Ongoing Projects



The Czech Science Foundation

Prevalence of High risk Symptoms for Psychosis and Their Relationship to Neurocognitive Performance and Daily Functioning in Population of Adolescents (18-03125S)
Investigator: PhDr. Mabel Virginia Rodriguez Manchola, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: NIMH
Duration: 1.1.2018–31.12.2020
Total budget NIMH: 5 208 000 CZK
Abstract: Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness that usually develops during adolescence. Fully developed disease is usually preceded few years earlier by the prodromal phase, which is characterized by typical symptoms like attenuated psychotic symptoms or mild disturbances in perception and thinking. They can interfere with the normal life of young people and affect their daily functioning and cognitive performance. The aim of this study is to determine to what extent these risk symptoms are present in the population of high school students and how they affect their life in comparison with adolescents without symptoms and adolescents after the first psychotic episode. This study is the first to provide information about functioning of people in risk for psychosis in Czech adolescents and thus creates the basis for further longitudinal´research in this area. Czech versions of internationally recognized diagnostic tools for the detection of prodromal symptoms will be used for the first time. Another benefit of this study is education on mental health for high school students.

Cognitive Superaging (18-06199S)
Investigator: MUDr. Miloslav Kopeček, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: NIMH
Duration: 1.1.2018–31.12.2020
Total budget NIMH: 4 503 000 CZK
Abstract: Results from neuropsychological studies indicate a general age-related decline in cognition. Despite this fact, there is a group of oldest-old individuals with better cognitive functioning than the mean of sexagenarians. This group is called superagers. Most superaging studies have been focused primarily on memory and did not deal with other cognitive domains. Cross-sectional superaging studies are not able to evaluate directly the role of cognitive maintenance and disentangle its role from cognitive reserve. Our study is an extension of a longitudinal study (n = 540) realized in 2012–2015. We will assess 100 adults older than 79 years with the same neuropsychological tests and questionnaires as in 2012 and 2015. We will test the hypothesis that cognitive maintenance (based on six years change of cognition) is a better predictor of cognitive aging (cognitive performance in 2018) than the cognitive reserve (cognitive performance in 2012).

Novel Model of Psychotic Relapses and Their Influence on Cognitive Deterioration, Structural and Functional Brain Changes (18-09296S)
Investigator: RNDr. Karel Valeš, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: NIMH
Project partners: Institute of Physiology of the CAS (prof. MUDr. Pavel Mareš DrSc.), Charles University, 3rd Medical Faculty (prof. MUDr. Romana Šlamberová, Ph.D.)
Duration: 1.1.2018–31.12.2020
Total budget: 12 644 000 CZK
Total budget NIMH: 6 695 000 CZK
Abstract: There is a contemporary consensus that there is further worsening of symptoms with each relaps in schizophrenia. These symptoms include pathophysiological changes and neurodegeneration, which may ultimately leads to gray matter shrinkage in the final stages of schizophrenia. This project aims at studying this phenomenon and at designing an innovative animal model. Design and evaluation of the valid animal model of schizophrenia progression is important for studying the neurobiological mechanism as well as for suggesting potential pharmacological approaches to its treatment. Recently designed model is based on the early immune stimulation and repeated injection of drugs causing psychosis-like behavior in animals. Thus, important output of this study is to facilitate testing of the europrotective effect of the substances with antipsychotic properties on the progression of the disease and selecting the most appropriate ones.

Socio-economic Determinants of Premature Mortality Related to Alcohol and Tobacco Use – Spatially Integrated Approach (18-17564S)
Investigator: Mgr. Ladislav Kážmér
Principle investigator: NIMH
Duration: 1.1.2018–31.12.2020
Total Budget NIMH: 2 871 000 CZK
Abstract: Substance use is universally recognized as a leading cause of morbidity and premature death. From a global perspective, Czechia belongs to the countries with the highest per capita consumption of alcohol and tobacco. The level of substance use is considered to be influenced by both structural and environmental factors. Therefore, the focus of this project is a detailed evaluation of socio-spatial inequalities of substance-use-related premature mortality of the Czech population. Advanced statistical methods of spatial data analysis will be applied in the project. The main benefit will be the identification of compact micro-regions with a significantly increased mortality risk. The analysis will be conducted with a detailed spatial resolution at the municipal level. The project will also focus on 1.) mortality related to alcohol and tobacco; 2.) social composition of the population living in regions; 3.) gender specific differences; 4.) spatial-temporal changes after 2000. The project outcomes can serve for efficient planning of both socially and spatially targeted interventions.

