Shany Edelman

Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Yerushalayim, Jerusalem, Israel

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Publications (16)50.94 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The efficacy of compounds having agonistic activity at the glycine site associated with the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) is presently assessed in psychiatric disorders. In contrast to NMDAR antagonists, the neuropsychiatric effects of NMDAR agonists in the healthy human organism are not known. We studied neuropsychiatric and neurochemical effects of the NMDAR-glycine site obligatory co-agonist D-serine (DSR) in healthy subjects using a randomized, controlled crossover challenge design including a baseline assessment day and two DSR/placebo administration days. Thirty-five subjects aged 23-29 years participated in the study and received a 2.1g orally administered DSR dose. The main outcome measures were the changes in scores of mood-related Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), Continuous Performance Test–Identical Pairs (CPT-IP), and Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT). DSR acute administration: (1) was well tolerated and resulted at 2 hours in ≥200 times increase in DSR serum levels; (2) elicited reduced VAS-measured depression and anxiety feelings; (3) improved attention and vigilance as measured by CPT-IP d-prime score; (4) preferentially improved performance in RAVLT list 7 reflecting ability to retain information over interference; (5) had significant but nonspecific effects on Category Fluency and Benton Visual Retention tests; and (6) did not affect glycine and glutamate serum levels. These data indicate that in healthy subjects, DSR reduces subjective feelings of sadness and anxiety and has procognitive effects that are overall opposed to the known effects of NMDAR antagonists. The findings are relevant to translational research of NMDAR function and the development of NMDAR-glycine site treatments for specific psychiatric entities.
    Journal of Psychiatric Research 12/2014; 61. DOI:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2014.12.007 · 4.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Empathy is the ability to recognize and share in the emotions of others. It can be considered a multi-faceted concept with cognitive and emotional aspects. Little is known regarding the underlying neurochemistry of empathy and in the current study we used a neurogenetic approach to explore possible brain neurotransmitter pathways contributing to cognitive and emotional empathy. Both the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) and the arginine vasopressin receptor 1a (AVPR1a) genes contribute to social cognition in both animals and humans and hence are prominent candidates for contributing to empathy. The following research examined the associations between polymorphisms in these two genes and individual differences in emotional and cognitive empathy in a sample of 367 young adults. Intriguingly, we found that emotional empathy was associated solely with OXTR whereas cognitive empathy was associated solely with AVPR1a. Moreover, no interaction was observed between the two genes and measures of empathy. The current findings contribute to our understanding of the distinct neurogenetic pathways involved in cognitive and emotional empathy and underscore the pervasive role of both oxytocin and vasopressin in modulating human emotions. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    Hormones and Behavior 12/2014; 67. DOI:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2014.11.007 · 4.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Increasing evidence points to a role of dopaminergic pathways in modulating social behavior. Specifically, a polymorphic region in the third exon of the Dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4) has been associated with a host of social behaviors, often in an environment-sensitive manner. Empathy is thought to be an important motivator of prosocial behaviors and can be seen as multifaceted, combining cognitive empathy (CE) and emotional empathy (EE). In the current study, we analyzed the association between DRD4 and the 2 aspects of empathy, as well as the effect of gender on this association. In Study 1, a large sample of adult participants (N = 477) was inventoried for general empathy, CE, and EE and genotyped for the DRD4 exon 3 polymorphism. Women scored higher than men on all empathy measures and no main effect of genotype was observed. It is important that a significant interaction between genotype and gender emerged specifically for CE, with women carriers of the 7R-allele scoring higher than noncarriers, whereas in men 7R-carriers scored lower than -7R. Notably, these findings were replicated in an independently recruited sample (N = 121) in Study 2. The current report shows that the DRD4 exon3 polymorphism is associated with CE and the direction of the association is gender-sensitive. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
