Dirk Lichtermann

University of Oulu, Uleoborg, Northern Ostrobothnia, Finland

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Publications (121)730.52 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We studied the concurrent, predictive, and discriminate validity of psychopathology scales (e.g., schizotypal and depressive) and temperament traits for hospitalisations due to major depression. Temperament, perceptual aberration, physical and social anhedonia, Depression Subscale of Symptom Checklist (SCL-D), Hypomanic Personality Scale, Schizoidia Scale, and Bipolar II Scale were completed as part of the 31-year follow-up survey of the prospective Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort (n = 4941; 2214 males). Several of the scales were related to depression. Concurrent depression was especially related to higher perceptual aberration (effect size when compared to controls, d = 1.29), subsequent depression to high scores in SCL-D (d = 0.48). Physical anhedonia was lower in subjects with subsequent depression than those with other psychiatric disorders (d = -0.33, nonsignificant). Participants with concurrent (d = 0.70) and subsequent (d = 0.54) depression had high harm avoidance compared to controls, while differences compared to other psychiatric patients were small. Subjects with depression differed from healthy controls in most of the scales. Many of the scales were useful predictors for future hospital treatments, but were not diagnosis-specific. High harm avoidance is a potential indicator for subsequent depression.
    Depression research and treatment 08/2012; 2012(1):160905. DOI:10.1155/2012/160905
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    ABSTRACT: Genetic evidence implicates the DISC1 gene in the etiology of a number of mental illnesses. Previously, we have reported association between DISC1 and measures of psychosis proneness, the Revised Social Anhedonia Scale (RSAS) and Revised Physical Anhedonia Scale (RPAS), in the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 (NFBC66). As part of the studies of this Finnish birth cohort genome-wide association analysis has recently been performed. In the present study, we re-analyzed the genome-wide association data with regard to these two measures of psychosis proneness, conditioning on our previous DISC1 observation. From the original NFBC66 sample (N = 12 058), 4 561 individuals provided phenotype and genotype data. No markers were significant at the genome-wide level. However, several genes with biological relevance to mental illnesses were highlighted through loci displaying suggestive evidence for association (≥3 SNP with P<10E-4). These included the protein coding genes, CXCL3, KIAA1128, LCT, MED13L, TMCO7, TTN, and the micro RNA MIR620. By conditioning a previous genome-wide association study on DISC1, we have been able to identify eight genes as associating to psychosis proneness. Further, these molecules predominantly link to the DISC1 pathway, strengthening the evidence for the role of this gene network in the etiology of mental illness. The use of quantitative measures of psychosis proneness in a large population cohort will make these findings, once verified; more generalized to a broad selection of disorders related to psychoses and psychosis proneness.
    PLoS ONE 02/2012; 7(2):e30643. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0030643 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We study the predictive power and associations of several psychopathology and temperament scales with respect to schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. Measures of psychopathology (Physical and Social Anhedonia Scales, Perceptual Aberration Scale, Hypomanic Personality Scale, Bipolar II Scale, and Schizoidia Scale) and the Temperament and Character Inventory were included in the 31-year follow-up of the prospective Northern Finland 1966 birth cohort (N = 4926). The Perceptual Aberration Scale was the best scale for concurrent validity in psychoses, and also the best psychopathology scale in terms of discriminant validity. Participants scoring high in hypomanic personality were at the highest risk for developing psychosis during the 11-year follow-up. Harm avoidance was a dominant temperament dimension in individuals with psychosis compared with participants without psychiatric diagnoses. These scales are useful as vulnerability markers in studying psychoses.
    The Journal of nervous and mental disease 04/2011; 199(4):230-8. DOI:10.1097/NMD.0b013e3182125d2c · 1.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present psychometric properties and normative data by gender and educational level in scales related to schizotypy and affective disorders in a large population-based adult sample. As part of the 31-year follow-up survey of the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort; Bipolar II scale (BIP2), Hypomanic Personality Scale (HPS), Physical Anhedonia Scale (PAS), Social Anhedonia Scale (SAS), Perceptual Aberration Scale (PER) and Schizoidia Scale (SCHD) were filled in by 4928 subjects. In total sample mean scores were: BIP2 10.59 (3.80), HPS 11.26 (7.03), PAS 14.99 (S.D. 7.03), SAS 9.44 (5.52), PER 2.35 (3.26) and SCHD 2.56 (1.42). Men scored higher (had more psychopathological symptoms) in PAS and SAS (P<0.001), and in BIP2 (P=0.02). Women had higher scores in SCHD, HPS and PER (P<0.001). Participants with a lower level of education scored higher in all scales; differences were largest in BIP2, PAS and SAS (ES>0.5,P<0.001). The gender and education differences were moderate or large in all the included scales. These differences should be taken into account when considering normal values in these scales. The findings indicate that commonly used student samples are likely to be biased when compared to community based samples.
    Psychiatry Research 07/2010; 178(2):408-13. DOI:10.1016/j.psychres.2008.07.022 · 2.47 Impact Factor