Electromagnetic Models of Animal Brains (18-16218S)
Investigator: MUDr. Tomáš Páleníček, Ph.D.
Principal investigator: Brno University of Technology (prof. Dr. Ing. Zbyněk Raida)
Co-investigator-Partner: NIMH
Duration: 1.1.2018–31.12.2020
Total bugnet: 7 240 000 CZK
Total budget NIMH: 3 811 000 CZK
Abstract: The project is focused on the fundamental research of robust methods for the identification of source currents in brains of animals. Methods are unique in combination of quasi-static and full-wave approaches to numerical modeling, exploitation of 3D printing and agar gelatins for the creation of physical models. Created models allow a reliable calibration of inverse solvers which determine magnitude and orientation of source currents from potentials measured on the surface of a brain. Knowledge of source currents is important for neurological research.

Inter-individual Differences in Subjective Time (19-15728S)
Investigator: prof. MUDr. Jiří Horáček, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: NIMH
Duration: 1.1.2019–31.12.2021
Total budget NIMH: 6 955 000 CZK
Abstract: Subjective time perception is an essential part of human's experience, which allows a continuous perception of oneself and surrounding reality. Time perception is influenced by a various situational variables, as the type of stimulus, but also the individual characteristics of each participant. We will test whether there are stable inter-individual differences in time perception, and whether these differences are related to individual characteristics, especially cognitive performance in various domains. We focus also on EEG parameters, which are strongly genetically determined, show inter-individual variability, and which are relatively stable in one person. We will focus particularly on individual alpha activity and on theta-gamma coupling, which is closely connected with short-term memory performance and became an excellent model for explanation of inter-individual differences in time perception.

Aversive Response to Spiders and the Underlying Emotions (19-07164S)
Investigator: RNDr. Eva Landová, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: NIMH
Duration: 1.1.2019–31.12.2021
Total budget NIMH: 8 690 000 CZK
Abstract: Deregulated emotions evoked by various spiders are typical for arachnophobia, one of the most common phobias. The emotional experience associated with spiders, the context of encounter, and experience of negative imagination and over-generalization of fear is still not fully understood, nor are the physiological and neural correlates. First, we designed an experiment testing whether the context of other emotionally salient stimuli (disgust- and fear-evoking) influences the specificity and intensity of emotions elicited by spiders in high- and low-fear respondents. To monitor the emotional arousal, we will use physiological measures and fMRI. Next, imagination of spiders with and without preceding specific stimuli presentation should activate emotional circuits in high-fear respondents more than visual stimuli presentation. Specific regions of the brain involved in the cognitive-emotional control of spider phobia should be activated. Finally, a new hypothesis about transferred fear from scorpions on spiders will be tested. Our work should contribute to understanding of arachnophobia.

The Stranger as a Symbol of Otherness – How Personality Influences Our Attitudes (19-10057S)
Investigator: doc. PhDr. Marek Preiss, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: NIMH
Duration: 1.1.2019–31.12.2021
Total budget NIMH: 4 282 000 CZK
Abstract: This project is concerned with the attitude toward otherness, while taking into account the personality functioning and the attitudes toward foreigners, minorities, and migrants. It enhances the sociological and anthropological concept of otherness by examining the psychodynamic interpretation of various differences, while putting the emphasis on the unfamiliarity of our own differentness/otherness. Furthermore, it accentuates the explanation of the attitudes toward otherness in terms of fear of losing the center core of one´s identity – the psychic home. Likewise, it builds upon the previous work and enhances the knowledge of otherness by an in-depth recognition of the personality and by measuring the variability of one´s daily attitudes “here and now.” In the first part of the project, participant´s personality is subjected to an in-depth assessment of personality functioning. The second part of the project monitors 5 different groups of participants (xenophobic, xenophilic, personality disorders, high levels of neuroticism, and general population) using experience sampling.

Psychology of Male Intra-sexual Competition and Associated Neural Correlates (19-11822S )
Investigator: Mgr. Vít Třebický, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: NIMH
Duration: 1.1.2019–31.12.2021
Total budget NIMH: 6 482 000 CZK
Abstract: Conflicts with conspecifics play an important role in our everyday lives. Since physical confrontations carry substantial risks and have taken place throughout our history, one can expect that there are adaptations which help individuals assess fighting ability and make appropriate decisions in agonistic interactions. Competition in humans is a frequentlyinvestigated subject. Studies have confirmed the existence of specific morphological traitsassociated with success in confrontation and demonstrated that people are attentive to thesecues. Nevertheless, little is known about the neurological processes involved in the recognition and processing of morphological cues from faces and bodies and about focusing visualattention on particular morphological regions. To investigate the psychophysiological processes involved in the assessment of male-male competition, we want to study the activation of specific brain regions involved in formidability assessments triggered by visual stimuli by employing functional magnetic resonance imaging and simultaneous recording of eye movements.

