Christine Heim

Christine Heim
Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin | Charité · Institute of Medical Psychology

PhD

About

249
Publications
98,498
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31,457
Citations
Citations since 2016
109 Research Items
14013 Citations
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Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (249)
Article
Full-text available
Importance: Alcohol consumption (AC) leads to death and disability worldwide. Ongoing discussions on potential negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on AC need to be informed by real-world evidence. Objective: To examine whether lockdown measures are associated with AC and consumption-related temporal and psychological within-person mechanis...
Article
The Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy (CBASP) model proposes preoperational functioning as a core feature of persistent depressive disorders (PDD). Empathy deficits comprise one aspect. Resulting from childhood maltreatment, empathy deficits may aggravate social isolation, a key factor in the maintenance of depression. CBASP tar...
Preprint
Background: The CBASP model proposes preoperational functioning as a core feature of persistent depressive disorders (PDD). Empathy deficits comprise one aspect. Resulting from childhood maltreatment, empathy deficits may aggravate social isolation, a key factor in the maintenance of depression. CBASP targets empathy by teaching patients to disenga...
Article
Major depressive disorder (MDD) and adverse childhood experiences (ACE) are associated with poor physical and mental health in adulthood. One underlying mechanism might be accelerated cellular aging. For example, both conditions, MDD and ACE, have been related to a biological marker of cellular aging, accelerated shortening of telomere length (TL)....
Article
Objective: The immediate impact of child maltreatment on health and developmental trajectories over time is unknown. Longitudinal studies starting in the direct aftermath of exposure with repeated follow-up are needed. Method: We assessed health and developmental outcomes in 6-month intervals over 2 years in 173 children, aged 3-5 years at study...
Article
Full-text available
Childhood maltreatment (CM) has well-established consequences for the mental and physical health of the exposed individual. Accumulating evidence now suggests that the detrimental sequelae of CM may be transmitted from one generation to the next, thereby extending the long-term ramifications of early adverse experiences and constituting intergenera...
Article
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BACKGROUND Childhood maltreatment (CM) has long-term consequences for dysregulation of the immune system which is particularly pronounced when mental and physical health sequelae have manifested. Higher proinflammatory state has been shown in non-pregnant state in association with CM as well as with depression, one of the most frequent and pernicio...
Article
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Cross-sectional findings suggest that volumes of specific hippocampal subfields increase in middle childhood and early adolescence. In contrast, a small number of available longitudinal studies reported decreased volumes in most subfields over this age range. Further, it remains unknown whether structural changes in development are associated with...
Article
Background: Mothers with borderline personality disorder (BPD) often show altered emotional availability toward their own child and heightened stress vulnerability. The aims of the present study were (1) to examine total cortisol output in saliva during mother-child interaction in mothers with BPD and their children and (2) to test whether materna...
Article
Full-text available
Various approaches exist to assess population differences in biological aging. Telomere length (TL) is one such measure, and is associated with disease, disability and early mortality. Yet, issues surrounding precision and reproducibility are a concern for TL measurement. An alternative method to estimate TL using DNA methylation (DNAmTL) was recen...
Article
The precise location of the human female genital representation field in the primary somatosensory cortex (S1) is controversial and its capacity for use-associated structural variation as a function of sexual behavior remains unknown. We used an fMRI-compatible sensory-tactile stimulation paradigm to functionally map the location of the female geni...
Article
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Background The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has led to a mental health crisis on a global scale. Epidemiological studies have reported a drastic increase in mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, increased loneliness and feelings of disconnectedness from others, while resilience levels have been negatively affected, indicating an urgent nee...
Preprint
Background: New insights into mechanisms linking obesity to poor health outcomes suggest a role for cellular aging pathways, casting obesity as a disease of accelerated biological aging. Although obesity has been linked to accelerated epigenetic aging in middle-aged adults, the impact during childhood remains unclear. We tested the association betw...
Article
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Background Studies reporting accelerated ageing in children with affective disorders or maltreatment exposure have relied on algorithms for estimating epigenetic age derived from adult samples. These algorithms have limited validity for epigenetic age estimation during early development. We here use a pediatric buccal epigenetic (PedBE) clock to pr...
Article
Precision psychiatry stands to benefit from the latest digital technologies for assessment and analyses to tailor treatment towards individuals. Insights into dynamic psychological processes as they unfold in humans' everyday life can critically add value in understanding symptomatology and environmental stressors to provide individualized treatmen...
Article
Full-text available
Maternal psychosocial stress during pregnancy can impact the developing fetal brain and influence offspring mental health. In this context, animal studies have identified the hippocampus and amygdala as key brain regions of interest, however, evidence in humans is sparse. We, therefore, examined the associations between maternal prenatal psychosoci...