  • Schizophrenia Research 04/2010; 117(2-3):454-455. DOI:10.1016/j.schres.2010.02.847 · 3.92 Impact Factor
  • Jayanti Chotai · Matti Joukamaa · Anja Taanila · Dirk Lichtermann · Jouko Miettunen ·
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    ABSTRACT: Earlier general population studies have shown that novelty seeking (NS) of the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) of personality is lower for persons born in winter compared to those born in summer, particularly for women. Here, we investigate if this result can be replicated in another population. The Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort, comprising 4968 subjects (2725 women, 2243 men), was investigated with regard to the temperament dimensions of the TCI and the season of birth. Novelty seeking and reward dependence (RD) showed significant variations according to the month of birth. We found that women born during winter have significantly lower levels of NS compared to women born during summer, with a minimum for the birth month November and maximum for May. These results are similar to those found in a previous Swedish study. Furthermore, our study showed that men born during spring had significantly lower mean scores of RD compared to men born during autumn, with a minimum for birth month March. This was in contrast to the Swedish study, where the minimum of RD was obtained for the birth month December. Women born in winter have lower NS as adults compared to women born in summer. Because NS is modulated by dopamine, this study gives further support to the studies in the literature that show that dopamine turnover for those born in winter is higher than for those born in summer.
    Comprehensive psychiatry 11/2009; 50(6):562-6. DOI:10.1016/j.comppsych.2008.11.010 · 2.25 Impact Factor
  • Frank Musshoff · Katrin Lachenmeier · Dirk Lichtermann · Burkhard Madea ·
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    ABSTRACT: One month before (T-1) and 12 months after (T12) controlled i.v. administration of pharmaceutical heroin-HCl (10-100 mg/day) in the context of a heroin maintenance program (HMP), concentrations of opiates and cocaine as well as its metabolites were determined in head hair (n = 46) using a validated gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric method. In addition, a patient collective of a methadone maintenance program (MMP, daily doses 15-260 mg) was examined (n = 35). The incidence of additional cocaine consumption decreased in both groups during the study period (T-1 to T12): in HMP from 64.6% to 45.8% and in MMP from 71.4% to 60.0%. A significant reduction of cocaine consumption was defined as an at least 30% reduction of analyte concentrations in hair (Deltac > 30%). Accordingly, in HMP, a decrease in 45.8% of initially (T-1) cocaine-positive patients was determined; in MMP, the reduction was 48.6%. In 22.9% of HMP and 37.1% of MMP, an increase of cocaine concentrations was detected. Codeine and acetylcodeine were found in 50.0% and 43.5% (T-1) and 13.0% and 10.9% (T12) of the samples of the HMP, as well as in 45.7% and 25.7% (T-1) and 17.1% and 5.7% (T12) in MMP, respectively. The missing of acetylcodeine, in particular at T-1, questions its applicability as a characteristic marker of a preceding consumption of illicit heroin in hair analysis.
    Deutsche Zeitschrift für die Gesamte Gerichtliche Medizin 09/2009; 123(5):363-9. DOI:10.1007/s00414-008-0272-0 · 2.71 Impact Factor
  • Frank Musshoff · Jens Trafkowski · Dirk Lichtermann · Burkhard Madea ·
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    ABSTRACT: Urine samples of patients from a heroin maintenance program (HMP) and a methadone maintenance program (MMP) were chromatographically analyzed 1 month before and 6 and 12 months into treatment for the presence of classical markers of heroin use as well as for the presence of markers for illicit heroin abuse. Furthermore, the samples were immunochemically tested for cannabinoids, cocaine metabolites, amphetamine, methylendioxyamphetamines and benzodiazepines. A co-consumption of illicit heroin (HER) in the HMP was determined to be 50% but was significantly lower compared to the MMP with a co-use of 71%. The incidence was high because