Minority Stress in Non-heterosexuals in the Czech Republic (19-14801S)
Investigator: RNDr. Michal Pitoňák, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: NIMH
Duration: 1.1.2019–31.12.2021
Total budget NIMH: 3 414 000 CZK
Abstract: Foreign studies have shown that non-heterosexuals, above all adolescents, have higher prevalence of mental disorders (depression, anxiety disorders), increased use of addictive substances (including tobacco and alcohol use) and higher suicidality compared to heterosexuals. These further correlate with a higher rate of risky sexual behavior, which increases the risk of transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), primarily HIV infection. These phenomena are repeatedly associated with so-called minority stress in foreign literature, which, in the population of non-heterosexuals, is beyond the stresses of other people. Verifying the theory of minority stress in the Czech Republic will contribute not only to increase of our understanding of the quality of mental health of non-heterosexuals and the efficiency and availability of preventive and therapeutic programs for this population that can contribute to mental well-being and reduction in psychiatric morbidity in this part of the population.

Influence of Girls’ Expressiveness and Nonverbal Communication Towards Peers on Their Social Functioning During Ontogenesis (19-17540S)
Investigator: Mgr. et Mgr. Jitka Lindová, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: NIMH
Duration: 1.1.2019–31.12.2021
Total budget NIMH: 4 640 000 CZK
Abstract: Female social functioning throughout all life is influenced by their nonverbal communication skills. The ontogeny of nonverbal expressiveness and regulation in females is an understudied topic. Cross-sex peer interaction could be an informative source regarding communication skills relevant for adult relationship functioning. The strong association between nonverbal communication skills and social functioning in relationships might be distorted by the common use of social networking sites, which offer additional opportunities to initiate relationships, and do not require (allow limited) nonverbal signaling to be used during communication. We will approach this topic using a) observation of group dynamics and social networks in school classes, b) laboratory testing of girls’/women’s interactions with an unfamiliar opposite-sex peer and c) rating of nonverbal behavior of girls/women projected on computer avatars using motion capture. We will compare female behavior in 6 age cohorts from 5 to 25 years, and seek for association of nonverbal behavior with online social networking.

Specific Serotonin-dopamin Modulators and Their Potential in the Model of Induced Psychosis
Investigator: PharmDr. Jan Korábečný, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: University Hospital Hradec Králové (PharmDr. Ondřej Soukup, Ph.D.)
Co-investigator-Partner: NIMH
Duration: 1.1.2019–31.12.2021
Total budget: 8 872 000 CZK
Total budget NIMH: 4 973 000 CZK
Abstract: Current pharmacotherapy of schizophrenia is based on targeted alternations mainly of serotoninergic and dopaminergic system by the second- eneration antipsychotics. Besides classic antagonism or partial agoni on dopamine D2 receptors, its seems therapeutically beneficial to affect 5-HT3 receptors as well. Current antipsychotics do not show a significant effect on 5-HT3R (with the exception of clozapine), whose antagonization improves, based on research outcomes, sensorial resistance, cognitive impairment, and negative symptoms of schizophrenia. On the basis of augmentation effect of setrons we have therefore proposed and optimized a model (structure) of antipsychotics for animal testing, which could exert partial agonism on D2R, as well as antagonism on 5-HT3R. We will validate the proposed design in vitro and by the animal model of psychosis also for a tentative clinical use in future. Beside the antipsychotic effect, which should be at ideally comparable to that of clozapine, we believe that the novel model will exert lower incidence of side effects.

The role of Inferior Parietal Lobe in Self-Agency (20-24782S)
Investigator: prof. MUDr. Pavel Mohr, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: NIMH
Duration: 1.1.2020–31.12.2022
Total budget NIMH: 7 731 000 CZK
Abstract: The ability of identifying and distinguishing one's own actions from the external processes (Self / Other Agency) is a key prerequisite for one's orientation in the world and society. Proposed project builds upon results of our previous fMRI experiments both on healthy participants and schizophrenia patients. Here, using the combination of dynamical causal modeling (DCM) and noninvasive brain neuromodulation (tACS), we aim for confirming the causal role of inferior parietal lobe (IPL) in Self / Other Agency discrimination. Project is divided into five steps, starting with identifying the candidate subregion within IPL based on contrast analysis and DCM on the MRI data obtained in experiments realized earlier. Following will be an explorative and confirmatory neuromodulation experiments, aiming for confirming the causal role of identified region by targeted external neuromodulation. Comparison of pre- and post-neuromodulation resting state MRI will verify the effective locus of neuromodulation protocol.

