Herta Flor's research while affiliated with Universität Mannheim and other places

Publications (891)

Article
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Background Frailty has been associated with a decline in sensory and motor function. However, given that different frailty measures were shown to overlap but also differ in their diagnostic properties, sensory and motor correlates of frailty might be different depending on the operationalization of frailty. Our objective was to identify sensory and...
Article
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Conduct problems (CP) in patients with disruptive behavior disorders have been linked to impaired prefrontal processing of negative facial affect compared to controls. However, it is unknown whether associations with prefrontal activity during affective face processing hold along the CP dimension in a healthy population sample, and how subcortical...
Preprint
Introduction Confrontation with smoking-related cues can provoke craving and relapse, even after long periods of abstinence. The context of these cues might be important for the elicitation of craving. In this study we examined the effects of social, physical and consumptive contexts on cue-reactivity in smokers using ratings and physiological meas...
Preprint
Relief of ongoing pain is a potent motivator of behavior, directing actions to escape from or reduce potentially harmful stimuli. Whereas endogenous modulation of pain events is well characterized, relatively little is known about the modulation of pain relief and its corresponding neurochemical basis. Here we studied pain modulation during a proba...
Article
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Connectivity between the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and reward learning independently predict the transition from acute to chronic back pain (CBP). However, how these predictors are related remains unclear. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we investigate NAc- and vmPFC-dependent reward learning in...
Preprint
Background: Deficiency in contextual and enhanced responding in cued fear learning may contribute to the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We examined the responses to aversive Pavlovian conditioning with an unpredictable spatial context as conditioned stimulus compared to a predictable context. We hypothesized that the PTSD grou...
Article
Background Negative life experiences (NLE) increase the risk for externalizing (EB) and internalizing (IB) behaviors in adolescence and adult psychopathology. DNA methylation (DNAm) associated with behavioral problems may reflect this risk and long-lasting effects of NLE. Methods To identify consistent associations between blood DNAm and EB or IB...
Article
Objective Adolescence is a critical period for circadian rhythm, with a strong shift towards eveningness around age 14. Also, eveningness in adolescence has been found to predict later onset of depressive symptomatology. However, no previous study has investigated structural variations associated with chronotype in early adolescence, and how this a...
Article
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Alcohol misuse during adolescence (AAM) has been associated with disruptive development of adolescent brains. In this longitudinal machine learning (ML) study, we could predict AAM significantly from brain structure (T1-weighted imaging and DTI) with accuracies of 73 - 78% in the IMAGEN dataset (n ~1182). Our results not only show that structural d...
Article
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Phantom limb pain (PLP) impacts the majority of individuals who undergo limb amputation. The PLP experience is highly heterogenous in its quality, intensity, frequency and severity. This heterogeneity, combined with the low prevalence of amputation in the general population, has made it difficult to accumulate reliable data on PLP. Consequently, we...
Preprint
Background Adverse experiences can lead to severe mental health problems such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) throughout the lifespan. In individuals with PTSD, both global and local brain volume reductions have been reported—especially in the amygdala and hippocampus—while the literature on childhood maltreatment suggests strong dependency...
Article
Objective: Research in adolescent depression has found aberrant intrinsic functional connectivity (iFC) among the ventral striatum (VS) and several brain regions implicated in reward processing. The present study probes this question by taking advantage of the availability of data from a large youth cohort, the IMAGEN Consortium. Methods: iFC da...
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While there is substantial evidence that cannabis use is associated with differences in human brain development, most of this evidence is correlational in nature. Bayesian causal network (BCN) modeling attempts to identify probable causal relationships in correlational data using conditional probabilities to estimate directional associations betwee...
Article
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Background: The representation of variability in sensitivity to pain by differences in neural connectivity patterns and its association with psychological factors needs further investigation. This study assessed differences in resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) and its association to cognitive-affective aspects of pain in two groups of h...
Article
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Human brain structure changes throughout the lifespan. Altered brain growth or rates of decline are implicated in a vast range of psychiatric, developmental and neurodegenerative diseases. In this study, we identified common genetic variants that affect rates of brain growth or atrophy in what is, to our knowledge, the first genome-wide association...