not only acetylcodeine (AC) as a very specific marker was considered but also other marker substances for illicit HER use. Amphetamines played only a minor part in both collectives, and the proportion of HER and methadone patients using cocaine was similar and decreased during treatment. Also, the benzodiazepine use decreased, and cannabis use was high in both collectives during treatment. Considering only the AC in the present study, a co-use of illicit HER in the HMP was similar to previous reports concerning HER-assisted treatment programs. If additional marker substances were examined, the suspicion of a co-use of illicit HER is markedly enhanced.
    Deutsche Zeitschrift für die Gesamte Gerichtliche Medizin 09/2009; 124(5):499-503. DOI:10.1007/s00414-009-0361-8 · 2.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There is an abundance of data from human genetic studies and animal models that implies a role for the disrupted in schizophrenia 1 gene (DISC1) in the etiology of schizophrenia and other major mental illnesses. To study the effect of previously identified risk alleles of DISC1 on quantitative intermediate phenotypes for psychosis in an unselected population. We examined 41 single-nucleotide polymorphisms within DISC1 and performed tests of association with 4 quantitative phenotypes. Academic research. Individuals from an unselected birth cohort in Finland. Originally, everyone born in the catchment area in 1966 (N = 12 058) was included in the study. Of these, 4651 (38.6%) attended the 31-year follow-up and could be included in the study. Scores on 4 psychometric instruments selected to function as proxies for positive and negative aspects of psychotic disorders, including the Perceptual Aberration Scale, Revised Social Anhedonia Scale, Revised Physical Anhedonia Scale, and Schizoidia Scale by Golden and Meehl. Carriers of the minor allele of marker rs821577 had significantly higher scores on social anhedonia (P < .001). The minor allele of marker rs821633 was strongly associated with lower scores on social anhedonia when analyzed dependent on the absence of the minor alleles of markers rs1538979 and rs821577 (P < .001). Variants in DISC1 affect the level of social anhedonia, a cardinal symptom of schizophrenia in the general population. DISC1 might be more central to human psychological functioning than previously thought, as it seems to affect the degree to which people enjoy social interactions.
    Archives of general psychiatry 02/2009; 66(2):134-41. DOI:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2008.524 · 14.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to describe the temperament dimension profiles assessed by the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) among young adults with the DSM-III-R personality disorder (PD). Our hypothesis was that PD clusters and separate PDs can be distinguished from one another by their specific temperament profiles. As a part of the 31-year follow-up survey of the prospective Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort, the cohort members living in the city of Oulu at the age of 31 years (n=1609) were invited to participate in a two-phase field study. The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R for PDs (SCID-II) was used as diagnostic instrument. The final study sample consisted of the 1311 subjects who had completed the Hopkins Symptom Check List-25 questionnaire for screening and had given a written informed consent. Of the 321 SCID interviewed subjects, 74 met the criteria for at least one PD and had completed the TCI. The mean TCI scores of subjects with PD and control subjects without PD (n=910) were compared. Low Novelty Seeking, high Harm Avoidance and low Reward Dependence characterized cluster A and C PDs. Subjects with a cluster B PD did not differ from controls, except for Novelty Seeking, which was high. The temperament dimensions could not distinguish different PDs very well, with the only exception of persons with obsessive-compulsive PD. PD clusters were associated with different profiles of temperament, lending some support for Cloninger's typology.
    Nordic journal of psychiatry 11/2008; 62(6):423-30. DOI:10.1080/08039480801959224 · 1.34 Impact Factor