Psychoplastogenicity of Psilocybin – the Interplay of Serotonergic Mechanisms, Sleep-wake Cycle and Neuroplasticity on Memory Consolidation (20-25349S)
Investigator: doc. RNDr. Zdeňka Bendová, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: NIMH
Duration: 1.1.2020–31.12.2022
Total budget NIMH: 12 029 000 CZK
Abstract: Serotonergic psychedelic psilocybin is currently extensively studied as a so-called fast-acting antidepressant in the indication of pharmacoresistant depression. One of the most likely mechanisms leading to an antidepressant effect is the induction of synaptic plasticity. In depression cognitive deficits are a common symptom. Previously we have found that psilocin improves spatial memory consolidation in the rat. The aim of the project is therefore to evaluate the effect of 5-HT2A/C and 5-HT1A agonist psilocybin on the hippocampus-dependent memory consolidation in Morris water maze and novel object and place recognition tasks in relation to synaptic plasticity in the rat. In order to evaluate the effect of sleep and sleep deprivation, EEG / EMG and behavioural activity will be continuously recorded in animals via wireless implantable telemetry. Synaptic plasticity will be evaluated in 3D brain organoids derived from animals from cognitive experiments. The role of 5-HT2A/C and 5-HT1A receptors will be assessed using selective antagonists in both in vivo models and organoids.

Impact of Media News on Mental Health: Cognitive and Neural Mechanisms  (20-13458S)
Investigator: doc. PhDr. Ladislav Kesner, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: NIMH
Duration: 1.1.2020–31.12.2022
Total budget NIMH: 6 740 000 CZK
Abstract: It has been long recognized that media news are capable of generating and exacerbating stress, anxiety, depression and other negative mental states. However, it is not well understood how exposure to a broad range of media news, from affectively highly salient to mundane, impacts mental states and mental health of news consumers. In particular, there are huge gaps in understanding the psychological and neuronal mechanisms, through which perception and assimilation of media news affect mental states of perceivers. The project has three, mutually linked objectives of high relevance for today’s information society surrounded by media: (i) to establish the connection of psychological traits and states with use of media and political orientation on a population-scale level, (ii) to explore the connection of psychological traits and states with subjective, behavioral and neural responses to media representations of highly salient news topics, and (iii) to determine the effect of two different cognitive assimilation strategies (reframing and rumination) on neural and behavioral processes.

Novel Neuroprotective Compounds Based on NMDA Receptor Antagonism and Cholinergic Stimulation (20-12047S)
Investigator: RNDr. Karel Valeš, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: University Hospital hradec Králové (PharmDr. Ondřej Soukup, Ph.D.)
Co-investigators/Partners: NIMH; Institute of Experimental Medicine CAS (Mgr. Martin Horák Ph.D.)
Duration: 1.1.2020–31.12.2022
Total budget: 14 980 000 CZK
Total budget NIMH: 4 996 000 CZK
Abstract: In this project, we would like to follow-up the proof-of-concept project no. 16-08554S, focused on the dually acting tacrine derivatives, in the preclinically-oriented project focused on 7- MEOTA and its derivatives, where we would like to investigate and understand the mechanism of interaction of such compounds with the open-channel of the NMDA receptor. We will use in vitro data of native and specifically mutated NMDA receptors, molecular docking approaches and quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) approach to describe such interaction. Such investigation is giving us also a tool for designing even more effective neuroprotectants. Therefore, the candidates with the most promising pre-clinical potential showing suitable NMDA receptor inhibitory properties while preserving anti-acetylcholinesterase activity will be subjected to thorough preclinical in vivo testing in order to evaluate and verify the real neuroprotective and pro-cognitive value rising from the dual character of such compounds.


The Czech Research Council

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in the Treatment of Bipolar Depression (16-31380A)
Investigator: MUDr. Tomáš Novák, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: NIMH
Duration: 1.4.2016–31.12.20
Total budget NIMH: 6 119 000 CZK
Abstract: Four-week, randomized, sham-controlled, double-blind, parallel study to evaluate the efficacy of high-frequency MRI-guided repetetive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) targeted to two different brain areas in bipolar depression with the consequent four-week open-label extension will be carried out. Sixty patients will be randomized to the three groups: 1) active rTMS over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, 2) active rTMS over the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, 3) sham rTMS. Site of application will be navigated by T1-weighted MRI images. Patients will continue on stable dose of mood stabilizers during the study. Primary outcome is the change in MADRS scale among groups, secondary are the rate of MADRS responders, change in self-evaluation scales for depression, and the rate of sustained response over the follow-up. EEG before and after study will be analyzed by low-resolution electromagnetic tomography (LOTERA) to find out the change in brain electric activity related to response to rTMS.