Article
Background: While drinking alcohol, one must choose between the immediate rewarding effects and the delayed reward of a healthier lifestyle. Individuals differ in their devaluation of a delayed reward based on the time required to receive it, i.e., delay discounting (DD). Previous studies have shown that adolescents discount more steeply than adul...
Article
Brain circuits involved in pain chronicity shift from areas involved in nociceptive processing to those associated with emotional and motivational processes. They overlap with circuits relevant for anxiety, fear and depression and are characterized by deficient prefrontal control mechanisms. Noninvasive brain stimulation techniques such as repetiti...
Article
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Psychological trauma is typically accompanied by physical pain, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often co-occurs with chronic pain. Clinical reports suggest that pain after trauma may be part of a re-experiencing symptomatology. Classical conditioning can underlie visual re-experiencing since intrusions can occur as conditioned responses (C...
Preprint
The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is a highly variable, evolutionarily expanded brain region that is engaged in multiple cognitive processes. The subregions of the PFC mature relatively late compared with other brain regions, and the maturation times vary between these subregions. Among these, the dorsomedial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dmPFC and...
Preprint
With the growth of decentralized/federated analysis approaches in neuroimaging, the opportunities to study brain disorders using data from multiple sites has grown multi-fold. One such initiative is the Neuromark, a fully automated spatially constrained independent component analysis (ICA) that is used to link brain network abnormalities among diff...
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Background Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is characterized by altered perception of affective stimuli, including abnormal evaluation of nociceptive input. However, whether or not perceptual alterations are present for its positive counterpart, i.e. pleasant touch (PT), has not yet been examined. Methods In the present study, we applied stan...
Preprint
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Alcohol misuse during adolescence (AAM) has been linked with disruptive structural development of the brain and alcohol use disorder. Using machine learning (ML), we analyze the link between AAM phenotypes and adolescent brain structure (T1-weighted imaging and DTI) at ages 14, 19, and 22 in the IMAGEN dataset (n~1182). ML predicted AAM at age 22 f...
Article
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Urbanicity is a growing environmental challenge for mental health. Here, we investigate correlations of urbanicity with brain structure and function, neuropsychology and mental illness symptoms in young people from China and Europe (total n = 3,867). We developed a remote-sensing satellite measure (UrbanSat) to quantify population density at any po...
Article
Background: On a theoretical level, impulsivity represents a multidimensional construct associated with acting without foresight, inefficient inhibitory response control, and alterations in reward processing. On an empirical level, relationships and changes in associations between different measures of impulsivity from adolescence into young adult...
Article
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Pain is a multidimensional process, which can be modulated by emotions; however, the mechanisms underlying this modulation are unknown. We used pictures with different emotional valence (negative, positive, and neutral) as primes and applied electrical painful stimuli as targets to healthy participants. We assessed pain intensity and unpleasantness...
Article
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The experience of pain and pain behaviors is not only determined by physiological but also psychosocial factors. In this context, the learning history of the individual and specifically operant reinforcement related to spouse responses might play an important role. We investigated the effect of a solicitous and habitually pain-reinforcing spouse fo...
Article
Background and aims Graph theoretic analysis of structural covariance networks (SCN) provides an assessment of brain organization that has not yet been applied to alcohol dependence (AD). We estimated whether SCN differences are present in adults with AD and heavy drinking adolescents at age 19 and age 14, prior to substantial exposure to alcohol....
Article
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Mixed findings exist in studies comparing brain responses to reward in adolescents and adults. Here we examined the trajectories of brain response, functional connectivity and task-modulated network properties during reward processing with a large-sample longitudinal design. Participants from the IMAGEN study performed a Monetary Incentive Delay ta...
Article
Objective Children experiencing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms may retain symptoms into adulthood, but little is known about the underlying mechanism. Method To identify biomarkers of persistent ADHD symptom development, we carried out whole-brain analyses of neuroimaging data during the anticipation phase of the Monetary...
Article
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Background Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is the most common chronic widespread pain condition in rheumatology. Until recently, no clear pathophysiological mechanism for fibromyalgia had been established, resulting in management challenges. Recent research has indicated that serum IgGs may play a role in FMS. We undertook a research prioritisation exe...
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Virtual Reality (VR) setups offer the possibility to investigate interactions between model and observer characteristics in imitation behavior, such as in the chameleon effect of automatic mimicry. We tested the hypothesis that perceived affiliative characteristics of a virtual model, such as similarity to the observer and likability, will facilita...
