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UMCG receives €1.5 million from ZonMW for psychosis research

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29 November 2019

Psychiatrists Iris Sommer and Wim Veling have received a subsidy from ZonMW amounting to € 1.5 million. With these funds, they will conduct research into the course of psychosis. Along with a national consortium, they will monitor patients for up to 10 years after their first episode of psychosis. The research will map the effects of whether or not a person receives maintenance treatment, their social environment, their genetic predisposition and their personality traits on the course of psychosis. The results of this research will ensure that when treating new patients, a better assessment of the expected course of their psychosis can be made on the basis of various characteristics. Their specific care can then be adjusted in relation to this.  The research expands on the HAMLETT study that was previously awarded funding by ZonMW. 

​The immediate 10 years after the first episode of psychosis are decisive for the further course of the condition. Iris Sommer and Wim Veling aim to monitor 512 patients during this critical period. Through extensive interviews with patients and by taking various measurements, they will be able to map the biological, psychological, social and existential factors of the patients concerned. The research will therefore not only focus on recovery from complaints and on functioning, but also on the manners in which patients learn to deal with their condition – through personal identity, hope, connection and living meaningfully. The interviews held in the project will be conducted by experts by experience together with a researcher. The participating patients can also give feedback, which will be used to adjust the research so that it becomes as pleasant as possible for the patients to continue participating. 

On the basis of the interviews and measurements, the researchers will be able to develop instruments that can be used to optimally adjust the treatment of psychological conditions to the needs of each individual patient. These could include, for example, a website that calculates the risk of relapse on the basis of personal characteristics. 

This research builds on the HAMLETT study, which is a treatment study in which people were monitored from their first episode of psychosis onwards, and whereby some of the participants used antipsychotics while others did not. This study has been implemented in 24 Dutch facilities, including in the UMCG.  From the HAMLETT study and from experts by experience, the wish arose to hold extensive interviews with patients in order to map their personal circumstances well.