculty PhD Students
Dr. J.I.M. Egger Drs. I. Dary-Ouwens
Dr. M. Schneider Drs. N.W.A. van de Kerkhof
Prof. Dr. W.M.A. Verhoeven Drs. P. Steylen
Drs. P.A.M. Wingbermühle