Linking Phenomenology and Neurobiology of Auditory Hallucinations in Schizophrenia (17-32957A)
Investigator: prof. MUDr. Pavel Mohr, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: NIMH
Duration: 1.4.2017–31.12.2020
Total budget NIMH: 13 269 000 CZK
Abstract: Auditory hallucinations (AHs) are the most characteristic symptom of schizophrenia and psychosis, and they „define“ the disorder from a clinical and phenomenological point of view. To date, neural mechanisms of AHs are under debate. The most accepted theory explaining origin of auditory verbal hallucinations, is theory which explains them as alienated inner-speech relates to deficits in self-monitoring, specifically suggesting impaired usage of predictive mechanisms. Another plausible explanation of this typical feature of AHs relates to dialogical or monological inner speech. In the current study we will use a multi-modal approach based on the detailed description of phenomenology and probing the currents neural theories of AHs. Subtypization of AHs based on phenomenology and common neurobiological mechanisms as obtained by fMRI, would potentially lead to more differentiated and effective treatment of AHs and improve patient’s outcomes.

The Interplay Between the Gut Microbiota and Brain Functions: Implication for Metabolome and
Metabolic Syndrome in Schizophrenia (17-31852A)
Investigator: MUDr. Tomáš Páleníček, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: NIMH
Co-investigator-Partner: Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics of the CAS
(RNDr. Kateřina Fliegerová, CSc.)
Duration: 1.4.2017–31.12.2020
Total budget: 13 553 000 CZK
Total budget NIMH: 10 163 000 CZK
Abstract: Schizophrenia is a serious mental disease with high morbidity. The modern antipsychotics are effective in its therapy, but they may induce obesity and metabolic syndrome. Alteration in metabolism, changes in gut microbiota, gut barrier failure and low-grade chronic inflammation are all involved in pathogenesis of both schizophrenia and metabolic syndrome. Therefore, by analysis of microbiome, metabolome, gut barrier function and inflammatory response, new biomarkers for prediction of this serious therapy side-effect may be found. Moreover, by analyzing the key mechanisms in the pathogenesis of both conditions, this approach may even uncover suitable target for future therapy of schizophrenia or metabolic syndrome. We will use samples of blood, stool or urine, collected from patients with schizophrenia at the beginning of the antipsychotic treatment and after several months, when the presence or absence of the metabolic syndrome will be clearly apparent. Few animal experiments will be performed to identify the best possible targets before these will be used in full-scale investigation on humans.

Role of Frontotemporal Crosstalk in Cognitive Coordination and Flexibility Deficits in Schizophrenia: A Translational Study (17-30833A)
Investigator: Mgr. Tomáš Petrásek, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: Institute of Physiology of the CAS (prof. RNDr. Aleš Stuchlík, Ph.D.)
Co-investigator-Partner: NIMH
Duration: 1.4.2017–31.12.2020
Total budget: 12 990 000 CZK
Total budget NIMH: 8 045 000 CZK
Abstract: Disturbances of cognitive functions have been recognized as hallmarks of schizophrenia and predictors of therapeutic outcome. They significantly limit patient´s functioning, yet there are no specific treatments for cognitive deficits in this disease. In this translational project, we seek to determine the causal role of hippocampal-prefrontal projections in cognitive coordination and flexibility. Moreover, causative role of frontotemporal theta coherence and synchrony will be revealed by controlling PV+ interneuron activity in freely-moving rats. The human part will test relations of frontotemporal synchrony to coordination and flexibility in 35 remitted schizophrenia patients and 35 matched healthy controls using a hrEEG/fMRI measurements and tests of the virtual reality. The overall aim is to elucidate a neuronal substrate for cognitive deficits in schizophrenia for an intelligent design of new treatments. Results of this project will unequivocally show the constituents of frontotemporal dysfunction in schizophrenia and open way for future treatment of cognitive deficits.

Developmental Dynamics of Clinical and Neurophysiological Features in Children and Adolescents at Genetic Risk of Bipolar Affective Disorder (17-32478A)
Investigator: MUDr. Tomáš Novák, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: Motol University Hospital (MUDr. Michal Goetz, Ph.D.)
Co-investigator-Partner: NIMH
Duration: 1.4.2017–31.12.2020
Total budget: 8 157 000 CZK
Total budget NIMH: 3 501 000 CZK
Abstract: Prospective, cohort, observational study, of children and adolescents at risk of bipolar disorder ( high-risk offspring, HRO). The objective is to identify clinical and laboratory markers of the risk of mood disorder. Sixty HRO and sixty age and sex matched offspring of parents without psychiatric illness as controls will be assessed annually. Frequency of the of psychiatric diagnosis, scores of anxiety and affective symptoms, self reported QoL, executive and attention functions, memory and emotion recognition will be assessed. Sleep quality and quantity by the use of subjective and objective methods as well as electroencephalographic indicators of fronto-limbic-connectivity will be evaluated. The differences between HRO and controls, between symptomatic and asymptomatic HRO and between follow-up evaluations will be compared.

