Research Projects

Track 1. Neurotransmitters and Fear

In this research track, we examine the role of different neurotransmitters in fear and anxiety. Both experimentally induced fear memories (fear conditioning) and naturally occurring fears are studied to gain a more complete picture. In a series of studies, we measure simultaneous changes in neural activity and changes in glutamate and dopamine concentrations to better understand acquisition, extinction, and expression of fear memories. In other studies, we examine the adenosinergic system and its role in anxiety disorders.

Track 2. Fear and brain maturation

Fear acquisition has been demonstrated in children as young as 2 years old, with a stronger pairing between the neutral stimulus and the fear response with increasing age, whereas fear extinction is impaired in adolescents as compared to children and adults. In this research track, we examine how changes in fear acquisition and extinction from childhood to adulthood relate to brain maturation and hormonal exposure.

Track 3. Neurobiological Moderators and Predictors of Treatment Response

A significant proportion of patients with anxiety disorders do not respond to first treatment attempts, adding to the suffering of individual patients. If there were biomarkers that could predict beforehand who would and who would not respond to a specific treatment, or which treatment best suits a specific patient, the burden of failed treatments would lessen and limited resources of the health care system could be utilized more effectively. The aim of this research track is to identify biomarkers that could be useful in clinical decisions of treatment selection.

Andreas Frick
Andreas Frick

Principal Investigator

Andreas Frick, PhD, Licensed Psychologist

E-mail: andreas.frick@psychology.su.se

Collaborators at the Department of Psychology, Stockholm University

  • Håkan Fischer, Professor
  • Kristoffer NT Månsson, Postdoctoral Researcher

Other National and International Collaborators

  • Daniel Alamidi, PhD, Philips Inc.
  • Johannes Björkstrand, Postdoctoral Researcher, Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark
  • Mats Fredrikson, Professor, Uppsala University and Karolinska Institutet
  • Tomas Furmark, Professor, Uppsala University
  • Malin Gingnell, Researcher, Uppsala University
  • Jakub Kraus, PhD Student, Masaryk University, The Czech Republic
  • Örjan Smedby, Professor, KTH Royal Institute of Technology
  • Jan Weis, Associate Professor, Uppsala University
  • Fredrik Åhs, Associate Professor, Uppsala University and Karolinska Institutet
  • Thomas Ågren, Researcher, Uppsala University

Financial Support

  • The Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation
  • The Swedish Research Council
  • The Swedish Society for Medical Research
  • The Swedish Society of Medicine

Conference Presentations 2017

Frick, A. (2017). Serotonin and anxiety. Swedish Serotonin Society yearly meeting, Stockholm, Sweden. [talk]

Frick, A. (2017). Brain-based treatment selection for social anxiety disorder. The 13th World Congress of Biological Psychiatry, Copenhagen, Denmark. [talk]

Frick, A. (2017). Serotonergic regulation of anxiety neuronal network. The 13th World Congress of Biological Psychiatry, Copenhagen, Denmark. [talk]

Frick, A. (2017). PTSD and the Brain: Imbalance between serotonin and substance P? The 2nd Nordic Conference of Sexual Trauma, Uppsala, Sweden. [talk]

Publications

Faria, V., Gingnell, V., Motilla Hoppe, J., Hjorth, O., Alaie, I., Frick, A., Hultberg, S., Wahlstedt, K., Engman, J., Månsson, K.N.T., Carlbring, P., Andersson, G., Reis, M., Larsson, E.-M., Fredrikson, M., & Furmark, T. (in press). Do you believe it? Verbal suggestions influence the clinical and neural effects of escitalopram in social anxiety disorder: a randomized trial. EBioMedicine. doi:10.1016/j.ebiom.2017.09.031

Bas-Hoogendam, J.M., Steenbergen, H., Pannekoek, J.N., Fouche, J.-P., Lochner, C., Hattingh, C.J., Cremers, H.R., Furmark, T., Månsson, K.N.T., Frick, A., Engman, J., Boraxbekk, C.-J., Carlbring, P., Andersson, G., Fredrikson, M., Straube, T., Peterburs, J., Klumpp, H., Phan, K.L., Roelofs, K., Veltman, D.J., van Tol, M.-J., Stein, D.J., & van der Wee, N.J.A. (in press). Voxel-Based Morphometry Multi-Center Mega-Analysis of Brain Structure in Social Anxiety Disorder. NeuroImage: Clinical, 16, 678-688. doi:10.1016/j.nicl.2017.08.001