    Emotion 05/2014; DOI:10.1037/a0036555 · 3.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The search for evolutionary forces shaping the diversity of human personality traits encouraged studies that have found that islanders are relatively closed and introverted, with little interest in the external world. The ‘personality gene flow’ hypothesis was proposed to explain the mechanism underlying this difference, suggesting that the frequency of alleles that influence islander personality traits might progressively increase in the gene pools on islands because of selective emigration of individuals not displaying these alleles. We genotyped 96 individuals from the Italian mainland and 117 from Giglio Island, whose residents were previously assessed regarding their personality traits. We genotyped three polymorphisms: the dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4) exon 3 repeat region, the serotonin-transporter SLC6A4 5-HTTLPR indel and the dopamine transporter SLC6A3 DAT1 3′UTR repeat region. Only the DRD4 exon 3 repeat was hypothesised to show varying allele frequencies because this polymorphism could be associated with human migration and personality traits such as extraversion, openness and novelty seeking. As predicted, no differences in allele frequencies were found for the SLC6A4 and SLC6A3 polymorphisms, whereas significant differences were observed in the frequency of the DRD4 exon 3 alleles. The DRD4.2 repeat was more common in mainlanders, as expected, whereas the DRD4.7 allele was over-represented among islanders who never emigrated. This last result contradicts the suggested association of this allele with long-distance migrations. We suggest that emigration might have caused gene flow out the island that resulted in somewhat unpredictable changes in the frequencies of specific alleles, thus influencing islander personality traits. Copyright © 2013 European Association of Personality Psychology
    European Journal of Personality 11/2013; 27(6). DOI:10.1002/per.1917 · 2.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite sharing common risk factors and biological pathways, the relationship between frailty and osteoporosis (OP) is not clear. This prospective study has shown that frailty defined by the Vulnerable Elders Survey can predict a decrease in bone mineral density after 1 year. Thus, frail older women should be assessed for osteoporosis. Frailty and OP share common risk factors such as age, sarcopenia, lack of physical activity, low body weight, and smoking. Despite shared risk factors and biological pathways, the relationship between frailty and OP is not clear. The purpose of our prospective study was to examine this relationship in a community sample of older women. A sample of 235 community-dwelling women was assessed for demographic, medical, frailty and OP status at baseline, and after at least 1 year. Frailty was assessed using the Cardiovascular Health study (CHS) frailty phenotype and using the Vulnerable Elders Survey (VES-13). OP was measured using dual photon absorptiometry bone mineral density (BMD). Descriptive statistics and regression models were used. At baseline, 235 women with a mean age of 77.6 (SD = 5.4), body mass index (BMI) of 28.3 (SD = 5.2) kg/m(2), and BMD of 0.7 (SD = 0.2) g/cm(2)were assessed. No correlation was found between BMD and the CHS (BMD spine, r = 0.009, p = 0.889; BMD hips, r = 0.050, p = 0.473) or the VES-13 (BMD spine, r = 0.034, p = 0.605; BMD hips, r = -0.042, p = 0.537) frailty scales. One hundred fifty-two (63.9 %) women were assessed after 1 year. In a regression model, women who were frail at baseline (VES-13) were found to have a statistically significantly lower hip and spine BMD at follow-up (controlling for BMI) than women who were non-frail at baseline (p = 0.0393, hip; p = 0.0069, spine). Frailty status as defined by the VES-13 predicts a decrease in BMD after 1 year.
    Osteoporosis International 09/2013; 25(2). DOI:10.1007/s00198-013-2471-x · 4.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Self-presentation refers to the behavioral strategies a person adopts to convey desired social images of oneself to other people. The Concern for Appropriateness Scale (CAS) measures a defensive and fearful social approach aimed at avoiding social threats whereas the Revised Self-Monitoring Scale (RSMS) measures an active and flexible social approach aimed at gaining power and status. In this study, a significant correlation was found between hypnotizability, as measured by the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale, Form C (SHSS:C) scores and CAS (r = .43, p = .002) but not between hypnotizability and RSMS (r = .070, p = .631). These results suggest that a protective self-presentation style may incline certain individuals to cooperate with hypnotic suggestions.