Causes of Assaultive Behavior among Patients with Psychosis (17-32445A)
Investigator: Tereza Příhodová, MA
Principle investigator: Charles University Prague, 1st Medical Faculty (doc. MUDr. Jan Vevera, Ph.D.)
Co-investigator-Partner: NIMH
Duration: 1.4.2017–31.12.2020
Total budget: 7 848 000 CZK
Total budget NIMH: 2 123 000 CZK
Abstract: The proposed project is aimed to study the causes, predictors and motivations of violent behavior of inpatients with psychosis. Origins of violence in patients with schizophrenia are heterogeneous, with different pathways leading to the same phenotype of violent behavior. The study will include the patients with the diagnosis of schizophrenia and acute psychotic disorder that will be admitted to the Psychiatric Department of Charles University, 1st Medical Faculty, Prague (N 80) and Psychiatric hospital in Bohnice (N 420) at any time between 1 /4/2017 and 31/12/ 2019, and who will exhibit violence during the present hospitalization. Based on our Pilot studies I and III we expect to find 500 violent patients (250 females, 250 males). Nature of violent behavior and its predictors will be analyzed by interview, scales and behavioral task. Better understanding of factors underlying violent behavior will help us address appropriate therapeutic interventions and improve validity of commonly used violence risk prediction instruments.

Clinical and Neurobiological Predictors of Response to Ketamine: Towards Personalized Treatment of Depression (NV18-04-00260)
Investigator: prof. MUDr. Jiří Horáček, Ph.D. FCMA
Principle investigator: NIMH
Duration: 1.5.2018–31.12.2021
Total budget NIMH: 10 078 000 CZK
Abstract: Depression is a debilitating disease with high lifetime prevalence. Despite the variety of available treatment options, three major problems remain unsolved: (1) the time lag before the onset of the effect of antidepressants, (2) the treatment resistance with 20% of patients not reaching remission after 2 years of multiple treatments, (3) the absence of personalized treatment guidelines. The discovery of rapid antidepressant effect of ketamine led to a paradigm shift in understanding depression pathogenesis and treatment. Nevertheless, studies show that up to 30–40% patients do not respond to ketamine and their difference from responders has not been established yet. The aim of the project is research on prediction of antidepressant effect of ketamine based on the intersection of its neuroplasticity potential, immunomodulation and clinical mechanisms of action. These clinical clues could determine the groups of patients to most likely benefit from the intervention and therefore bridge the time lag before the onset of antidepressant effect with consequent reduction of suicidality risk.

Sleep and Brain Changes Related to Memory Decline in Mild Cognitive Impairment (NV18-07-00272)
Investigator: doc. MUDr. Aleš Bartoš, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: NIMH
Duration: 1.5.2018–31.12.2021
Total budget NIMH: 9 443 000 CZK
Abstract: The expected aging of the population will increase people with memory disease and dementia, especially Alzheimer's disease. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a risk syndrome in which intervention can delay the development of Alzheimer's disease. Sleep disorders and changes in magnetic resonance imaging of the brain occur along with memory impairment in MCI. The aim of the project is to find the connection between slow-wave sleep and sleep spindles, corresponding brain structures and memory consolidation during sleep using polysomnography, magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and paired associative learning test. Then we will investigate whether it is possible to enhance memory consolidation during sleep in MCI by manipulating sleep rhythms using acoustic stimulation. Based on the results, we will illuminate mechanisms between sleep, brain structure, and memory impairment in MCI. This comprehensive sleep approach can bring new insights into early interventions and other clinical strategies at the stage of MCI.

