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Damiaan Denys

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Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders

Focus of research:

Since my employment as PhD student at the University of Utrecht my research focused on obsessive compulsive (spectrum) disorders. OCD was approached from diverse perspectives by means of different methodological tools. One perspective covers OCD from clinical viewpoint and inquires its nosological status. Is OCD a discrete psychiatric disorder or does it represent different clinical subtypes? Another part encompasses randomized clinical trials and aimed to contribute to the pharmacological management of OCD. Is switching drugs in case of non-response to treatment a useful strategy for patients with OCD? Can we identify clinical characteristics that predict a favorable treatment response with pharmacotherapy? Is addition of an atypical antipsychotic to a serotonergic reuptake inhibitor beneficial for treatment-resistant OCD patients? Another perspective addresses OCD from etiological perspective and investigates the role of neurotransmitters in OCD. What is the effect of the combination of an atypical antipsychotic to a serotonergic reuptake inhibitor on dopamine and serotonin levels in different (rat) brain areas? Can we find in vivo evidence for the involvement of the dopamine system in OCD through imaging-studies? Is there an association between specific genotypes of dopamine or serotonergic genes and OCD? Currently, my research focuses on the applicability of deep brain stimulation in OCD and psychiatric disorders.

AMC themes: Neurological & Psychiatric Disorders
Departments: Psychiatry: Adult Psychiatry


Arjan Schröder

Misophonia:an imaging study on the neurobiology and the efficacy of cognitive behavioural therapy

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Dominique Scheepens


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Judy Luigjes

Deep Brain Stimulation in Chronic Treatment refractory Drug Dependence: A Pilot Study

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Luka Liebrand

“Optimizing DBS in psychiatric patients: targeting of specific white matter bundles?”

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Martijn Figee

Neuroimaging the effects of deep brain stimulation in OCD.

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Nina Levar

The Impact of Individual GABA variability on the Amygdala and Fear Learning

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Paul Zhutovsky

“Discovering neuroimaging biomarkers for the prediction of treatment outcome in PTSD.”

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Ruud Smolders

EEG and intracranial recording of local field potentials in the human Nucleus Accumbens

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Key publications:

Mantione M, van de Brink W, Schuurman PR, Denys D, Smoking Cessation and Weight Loss After Chronic Deep Brain Stimulation of the Nucleus Accumbens: Therapeutic and Research Implications: Case Report. NEUROSURGERY 2010;66 (1):218

Denys D, How new is the new philosophy of psychiatry?. PHILOS ETHICS HUMANIT MED 2007;2:22

Denys D, van der Wee N, Janssen J, de Geus F, Westenberg HGM, Low level of dopaminergic D2 receptor binding in obsessive-compulsive disorder. BIOL PSYCHIAT 2004;55 (10):1041-1045

Denys D, Zohar J, Westenberg HGM, The role of dopamine in obsessive-compulsive disorder: preclinical and clinical evidence. J CLIN PSYCHIAT 2004;65 (Suppl. 14):11-17