Article
Major depressive disorder (MDD) has been linked to elevated inflammation markers. It remains unclear whether the elevation of C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels are not only observable in acute MDD but also in patients after remission. MDD is a common sequela of early life maltreatment (ELM), which has also been associated wit...
Article
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Background Prenatal loss which occurs in approximately 20% of pregnancies represents a well-established risk factor for anxiety and affective disorders. In the current study, we examined whether a history of prenatal loss is associated with a subsequent pregnancy with maternal psychological state using ecological momentary assessment (EMA)-based me...
Preprint
Full-text available
Many cross-sectional findings suggest that volumes of specific hippocampal subfields increase in middle childhood and early adolescence. In contrast, a small number of available longitudinal studies observed decreased volumes in most subfields over this age range. Further, it remains unknown whether structural changes in development are associated...
Article
As championed by the work of Ed Zigler, investing in nurturing environments for all children is a chief tenet of primary prevention that will have far-reaching benefits to the health and welfare of all members of society. Children who endure child maltreatment (CM) are among society's most vulnerable. Prospective longitudinal research aimed at a co...
Article
Full-text available
Childhood maltreatment (CM) is an established major risk factor for a number of negative health outcomes later in life. While epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation (DNAm), have been proposed as a means of embedding this environmental risk factor, little is known about its timing and trajectory, especially in very young children. It is also...
Article
Full-text available
Lasting effects of adversity, such as exposure to childhood adversity (CA) on disease risk, may be embedded via epigenetic mechanisms but findings from human studies investigating the main effects of such exposure on epigenetic measures, including DNA methylation (DNAm), are inconsistent. Studies in perinatal tissues indicate that variability of DN...
Article
Full-text available
Exposure to maltreatment during childhood can lead to increased risk for poor health outcomes in adulthood. Child maltreatment and later poor health may be linked by premature biological aging. We tested whether childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is associated with telomere length (TL) in adult females. We further tested the hypothesis of intergeneration...
Article
Full-text available
Exposure to child maltreatment increases the risk for psychiatric and physical diseases. Inflammation has been proposed as a mechanism through which early adverse experiences become biologically embedded. However, most studies providing evidence for the link between early adverse exposures and inflammation have been retrospective or cross-sectional...
Article
Understanding effects of emotional valence and stress on children’s memory is important for educational and legal contexts. This study disentangled the effects of emotional content of to-be-remembered information (i.e., items differing in emotional valence and arousal), stress exposure, and associated cortisol secretion on children’s memory. We als...
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Environmental enrichment, particularly during the early life phases of enhanced neuroplasticity, can stimulate cognitive development. However, individuals exhibit considerable variation in their response to environmental enrichment. Recent evidence suggests that certain neurophenotypes such as hippocampal size may index inter-individual differences...
Article
Background Exposure to maltreatment in childhood can lead to increased risk for poor health outcomes in adulthood. Child maltreatment and later poor health may be linked by premature biological aging. We tested whether childhood sexual abuse (CSA) was associated with telomere length (TL) in adult females. We further tested the hypothesis of interge...
Preprint
Full-text available
In den letzten zwei Jahrzehnten ist es durch eine enorme Zahl wissenschaftlicher Erkenntnisse etwa in der neurobiologischen und molekularbiologischen Grundlagenforschung, der Epigenetik, Bindungs- und Säuglingsforschung sowie der Stressforschung zu einem weitreichenden Wissenszuwachs im Bereich der Psychosomatischen Medizin gekommen, der fast schon...
Chapter
Die Grundlage für die Entstehung verschiedenster stressbedingter Störungen wird bereits früh in der Entwicklung gelegt. Frühe stressreiche oder traumatische Erlebnisse, ebenso wie pränatale Stressoren, können die individuelle Anfälligkeit für das Auftreten psychischer und körperlicher Erkrankungen über die gesamte Lebensspanne erhöhen. Auf welche W...
Article
Full-text available
The human hippocampus, a brain structure crucial for memory across the lifespan, is highly sensitive to adverse life events. Stress exposures during childhood have been linked to altered hippocampal structure and memory performance in adulthood. Animal studies suggest that these differences are in part driven by aberrant glucocorticoid secretion du...
Article
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One of the major risk factors for global death and disability is alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use. While there is increasing knowledge with respect to individual factors promoting the initiation and maintenance of substance use disorders (SUDs), disease trajectories involved in losing and regaining control over drug intake (ReCoDe) are still...
Article
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Despite common notion that the correlation of socioeconomic status with child cognitive performance may be driven by both environmentally- and genetically-mediated transactional pathways, there is a lack of longitudinal and genetically informed research that examines these postulated associations. The present study addresses whether family income p...