Heurling, K., Leuzy, A., Jonasson, M., Frick, A., Zimmer, E.R., Nordberg, A., & Lubberink, M. (2017). Quantitative positron emission tomography in brain research. Brain Research, 1670, 220-234. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2017.06.022

Frick, A. (2017). Common and distinct gray matter alterations in social anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder: Invited commentary on Zhao et al. Gray Matter Abnormalities in Non-comorbid Medication-naive Patients with Major Depressive Disorder or Social Anxiety Disorder. EBioMedicine, 21, 53-54. doi:10.1016/j.ebiom.2017.06.02

Frick, A. (2017). Increased serotonin 1A receptor availability in the raphe nuclei predicts future suicidal behavior: Invited commentary on Oquendo MA, Galfalvy H, Sullivan GM, et al. Positron Emission Tomographic Imaging of the Serotonergic System and Prediction of Risk and Lethality of Future Suicidal Behavior. JAMA Psychiatry, 73(10), 1048-1055. Evidence-Based Mental Health, 20(3), e11. doi:10.1136/eb-2017-102650

Björkstrand, J., Agren, T., Ahs, F., Frick, A., Larsson, E.-M., Hjorth, O., Furmark, T., & Fredrikson, M. (2017). Think twice, it's all right: Long lasting effects of disrupted reconsolidation on brain and behavior in human long-term fear. Behavioural Brain Research, 324, 125-129. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2017.02.016

Frick, A., Ahs, F., Michelgård Palmquist, Å., Pissiota, A., Wallenquist, U., Fernandez, M., Jonasson, M., Appel, L., Frans, Ö., Lubberink, M., Furmark, T., von Knorring, L., & Fredrikson, M. (2016). Overlapping expression of serotonin transporters and neurokinin-1 receptors in posttraumatic stress disorder: a multi-tracer PET study. Molecular Psychiatry, 21, 1400-1407. doi:10.1038/mp.2015.180

Frick, A., Åhs, F., Appel, L., Jonasson, M., Wahlstedt, K., Bani, M., Merlo Pich, E., Bettica, P., Långström, B., Lubberink, M., Fredrikson, M., & Furmark, T. (2016). Reduced serotonin synthesis and regional cerebral blood flow after anxiolytic treatment of social anxiety disorder. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 26(11), 1775-1783. doi:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2016.09.004

Gingnell, M.*, Frick, A.*, Engman, J., Alaie, I., Björkstrand, J., Faria, V., Carlbring, P., Andersson, G., Reis, M., Larsson, E.-M., Wahlstedt, K., Fredrikson, M., & Furmark, T. (2016). Combining escitalopram and cognitive behavioural therapy for social anxiety disorder – A randomized controlled fMRI trial. British Journal of Psychiatry, 209(3), 229-235. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.115.175794 * Equal contribution.

Frick, A., Lubberink, M., & Furmark, T. (2016). Use of 5-Hydroxytryptophan Labeled With Carbon 11 in Social Anxiety Disorder—Reply. JAMA Psychiatry, 73(2), 177-178. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.2751

Björkstrand, J., Ågren, T., Åhs, F., Frick, A., Larsson, E.-M., Hjorth, O., Furmark, T., & Fredrikson, M. (2016). Disrupting Reconsolidation Attenuates Long Term Fear Memory in the Human Amygdala and Facilitates Approach Behavior. Current Biology, 26, 2690-2695. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2016.08.022

Furmark, T., Marteinsdottir, I., Frick, A., Heurling, K., Tillfors, M., Appel, L., Antoni, G., Hartvig, P., Fischer, H., Långström, B., Eriksson, E., & Fredrikson, M. (2016). Serotonin Synthesis Rate and the Tryptophan Hydroxylase-2 G-703T Polymorphism in Social Anxiety Disorder. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 30(10), 1028-1035. doi:10.1177/0269881116648317

Månsson, K.N.T., Salami, A., Frick, A., Carlbring, P., Andersson, G., Furmark, T., & Boraxbekk, C.J. (2016). Neuroplasticity in Response to Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder. Translational Psychiatry, 6, e727. doi:10.1038/tp.2015.218

Gingnell, M., Bannbers, E., Engman, J., Frick, A., Moby, L., Wikstrom, J., & Sundström-Poromaa, I. (2016). The effect of combined hormonal contraceptives use on brain reactivity during response inhibition. European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care, 21(2), 150-157. doi:10.3109/13625187.2015.1077381