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Adolescence is a period of vulnerability for the maturation of gray matter (GM) and also for the onset of psychiatric disorders such as major depressive disorder (MDD), bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Chronic neuroinflammation is considered to play a role in the etiology of these illnesses. However, the involvement of neuroinflammation in the o...
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Background It has not yet been determined if the commonly reported cannabis–psychosis association is limited to individuals with pre-existing genetic risk for psychotic disorders. Methods We examined whether the relationship between polygenic risk score for schizophrenia (PRS-Sz) and psychotic-like experiences (PLEs), as measured by the Community...
Article
The ability to extract cues from faces is fundamental for social animals, including humans. An individual's profile of functional connectivity across a face network can be shaped by common organizing principles, stable individual traits, and time-varying mental states. In the present study, we used data obtained with functional magnetic resonance i...
Article
The experience of phantom limb pain (PLP) is a common consequence of limb amputation, resulting in severe impairments of the affected person. Previous studies have shown that several factors such as age at or site of amputation are associated with the emergence and maintenance of PLP. In this cross-sectional study we assessed the presence of severa...
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Adolescence is a period of major brain reorganization shaped by biologically timed and by environmental factors. We sought to discover linked patterns of covariation between brain structural development and a wide array of these factors by leveraging data from the IMAGEN study, a longitudinal population-based cohort of adolescents. Brain structural...
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It has been well-documented that the brain changes in states of chronic pain. Less is known about changes in the brain that predict the transition from acute to chronic pain. Evidence from neuroimaging studies suggests a shift from brain regions involved in nociceptive processing to corticostriatal brain regions that are instrumental in the process...
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DNA methylation, which is modulated by both genetic factors and environmental exposures, may offer a unique opportunity to discover novel biomarkers of disease-related brain phenotypes, even when measured in other tissues than brain, such as blood. A few studies of small sample sizes have revealed associations between blood DNA methylation and neur...
Article
Early initiation of polysubstance use (PSU) is a strong predictor of subsequent addiction, however scarce individuals present resilience capacity. This neuroimaging study aimed to investigate structural correlates associated with cessation or reduction of PSU and determine the extent to which brain structural features accounted for this resilient o...
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Alcohol misuse is a major public health problem originating from genetic and environmental risk factors. Alterations in the brain epigenome may orchestrate changes in gene expression that lead to alcohol misuse and dependence. Through epigenome-wide association analysis of DNA methylation from human brain tissues, we identified a differentially met...
Article
Non-acute effects of cannabis on neurocognition in adolescents remain unclear with most studies being cross-sectional. Therefore, the aim of this longitudinal, multi-center study was to examine the effects of cannabis use on cognitive abilities in participants emerging into adulthood. Data on substance use as well as neurocognitive measures were as...
Article
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Background: The mechanisms underlying chronic phantom limb pain (PLP) are complex and insufficiently understood. Altered sensory thresholds are often associated with chronic pain but quantitative sensory testing (QST) in PLP has so far been inconclusive due to large methodological variation between studies and small sample sizes. Methods: In thi...
Poster
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Aims __________________________________________________________________________ • Develop tools of screening, prevention and intervention of AUDs • Linking effects for mindfulness-based interventions with neurobehavioral targets on screening, prevention and intervention • Evaluate key parameters, which help to manage impulsivity, reward sensitivity...
Article
Importance Animal studies have shown that the adolescent brain is sensitive to disruptions in endocannabinoid signaling, resulting in altered neurodevelopment and lasting behavioral effects. However, few studies have investigated ties between cannabis use and adolescent brain development in humans. Objective To examine the degree to which magnetic...
Preprint
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Adolescent subcortical structural brain development might underlie psychopathological symptoms, which often emerge in adolescence. At the same time, sex differences exist in psychopathology, which might be mirrored in underlying sex differences in structural development. However, previous studies showed inconsistencies in subcortical trajectories a...
Article
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Background Frailty is characterized by an age-related decline in multiple physiological systems, leading to a high vulnerability to stressors, adverse health outcomes, and low quality of life. Neuroscientific models of pathological aging emphasize the loss of sensorimotor stimulation and reduced neuromodulatory capacities as core processes in age-r...