    International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis 04/2013; 61(2):183-92. DOI:10.1080/00207144.2013.753830
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    ABSTRACT: Self-control, involving processes such as delaying gratification, concentrating, planning, following instructions, and adapting emotions and behavior to situational requirements and social norms, may have a profound impact on children's adjustment. The importance of self-control suggests that parents are likely to modify their parenting based on children's ability for self-control. We study the effect of children's self-control, a trait partially molded by genetics, on their mothers' parenting, a process of evocative gene-environment correlation. Israeli 3.5-year-old twins (N = 320) participated in a lab session in which their mothers' parenting was observed. DNA was available from most children (N = 228). Mothers described children's self-control in a questionnaire. Boys were lower in self-control and received less positive parenting from their mothers, in comparison with girls. For boys, and not for girls, the serotonin transporter linked polymorphic region gene predicted mothers' levels of positive parenting, an effect mediated by boys' self-control. The implications of this evocative gene-environment correlation and the observed sex differences are discussed.
    Development and Psychopathology 02/2013; 25(1):151-62. DOI:10.1017/S095457941200096X · 4.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Evidence suggests that the reactivity of the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal axis (HPAA) is modulated by both genetic and environmental variables. Of special interest are the underlying molecular mechanisms driving gender differences to psychosocial stressors. Epigenetic mechanisms that sculpt the genome are ideal candidates for mediating the effects of signals on the HPAA. In the current study, we analyzed by pyrosequencing, bisulfite-treated buccal DNA from male and female university students who participated in the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST). A linear regression model was used to ascertain the effects of sex, CpG methylation and genes on stress response. Total cortisol output (area under the curve, AUC) was significantly predicted by glucocorticoid receptor (NR3C1) exon 1F methylation (averaged across 39 CpG sites) solely in female subjects. A single CpG site located in the exon 1F noncanonical nerve growth factor-inducible protein A (NGFI-A) transcription factor was a highly significant predictor of AUC in female subjects. Additionally, variations in the estrogen receptor alpha (ESR1) and the serotonin transporter promoter (5-HTTLPR) genes were independent additive predictors of AUC. The full model accounted for half of the variance (50.06%) in total cortisol output. Notably, this is the first demonstration that epigenetic changes at the GR exon 1F correlate with HPAA reactivity. These findings have important implications for understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying gender differences in stress-related disorders and underscore the unique value of modeling both epigenetic and genetic information in conferring vulnerability to stress.
    PLoS ONE 11/2012; 7(11):e48597. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0048597 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    European Neuropsychopharmacology 03/2012; 22:S23–S24. DOI:10.1016/S0924-977X(12)70025-1 · 5.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dopaminergic mechanisms have been theorized to influence hypnotizability and sensorimotor gating. In this study, the authors investigated an association between sensorimotor gating, as measured by prepulse inhibition (PPI), and hypnotizability, as assessed by the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale, Form C (SHSS:C). They found an inverse correlation between the SSHS:C and PPI. This finding, which replicates an earlier study, provides further evidence for a dopaminergic basis for hypnotizability and suggests additional avenues for research, including a method for possibly enhancing hypnotizability through pharmacological interventions.
    International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis 10/2011; 59(4):399-405. DOI:10.1080/00207144.2011.594678
  • European Neuropsychopharmacology 03/2011; 21. DOI:10.1016/S0924-977X(11)70029-3 · 5.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the startle response is a cross-species measure of sensorimotor gating that provides a valuable tool for assessing the capacity to effectively screen out irrelevant sensory input. Accumulating evidence suggests that PPI deficits may correlate with impairments in social cognition, i.e. the ability to construct representation about others, oneself and the relations between others and oneself. Social cognition deficits are commonly encountered within the framework of psychiatric disorders. In this study 113 healthy volunteers completed psychopyhsiological measures of sensorimotor gating (PPI) and social self-presentation style (the Concern for Appropriate (CAS) and the Revised Self-Monitoring (RSMS) scales). CAS measures a defensive and fearful social approach aiming at avoiding social threats; RSMS measures an active and flexible social approach aiming at gaining power and status. Analyses revealed an inverse correlation between PPI at the 120 ms prepulse-to-pulse interval and total CAS scores (r=-0.19, p=0.04), as well as with the Attention to Social Comparison Information (ASCI) subscale of the CAS (r=-0.23, p=0.01). These findings suggest that reduced PPI may contribute to the tendency to adopt a defensive and fearful "getting along" social approach. This study is, to our knowledge, the first to assess the relationship between sensorimotor gating and self-presentational style in humans. Its findings suggest that very basic perceptual deficits that can be assessed using the PPI paradigm, may reflect information processing abnormalities that impact negatively upon the perception of complex social interactions.