Frick, A., Ahs, F., Engman, J., Jonasson, M., Alaie, I., Björkstrand, J., Frans, Ö., Faria, V., Linnman, C., Appel, L., Wahlstedt, K., Lubberink, M., Fredrikson, M., & Furmark, T. (2015). Serotonin synthesis and reuptake in social anxiety disorder: a positron emission tomography study. JAMA Psychiatry, 72(8), 794-802. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.0125

Frick, A., Ahs, F., Linnman, C., Jonasson, M., Appel, L., Lubberink, M., Långström, B., Fredrikson, M., & Furmark, T. (2015). Increased neurokinin-1 receptor availability in the amygdala in social anxiety disorder: a positron emission tomography study with [11C]GR205171. Translational Psychiatry, 5, e597. doi:10.1038/tp.2015.92

Björkstrand, J., Agren, T., Frick, A., Engman, J., Larsson, E.-M., Furmark, T., & Fredrikson, M. (2015). Disruption of reconsolidation erases a fear memory trace in the human amygdala: 18 months follow-up. PLoS One, 10(7):E0129393. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0129393

Månsson, K.N.T., Frick, A., Olsson, C.J., Marquand, A.M., Williams, S.C.R., Carlbring, P., Andersson, G., & Furmark, T. (2015). Predicting Long-term Outcome of Internet-delivered Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder Using fMRI and Support Vector Machine Learning. Translational Psychiatry, 5, e530. doi:10.1038/tp.2015.22

Ahs, F., Frick, A., Furmark, T., & Fredrikson, M. (2015). Human serotonin transporter availability predicts fear conditioning. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 98(3, pt 2), 515-519. doi:10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2014.12.00

Frick, A., Engman, J., Alaie, I., Björkstrand, J., Faria, V., Gingnell, M., Wallenquist, U., Agren, T., Wahlstedt, K., Larsson, E.-M., Morell, A., Fredrikson, M., & Furmark, T. (2014). Enlargement of visual processing regions in social anxiety disorder is related to symptom severity. Neuroscience Letters, 583, 114-119. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2014.09.033

Frick, A.*, Gingnell, M.*, Marquand, A.F., Howner, K., Fischer, H., Kristiansson, M., Williams, S.C.R., Fredrikson, M., & Furmark, T. (2014). Classifying social anxiety disorder using multivoxel pattern analyses of brain function and structure. Behavioural Brain Research, 259, 330-335. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2013.11.003 * Equal contribution.

Frick, A., Howner, K., Fischer, H., Kristiansson, M., & Furmark, T. (2013). Altered fusiform connectivity during processing of fearful faces in social anxiety disorder. Translational Psychiatry, 3, e312. doi:10.1038/tp.2013.85

Frick, A., Howner, K., Fischer, H., Fristed Eskildsen, S., Kristiansson, M., & Furmark, T. (2013). Cortical thickness alterations in social anxiety disorder. Neuroscience Letters, 536, 52-55. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2012.12.060

Månsson, K.N.T., Carlbring, P., Frick, A., Engman, J., Olsson, C.-J., Bodlund, O., Furmark, T., & Andersson, G. (2013). Altered Neural Correlates of Affective Processing After Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Attention Bias Modification for Social Anxiety Disorder. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 214, 229-237. doi:10.1016/j.pscychresns.2013.08.012

Jonasson, M., Appel, L., Engman, J., Frick, A., Nyholm, D., Askmark, H., Danfors, T., Sörensen, J., Furmark, T., & Lubberink, M. (2013). Validation of parametric methods for [11C]PE2I positron emission tomography. NeuroImage, 74, 172-178. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.02.022

Gingnell, M., Engman, J., Frick, A., Moby, L., Wikström, J., Fredrikson, M., & Sundström-Poromaa, I. (2013). Oral contraceptive use changes brain activity and mood in women with previous negative affect on the pill - A double-blinded, placebo-controlled randomized trial of a levonorgestrel-containing combined oral contraceptive. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 38(7), 1133-1144. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2012.11.006

Agren, T., Engman, J., Frick, A., Björkstrand, J., Larsson, E.-M., Furmark, T., & Fredrikson, M. (2012). Disruption of reconsolidation erases a fear memory trace in the human amygdala. Science, 337(6101), 1550-1552. doi:10.1126/science.1223006

Frick, A., Robins Wahlin, T.-B, Pachana, N.A., & Byrne, G.J. (2011). Relationships between the National Adult Reading Test and Memory. Neuropsychology, 25(3), 397-403. doi:10.1037/a0021988