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Traditional models of future alcohol use in adolescents have used variable-centered approaches, predicting alcohol use from a set of variables across entire samples or populations. Following the proposition that predictive factors may vary in adolescents as a function of family history, we used a two-pronged approach by first defining clusters of f...
Preprint
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Neuropathological changes associated with Alzheimers disease (AD) can occur decades before clinical symptoms. We investigated whether neurodevelopment and/or neurodegeneration affects the risk of AD, through reducing structural brain reserve and/or accelerating brain atrophy, respectively. We used bidirectional two-sample Mendelian randomization to...
Preprint
Psychological trauma is typically accompanied by physical pain, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often co-occurs with chronic pain. Clinical reports suggest that pain in the aftermath of trauma may be part of a re-experiencing symptomatology. Previously, we demonstrated that classical conditioning can underlie visual re-experiencing since i...
Article
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Genetic markers of the endocannabinoid system have been linked to a variety of addiction-related behaviors that extend beyond cannabis use. In the current study we investigate the relationship between endocannabinoid (eCB) genetic markers and alcohol use disorder (AUD) in European adolescents (14–18 years old) followed in the IMAGEN study ( n = 2,0...
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Extensive research has demonstrated that rs1360780, a common single nucleotide polymorphism within the FKBP5 gene, interacts with early‐life stress in predicting psychopathology. Previous results suggest that carriers of the TT genotype of rs1360780 who were exposed to child abuse show differences in structure and functional activation of emotion‐p...
Article
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Background Sex-related differences in psychopathology are known phenomena, with externalizing and internalizing symptoms typically more common in boys and girls, respectively. However, the neural correlates of these sex-by-psychopathology interactions are underinvestigated, particularly in adolescence. Methods Participants were 14 years of age and...
Article
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Background The serotonin receptor 2A (HTR2A) has been described as an important facilitation mediator of spinal nociceptive processing leading to central sensitization (CS) in animal models of chronic pain. However, whether HTR2A single nucleotide variants (SNVs) modulate neuropathic pain states in patients has not been investigated so far. The aim...
Article
Background Adolescent onset of depression is associated with long-lasting negative consequences. Identifying adolescents at risk for developing depression would enable the monitoring of risk-factors and the development of early intervention strategies. Using machine learning to combine several risk factors from multiple modalities might allow predi...
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There is an extensive body of literature linking ADHD to overweight and obesity. Research indicates that impulsivity features of ADHD account for a degree of this overlap. The neural and polygenic correlates of this association have not been thoroughly examined. In participants of the IMAGEN study, we found that impulsivity symptoms and body mass i...
Article
Exposure to maltreatment during childhood is associated with structural changes throughout the brain. However, the structural differences that are most strongly associated with maltreatment remain unclear given the limited number of whole-brain studies. The present study used machine learning to identify if and how brain structure distinguished you...
Article
Phantom limb pain (PLP) accounts for a significant reduction in quality of life and is difficult to treat. Prosthesis use has been shown to negatively co-vary with PLP. Recent research on body perception in amputees suggest that prosthesis ownership, defined as the extent to which a prosthesis is experienced as being part of the body rather than an...
Article
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Prompted by recent evidence of neural circuitry in rodent models, functional magnetic resonance imaging and functional connectivity analyses were conducted for a large adolescent population at two ages, together with alcohol abuse measures, to characterize a neural network that may underlie the onset of alcoholism. A network centered on the medial...
Article
Background Dysfunctional reward processing is implicated in multiple mental disorders. Novelty seeking (NS) assesses preference for seeking novel experiences, which is linked to sensitivity to reward environmental cues. Methods A 14-year-olds adolescent subset (IMAGEN) with top 20% ranked high-NS scores was used to identify high-NS associated mult...
Preprint
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Urbanicity is a growing environmental challenge for mental-health. While the impact of urban life on brain and behavior might be distinct in different sociocultural conditions and geographies, there might exist features shared between regions. To investigate correlations of urbanicity with brain structure and function, neuropsychology and mental il...
Article
Objective: To assess changes in cannabis use in young adults as a function of psychotic-like experiences. Method: Participants were initially recruited at age 14 in high schools for the longitudinal IMAGEN study. All measures presented here were assessed at follow-ups at age 19 and at age 22, respectively. Perceived stress was only assessed once at...