Overlap of Neurodegenerative Dementias and Their Clinic-pathological Correlations: A Prospectiveretrospective Multicentric Study (NV19-04-00090)
Investigator: doc. MUDr. Aleš Bartoš, Ph.D.
Principal investigator: Thomayer Hospital (doc. MUDr. Radoslav Matěj, Ph.D.)
Co-investigator-Partner: NIMH; University Hospital Olomouc (doc. MUDr. Kateřina Menšíková, Ph.D.); Hospital
 Na Homolce (MUDr. Jiří Keller, Ph.D.); General University Hospital in Prague (prof. MUDr. Jan Roth, CSc.)
Duration: 1.5.2019–31.12.2022
Total budget: 15 127 000 CZK
Total budget NIMH: 1 580 000 CZK
Abstract: Neurodegenerative diseases are serious fatal disorders caused by progressive loss of specific neuronal populations.Correct recognition of neurodegenerative dementias during the patients’ life is still very difficult. Combinations of two or more neurodegenerative diseases are far more common than previously admitted, even though more precise epidemiological data is still missing.Overlap of neurodegenerative diseases may be involved into a more rapid progression or very atypical presentation in many patients.Moreover, newly described neuropathological entities related to the aging-Aging-related tau astrogliopathy(ARTAG) or Primary age-related tauopathy(PART)-are more frequent than previously expected and till this time a precise definition of the clinical picture of these impairments is missing.The principal objective is to estimate the proportion of comorbid neurodegenerative dementias in a single centre and in a neuropathological reference laboratory based on retrospective and prospective clinic-pathological correlations in order to improve the clinical diagnosis of different diseases.


The Technology Agency of The Czech Republic

Virtual City - Serious Game Battery for Cognitive Training and Daily Activities Practice in Ecologically Valid Virtual Environement (TL01000309)
Investigator: Mgr. et. Mgr. Iveta Fajnerová, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: NIMH
Co-investigator-Partner: 3dsense, s. r. o. (Ing. Jan Hrdlička)
Duration: 1.3.2018–28.2.2021
Total budget: 9 704 706 CZK
Total budget NIMH: 4 261 706 CZK
Abstract: The aim of the project is to create a complex SW training in VR city environment with high ecological validity that will enable a comprehensive exercise of cognitive abilities (working memory, declarative memory, attention and executive functions such as decision making, planning, mental flexibility, etc.). The program resulting from the successful project can be later applied in the prevention of the development of cognitive deficits in healthy aging individuals. The designed SW could be thus implemented not only in clinical and day-care programs organized in NUDZ clinical facility, but also in collaborative workplaces (Center MEMORY Bratislava, CDZ Karviná, see Letters of intent) and other centers aimed at daily programs for healthy aging and mental health prevention in general.

Development of tools for predicting school success at pre-school age: the Cumulative Risk Index and Screening of Cognitive Functions Using Interactive Computer Games (TL02000561)
Investigator: RNDr. PhDr. Tereza Nekovářová, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: NIMH
Co-investigator-Partner: 3dsense, s. r. o. (Ing. Jan Hrdlička)
Duration: 1.1.2019–31.12.2021
Total budget: 6 389 295 CZK
Total budget NIMH: 2 352 750 CZK
Abstract: Development of tools for predicting school success at pre-school age: the Cumulative Risk Index and Screening of affective and cognitive functions using interactive computer games.

Application of research methods to design a system of services for psychedelic users (TJ02000156) Investigator: Mgr. Rita Kočárová
Principle investigator: NIMH 
Duration: 27.3.2019–31.1.2021
Total budget NIMH: 2 178 482 CZK
Abstract: The main objective of the project is to explore the use of psychedelic substances in the Czech Republic using research methods and to reflect the results in the development of strategic documents on drug policy and services system at national and regional level. Other objectives are to analyze the potential impact of these substances on mental health and quality of life for users, identify risks related to their use and user needs, analyze motivation to use, and identify risky patterns of use. Based on the data and results obtained, it will be possible to design a missing service system and update existing services to meet the needs of users of these substances within the harm-reduction philosophy.

BrainTech: Innovative Technologies for Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience (BrainTech) (TP01010062)
Investigator: RNDr. Karel Valeš, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: NIMH
Dutarion: 1.1.2020–31.12.2022
Total budget NIMH: 14 970 000 Kč
Abstract: The BrainTech project aims to a comprehensive system to support individual projects proof-of-concepts in the field of psychiatry, aging and clinical neuroscience. Through the selection of partial projects in the fields of digital health, telemedicine and drug research and development, projects with commercial potential will be developed and the transfer of results of research and development to the application sphere, both in the Czech Republic and abroad, will accelerate.


Government Council for Drug Policy Coordination

Development of an Effective Treatment Strategy for Methamphetamine Addiction (S-42-18) Investigator: PhDr. Ladislav Csémy
Principle investigator: NIMH 
Duration: 1.1.2019–31.12.2019
Total budget NIMH: 583 000 CZK
Abstract: The project was initiated as a part of Czech-German scientific cooperation on the research of methamphetamine. The main objectives of this study are (1) to describe the socio-demographic and clinical factors associated with methamphetamine use, and (2) to evaluate existing and new treatments for methamphetamine dependence. Also, adapt and implement the US Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment Program: The Matrix Model for Meth Addiction Recovery.The project addresses methamphetamine users in outpatient and residential treatment, which will be monitored for 6 months. The profile of clients/patients, changes in the situation of clients / patients and their relationship to the characteristics of the client/patient at the beginning of treatment and the type of treatment used (therapeutic modalities based on the Matrix model vs. usual treatment in the facility) will be monitored.