Chapter
About 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide, amongst them 39 million are blind. In contrast to refractive deficits caused by diseases of the cornea or lens which can be corrected by optic means or surgery, diseases affecting the visual nervous system (retina, optic nerve, brain) are widely assumed to be irreversible. If...
Article
Background: Chronotype influences several physiological systems, including the immune system and the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis. Previous research has shown that evening chronotype is associated with adverse metabolic health outcomes and obesity. However, the exact mechanisms underlying the observed differences in metabolic function...
Article
Background: Early life maltreatment (ELM), borderline personality disorder (BPD), andmajor depressive disorder (MDD) have been associated with empathy deficits in differentdomains. Lack of maternal empathy has also been related to child behavioral problems. As ELM, BPD, and MDD often co-occur, we aimed to identify dissociable effects on empathydue...
Article
Maternal behavior (MB) is observable across mammals and represents an important feature of environmental variation during early postnatal development. Oxytocin (OT) plays a crucial role in MB. Even prior to childbirth, pregnancy induces epigenetic and other downstream changes in the maternal OT-system, likely mediated by the actions of steroid horm...
Article
Objective: Women exposed to childhood maltreatment (CM) are more likely to exhibit insensitive parenting, which may have consequences for their offspring´s development. Variation in the Oxytocin-receptor gene (OXTR) moderates risk of CM-associated long-term sequelae associated with mother-child attachment, although functionality of previously inves...
Article
Background The “empathy hormone” oxytocin (OXT) is associated with social interaction and parent-child interaction. Mothers with mental stress factors, e.g., history of depression, borderline personality disorder or early life maltreatment in their own childhood often show distinct maternal behavior. The objectives of the study were (1) to examine...
Article
This review integrates scientific knowledge obtained over the past few decades on the biological mechanisms that contribute to the profound association between exposure to early adversity, including childhood trauma and prenatal stress, and the lifelong elevated risk to develop a broad range of diseases. We further discuss insights into gene-enviro...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a complex psychiatric condition with different subtypes and etiologies. Exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACE) is an important risk factor for the development of MDD later in life. Evidence suggests that pro-inflammatory processes may convey this risk as both MDD and ACE have been related to i...
Article
Chronic stress is associated with the accelerated aging of the immune system and represents a potent risk factor for the development and progression of a wide range of physical and mental disorders. The elucidation of molecular pathways and mechanisms underlying the link between stress and cellular aging is an area of considerable interest and inve...
Chapter
Adversity in early life, such as childhood abuse, neglect, and loss, is a well-established major risk factor for developing a range of psychiatric and medical disorders later in life. Biological embedding of maltreatment during development is thought to underlie this long-term increased risk. Our results suggest that childhood trauma in humans is a...
Article
Background Early life maltreatment (ELM), borderline personality disorder (BPD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) have been shown to increase the potential of abuse. Emotion regulation is an identified mediator for the association of ELM and BPD with abuse potential. Until now, there has been no study to account for the co-occurrence of these ris...
Article
Full-text available
Upon publication of the original article [1] it was highlighted by the authors that a transposition error affected Additional file 1, causing the misplacement of several columns and rendering the table difficult to read. This transposition does not influence any of the results nor analyses presented in the paper and has since been formally noted in...
Article
The loss of vision after damage to the retina, optic nerve, or brain has often grave consequences in everyday life such as problems with recognizing faces, reading, or mobility. Because vision loss is considered to be irreversible and often progressive, patients experience continuous mental stress due to worries, anxiety, or fear with secondary con...
Article
The goal of this study was to develop and validate a measure of maximal telomerase activity capacity (mTAC) for use in human studies of telomere biology, and to determine its association with measures of stress and stress responsivity. The studywas conducted in a population of 28 healthy young women and men who were assessed serially across two sep...
Article
Lower socioeconomic status (SES) environments are marked by higher stress that is hypothesized to alter cortisol secretion in children, thereby damaging hippocampal volume and memory performance. However, empirical evidence demonstrating these putative links is lacking. We assessed the diurnal cortisol awakening response (CAR) on two mornings and c...
Article
Background: Both, maternal borderline personality disorder (BPD) and maternal major depressive disorder (MDD) are often associated with adverse consequences for children, including increased risk for child behavior problems. Reduced maternal emotional availability might play a critical role in transmitting maternal psychopathology on the child. Ou...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigated associations between parenting stress in parents and self-reported stress in children with children's diurnal cortisol secretion and whether these associations are moderated by known stress-regulating capacities, namely child cognitive control. Salivary cortisol concentrations were assessed from awakening to evening on two w...
Data
Variable key and description of raw data text file S1 Data. (TXT)