Group members Research lines Articles Projects Other publications

1- Brain Neuroimaging in Non Affective Psychosis (NAP).  

Responsibles: R. Roiz Santiáñez Y D. Tordesillas Gutiérrez. The techniques of brain imaging, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), allow exploring the presence of structural alterations from the first clinical phases of the disease (neurodevelopmental abnomalies) and also study the onset of morphological changes during the course of the disease (neurodegeneration processes). Our work in this area aims to:

  1. To Compare the volume of gray and white matter in the cortex between patients and controls
  2. To Determine the existence of differences in volume of the basal ganglia between patients and controls
  3. A longitudinal study to detect structural changes over time in people with schizophrenia, and 
  4. To study the relationship between variables related to brain structure and other clinical and / or genetic variables.

At present, we are developing research by DTI to explore alterations in the integrity of white matter tracts. Another line of recent research is the development of spectroscopy techniques to assess neuronal processes genesis.

2- Genomic of non-affective psychosis. Responsible: Dr. B. Crespo-Facorro 

In this field, our group has focused its work on two main lines of activity. Firstly, in the field of Pharmacogenetics, we work on the study of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of candidate genes, specifically the genes involved in dopaminergic neurotransmission, serotonergic and candidate genes in linking regions. The aim is to determine whether single nucleotide polymorphisms are associated with psychotic symptomatology, evolution and response to treatment. Also, we work in the field of "imaging genetics" genetic variations associated with brain alterations; In particular, gene expression studies are being carried out to identify genes whose expression is different in people with a first psychotic episode with respect to people not affected by the disease and also in possible differences in gene expression in people with a first Psychotic episode before starting treatment and after one year of pharmacological treatment.

3- Epidemiology and Clinical characteristics of non-affective psychosis. The main objectives of this research are:

  1. To investigate the incidence of psychosis in Cantabria and likely related factors.
  2. To identify the profile of symptoms during early phases of the illness.
  3. To describe predictors of outcome. 
  4. To advance in the knowledge of biological markers (neuroimage, biochemical, genetic) of Schizophrenia. 
  5. To study new short- and long-term therapeutic, pharmacological, psychotherapeutic interventions in the treatment of non-affective psychosis. Special interest in treating metabolic side effects associated with antipsychotic treatments.

4- Cognition in non affective psychosis. Responsible: Dra. R. Ayesa Arriola. The main objectives of this research are:

  1. To evaluate the course of early cognitive function in a sample of first episodes of psychosis individuals.
  2. To examine the relationship between cognitive functions and clinical variables.
  3. To evaluate the influence of cognitive function in the outcome and prognosis of the disease.

5. Research and Intervention program focused on the early phases of eating disorders.  Responsibles: Dr. J.A. Gómez Del Barrio. It consists of a bio-psychosocial line of research and a therapeutic intervention and prevention focused on early phases of eating disorders

  1. Implement an early, multidisciplined and multi-factorial evaluation and intervention protocol for all patients that develop an eating disorder in the area referenced by the Psychiatric Service of Hospital Universitario Marqués de Valdecilla.
  2. Research the early phases of the disease— the psychological, biological, and social components of eating disorders.
  3. Identify and define the risk factors of developing eating disorders, as well as the nature and characteristics of prodromal symptoms and earliest clinical manifestations.
  4. Evaluate the response to interventions, as well as the evolutionary course of the disease, researching bio-psycho-social factors that condition them.
  5. Evaluate the costs derived from treatment, as well as the level of patient and family satisfaction.

The line of investigation incorporates the following studies:

Intervention study focused on cognitive processes in eating disorders. Responsible: Laura Carral Fernandez y J.A. Gomez del Barrio. This study is framed under an investigation contract Rio Hortega (CM10/0017).

This program focuses on intervention and therapeutic strategies based on new technology for early phases of eating disorders. Responsibles: Dra. Jana Gonzalez Gomez and Dr. J.A. Gomez del Barrio. This program integrates DETECTA (DEtecion TEmprana en Cantabria de Trasornos Alimentarios) and is framed under a research scholarship, financed by IDIVAL (Lopez Albo WLA 02/11).

6.- Research and Pharmacological Interventions Program for Early Phases of Psychoses in children and adolescents population. Responsibles: Dra. S. Otero Cuesta and Dra. B. Payá González.  This is a research program focused on mental health problems of young people. The main areas of interest are:

  1. Clinical trials on effectiveness and safety of new drugs for children and adolescents psychiatric disorders.
  2. Research on Prevention Strategies and Bio-psycho-social Interventions for Early Phases of Psychosis in children and adolescents.

7.- Strategies of assessment in mental health. Responsibles: Dr. L. Gaite Pindado y Dra. S. Herrera Castanedo.

  1. To develop and consolidate a network of health professionals interested in investiga - ting mental health services and needs.
  2. To promote the development and dissemination of investigations on instruments of assessment and indicators of outcome (including economic indicators).

8. Molecular basis of non-affective psychosis. Responsibles: Dra. P. Suárez Pinilla y Dr. B Crespo Facorro.The range of clinical features shows that schizophrenia affects multiple brain circuits, and also peripheral pathways. Recently, we have been developing the research in this field through the study of serum and PBMCs (peripheral blood mononuclear cells). Our work in this area aims to:

  1. Detect blood biomarkers and altered cellular signaling pathways leading to diagnose patients with a first episode of psychosis from healthy controls, combinated with clinical practice.
  2. Determine peripheral differences between patients with an episode of non-affective psychosis and healthy controls, from the onset and over time.
  3. Conduct a longitudinal study of the change in biomarkers over time in people with schizophrenia.
  4. Study the relationship between changes in peripheral molecules and correlate with longitudinal severity scores.
  5. Detect biomarkers to predict treatment response.

9- Classification and assessment of disability in mental health. Responsibles: Dra. S. Herrera Castanedo y Dr. L. Gaite Pindado.

Since 1993, our research group has been involved in the development, publication nad dissemination of the International classification of Fucntionality (ICF) and related instruments of assessment (i.e., World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule 11 (WHO-DAS 11). .

Gobierno de Cantabria  Servicio Cántabro de Salud  Hospital Universitario Marqués de Valdecilla   Universidad de Cantabria     
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39011 Santander (CANTABRIA).

Phone.: 942 31 55 15
Fax: 942 31 55 17




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