The Ministry of the Interior of The Czech Republic

New Synthetic Drugs - Complex Interdisciplinary Research Centre (VI20172020056)
Investigator: MUDr. Tomáš Páleníček, PhD.
Principle investigator: University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague, Faculty of Food and Biochemical Technology (Ing. Martin Kuchař, Ph.D.)
Co-investigators-Partners: NIMH; Alfarma, s.r.o. (RNDr. Miroslav Flieger, CSc.)
Duration: 1.1.2017–31.12.2020
Total budget: 42 761 000 CZK
Total budget NIMH: 24 462 000 CZK
Abstract: The project extends the current project VG20122015075. It focuses on datafillin NSDDB. Moreover, monitoring in the terrain, biological materials and identification of new synthetic drugs precursor. The addictive potential and mechanism of action (interaction with receptors and transporters, influence on brain neurobiological substrates) of the chosen representatives of NSD from different chemical groups will be evaluated. Information about NSD will be submitted for risk assessment in EMCDDA.


RSJ Foundation

Psychosocial Education for Children in Elementary Schools (NP-038-2019)
Investigator: PhDr. Petr Winkler
Principle investigator: NIMH
Duration: 1.10.2019–31.8.2020
Total budget NIMH: 2 535 228 CZK
Abstract: The aim of this project is to introduce a program of social-emotional learning and mental health literacy to elementary schools in Czechia. The main activities will include a development and piloting of the program, revisions of the program based on the feedback from the piloting phase, and development of a teachers’ training. Consultations will be held with Czech as well as international experts who have experiences with programs of a similar kind, and meetings will be organized with key stakeholders partaking in educational system in order to assure a sustainability of the program in the context of elementary education in Czechia. The project will have two main tangible results, a curriculum of social-emotional learning and mental health literacy and a teachers’ training program.


The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of The Czech Republic

Sustainability for National Institute of Mental Health
Investigator: prof. MUDr. Jiří Horáček, Ph.D., FCMA
Principle investigator: NIMH
Duration: 1.1.2016–31.12.2020
Total budget NIMH: 547 060 000 CZK
Abstract: The project is oriented towards strengthening and extending the activities of centre of excellence in applied neurosciences NIMH-CR, having the main purpose to perform R&D activities in the field of mental health in its all dimensions. Project NPU4NUDZ is thematically divided into eight integrated main objectives: (1) neurobiology and animal modelling of mental disorders  including dementias and ageing, development and preclinical testing of novel psychotropics and the risk assessments of new synthetic drugs, (2) research activities in the fields of the epidemiology of mental disorders and strategic planning of treatment care, (3)
brain imaging and advanced analyses of multimodal prospective databases, (4) epidemiology, prevention and treatment of addiction, minimizing health, economic and social consequences of the drug abuse, (5) research and treatment of sleep and circadian rhythm disorders, (6) the use of advanced electrophysiological methods in basic and translational research, diagnostics and prediction of treatment response, (7) clinical and research centre of excellence in psychiatry, (8) establish platforms for innovation, technology transfer and management of knowledge. Project NPU4NIMH-CR consisting of 200 employees (FTE) will enable the full range of research activities of the Centre keeping in strategically crucial connections of hierarchic structure of research. This includes integrated basic and clinical research along with global society measures represented by (a) scientific knowledge, (b) pre – and post-gradual education, (c) complex treatment care, (d) creation of tools and guidelines based on scientific evidence, (e) development of innovative eHealth technologies, and finally (f) global (on the level of Czech Republic) interventions and programs for solving actual and long term problems in the field of mental disorders and substance abuse.

The Ministry of Industry of The Czech Republic

Biotechnology research into microbiological spectrum changes to improve cognitive functions, depression and other neuropsychiatric disorders, particularly in the aging population – CleverAge Biota (FV40032)
Investigator: RNDr. Karel Valeš, Ph.D.
Principle investigator: C2P, s.r.o. (MUDr. Róbert Hromádka)
Co-investigator-Partner: NIMH
Duration: 1.5.2019–31.12.2022
Total budget: 28 199 996 CZK
Total budget NIMH: 13 822 996 CZKAbstract: The goal of the project is to developed probiotic functional foods intended for the elderly population able to modify the changes in the composition of the intestinal microbiota typically occurring in the elderly, ie normalization of the physiological axis of the brain-intestinal-intestinal microbiota, which according to current scientific knowledge affects the activity of the nervous system. As a result, cognitive functions will be improved and the quality of life improved.






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