  • Schizophrenia Research 06/2008; 102(1):154-154. DOI:10.1016/S0920-9964(08)70469-9 · 3.92 Impact Factor

  • European Psychiatry 04/2008; 23. DOI:10.1016/j.eurpsy.2008.01.842 · 3.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Heroin-assisted treatment (HAT) is a new form of treatment for heroin-dependent patients not responding to conventional interventions such as methadone maintenance treatment. No pregnancies or births under HAT have been reported until now. The pregnancy course of a 31-year-old severely dependent multi-morbid woman receiving HAT and the birth of a healthy baby after premature delivery is described. HAT helped to reduce the use of illicit substances both before and during pregnancy. The neonatal abstinence syndrome was clinically well compensated. HAT seems to be feasible in pregnant women and normal birth is possible under HAT, which therefore may act as a harm reduction measure for polydrug-using pregnant women not responding to methadone maintenance treatment.
    European Addiction Research 02/2008; 14(2):113-4. DOI:10.1159/000113726 · 2.10 Impact Factor

  • Schizophrenia Research 02/2008; 98:74-74. DOI:10.1016/j.schres.2007.12.166 · 3.92 Impact Factor

  • European Psychiatry 03/2007; 22. DOI:10.1016/j.eurpsy.2007.01.1094 · 3.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We assessed the temperament profiles of young adult somatizers in an epidemiological setting. We hypothesized that somatizers would have a characteristic temperament profile. The sample consisted of 984 subjects at the age of 31 years. Data on somatization were gathered from a review of all public health outpatient records. Subjects with four or more somatization symptoms according to the DSM-III-R criteria were classified as somatizers. Temperament profiles were assessed using the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI). Six males (1.3%) and 61 females (11.5%) met our criteria for somatization. Harm avoidance and reward dependence of the TCI profiles were associated with somatization symptoms in the whole sample. In logistic regression analysis, sex and psychological distress were associated with somatization but not with temperament profiles. We did not find a characteristic temperament profile for somatizers. This finding is in contrast to suggestions that somatization is associated with temperament profiles.
    Journal of Psychosomatic Research 01/2007; 61(6):841-6. DOI:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2006.06.014 · 2.74 Impact Factor