    European neuropsychopharmacology: the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology 02/2011; 21(11):810-3. DOI:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2010.12.009 · 5.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Treatment for schizophrenia remains one of the major challenges of modern medicine. The development of innovative pharmacological approaches for this disorder can potentially alleviate tremendous human suffering and revolutionize mental health delivery systems. While current treatment guidelines for schizophrenia refer to the post-psychosis onset phase of illness, presently there is a strong resurgent interest in secondary prevention intervention applied during schizophrenia prodrome. This development stems largely from the recognition that neurobiological deficit processes associated with schizophrenia severity and chronicity are already active by the time clinical onset is recognized. Proposed preventive treatments include presently used medications and experimental compounds that hypothetically may influence ongoing pathophysiological processes earlier in their development. The future establishment of the early recognition and intervention concept in schizophrenia is critically dependent on the outcome of ongoing research assessing the feasibility of prodrome diagnosis, the efficacy of specific medications and the alleviation of the risks associated with early pharmacological treatment.
    The Israel journal of psychiatry and related sciences 01/2011; 48(2):82-90. · 0.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Studies have suggested a possible role for shiatsu in treating a variety of mental and physical ailments. To determine if shiatsu can provide clinical benefit to individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia. An open-label pilot study. An inpatient psychiatric ward at Herzog Memorial Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel. Twelve hospitalized patients with chronic schizophrenia. Shiatsu treatment provided in a course of eight 40-minute biweekly sessions over 4 weeks. All subjects were evaluated at baseline, 2 weeks, 4 weeks (end of treatment), and 12 weeks (followup). The tools used for assessment included the Clinical Global Impression (CGI), the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D), the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A), and the Nurses' Observation Scale for Inpatient Evaluation (NOSIE). Side effects were measured using the Simpson-Angus Scale for Extrapyramidal Symptoms (SAS) and the Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale (AIMS). On all scales of psychopathology and side effects, the subjects showed a statistically and clinically significant improvement by the end of treatment. This improvement was maintained at the 12-week follow-up. These findings, while encouraging, must be considered preliminary and require confirmation and cross-validation in larger-scale controlled studies.
    Alternative therapies in health and medicine 01/2009; 15(5):44-6. · 1.14 Impact Factor
  • European Neuropsychopharmacology 10/2007; 17. DOI:10.1016/S0924-977X(07)70432-7 · 5.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The role of oxytocin in the pathophysiology and treatment of major neuropsychiatric disorders has recently received increased attention. Although oxytocin has an established role as a circulating hormone involved in parturition and lactation, it also acts as a neurotransmitter and neuromodulator. Oxytocin receptors are found in several brain areas such as amygdala, nucleus accumbens and hippocampus, which have been heavily implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia, depression and anxiety disorders. Converging lines of evidences suggest that oxytocin is a key mediator of complex emotional and social behaviors, including attachment, social recognition, and aggression. Moreover, oxytocin alleviates anxiety and impacts on fear conditioning and extinction and on social reward systems. Furthermore, recent data suggest that oxytocin has neuroprotective effects by increasing the resistance of fetal neurons to insults during delivery. Due to its influence upon a wide range of behaviors and its antistress neuroprotective properties the role of oxytocin-related dysfunctions and therapeutics are presently assessed in major neuropsychiatric disorders. In this chapter we will review and summarize some of the mechanisms and concepts relevant to the role of oxytocin in the pathophysiology and therapeutics of neuropsychiatric disorders.