  • Archives of general psychiatry 08/2006; 63(8):939-940. DOI:10.1001/archpsyc.63.8.939-b · 14.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The brain synaptic vesicular amine transporter SLCA18A2 is a key component for the uptake of monoamines like dopamine or serotonin into vesicles. We have analyzed seven DNA polymorphisms located in the genomic region of SLC18A2 for association with alcohol- and nicotine dependence, using a family-based design. Our sample comprised 131 families with alcohol-dependent offspring and 96 families with at least one nicotine-dependent offspring. For the alcohol-dependent sample, we found statistical significant association for two single markers (rs363387, P=0.03; rs363333, P=0.0066) as well as for several haplotypes (minimal P=0.0038). When the sample with alcohol dependence was stratified according to gender, we observed increased association for the male subgroup (rs363387, P=0.0011). None of the markers showed association in the sample of families with nicotine dependence. However, analysis of a combined sample of alcohol and nicotine-dependent families resulted in single markers as well as several haplotypes showing statistical significant association with substance dependence (minimal P=0.0044). We conclude that DNA polymorphisms located in SLC18A2 might contribute to the development of substance dependence.
    Neuropsychopharmacology 01/2006; 30(12):2263-8. DOI:10.1038/sj.npp.1300809 · 7.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: One month before (T-1) and 12 months after (T12) controlled intravenous administration of pharmaceutical heroin-HCl (10-1000 mg/d) in the context of a heroin-maintenance program, concentrations of opiates in head hair were determined (n = 46), using a validated gas chromatography-mass spectrometry method with limits of detection (LOD) between 0.02 and 0.04 ng/mg. In addition, a collective of opiate-associated fatalities was examined (n = 24). The obtained concentrations in the proximal segment (1 cm) of the patients were between 0.04 and 1.16 ng/mg (mean 0.13 ng/mg) for heroin (HER), between 0.02 and 32.41 ng/mg (mean 1.48 ng/mg) for 6-monoacetylmorphine (MAM) and between 0.03 and 11.79 ng/mg (mean 1.19 ng/mg) for morphine (MOR). With the exception of the analyte HER, there was no other statistically significant difference in the concentrations in comparison to the opiate fatalities [HER 1.55-5.20 ng/mg mean 3.38 ng/mg), MAM 0.04-30.01 ng/mg (mean 2.14 ng/mg), and MOR 0.03-11.87 ng/mg (mean 1.15 ng/mg) in the proximal segments]. After controlled HER administration, a correlation between the dose and the total opiate concentration in the hair was found (r = 0.66). These results disagree with the observations of authors who found only limited dose-concentration relationships after heroin abuse in hair. When considering a single analyte, the coefficient of correlation increased in correspondence to the respective plasma half-life (r = 0.42, r = 0.58, and r = 0.69 for HER, MAM, and MOR). The latter findings are in agreement with the report that states that this correlation is influenced by the plasma half-lifes of analytes. Codeine and acetylcodeine (AC) were detected in 50% and 43.5% (T-1) and 13% and 10.9% (T12) of the samples of the HER-maintenance program, as well as in 33.3% and 16.7% in opiate-associated fatalities, respectively. The lack of differences between obtained opiate concentrations in the hair of participants in a controlled heroin maintenance program and of opiate-associated fatalities does not support the hypothesis that an absence of tolerance can be regarded as a potential cause of death. In addition, the lack of AC, which was also observed in the majority of the deaths, questions its applicability as a characteristic marker of the consumption of illicit heroin.
    Journal of analytical toxicology 07/2005; 29(5):345-52. DOI:10.1093/jat/29.5.345 · 2.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This paper investigates the effect of risk aversion on an individual's probability of being self-employed by using psychometric data from a large, population-based cohort of Finns born in 1966. We found that our measure of risk aversion, a facet of a basic temperament dimension, harm avoidance, has a significant negative effect on self-employment status. Since this measure is directly derived from a highly valid biosocial theory of normal personality variation (Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 44 (1987) 573) whose scalable dimensions manifest well before adulthood and remain stabile over lifetime, we argue that risk aversion is a psychological factor causative of the choice to become self-employed. ©2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Labour Economics 02/2005; 12(5-12):649-659. DOI:10.1016/j.labeco.2004.02.009 · 0.92 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

4k Citations
730.52 Total Impact Points


  • 2008
    • University of Oulu
      • Department of Psychiatry
      Uleoborg, Northern Ostrobothnia, Finland
  • 1995-2007
    • University of Bonn
      • • Institute of Human Genetics
      • • Institut für Rechtsmedizin
      • • Klinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie
      Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 1998-2005
    • National Public Health Institute
      Helsinki, Southern Finland Province, Finland
    • Hebrew University of Jerusalem
      Yerushalayim, Jerusalem, Israel
  • 1999
    • Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
      Torrance, California, United States
  • 1996
    • Stanford University
      Palo Alto, California, United States
  • 1990-1996
    • Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
      Mayence, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
  • 1992
    • University of Wuerzburg
      Würzburg, Bavaria, Germany