Spotlight: Neuropsychology Group

Short introduction of the research group

The Neuropsychology Research Group at LLUI focuses on advancing the integration of neuropharmacology and psychotherapy, while exploring neuropsychological and emotional disturbances (mood, perception, cognition, stress) in patients with neurological impairments. The target population includes individuals who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke, or traumatic brain injury. The team uses a variety of methods to improve the quality of life of patients during neurorehabilitation including pharmacological interventions, magnetic resonance imaging, and clinical assessments. By taking a multifaceted approach, the group aims to advance diagnostics and therapies.

Who stands behind the Research Group?

Under the leadership of Prof. Dr. med. Gregor Hasler, a distinguished psychiatrist renowned for his studies in molecular psychiatry, the research group consists of a dedicated team of psychologists and neuroscientists. The group is pioneering psychedelic therapy and has cutting-edge expertise in magnetic resonance imaging, collaboratively applied to explore the emotional landscapes of neurorehabilitation patients.

What are the goals of the research group?

The main goal is to make life easier for people in neurorehabilitation who are dealing with mental and emotional challenges. The team researches the mechanisms in the brain to find better ways to diagnose and treat patients.

The Neuropsychology Research Group is looking into the potential benefits of using medications, mindfulness activities, and nutritional supplements for neurorehabilitation. They are studying how these things affect the brain and thinking abilities. One big focus is on neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself. This is crucial for recovery in both neurorehabilitation and mood disorders. So, interventions that boost this ability could help to improve neurorehabilitation.

The group is also exploring the effects of psychedelic substances like LSD and psilocybin to help with depression and recovery after a stroke. Additionally, they are looking into the impact of D-Serine, a natural amino acid found in soy, fish, and nuts, to see if it can reduce cognitive decline that comes with aging. The team is also investigating effective ways to reduce stress including the use of mindfulness-based interventions.

The Neuropsychology Research Group aims to characterize the mechanisms responsible for the therapeutic effects of these interventions, improve tools for assessing both short-term and long-term effects, and establish effective protocols to optimize treatment outcomes.

In which way does LLUI collaborate with the cereneo clinics and how do the patients at clinics profit from this collaboration?

The Neuropsychology Research Group works in close collaboration with our premium clinical partner cereneo – Center for Neurology and Rehabilitation. You can read more about this collaboration here.

What has the research group achieved so far?

Prof. Hasler has authored a book titled “Higher Self – Psychedelika in der Psychotherapy” (Klett Cotta Publishers), explaining how psychedelic substances foster profound insights and enhance neuroplasticity. Furthermore, another book, “Was uns wirklich nährt” offering insights on attaining health and well-being through mindful eating, will be released in October (Arkana, Randomhouse-Penguin Publishers).

The Neuropsychology Research Group recently developed and validated the Difficult Experience Processing Scale (DEPS) to assess psychedelic substances’ ability to alter individuals’ confrontation and endurance of distressing memories, crucial for the treatment of mood disorders. Moreover, Prof. Hasler’s research group is currently engaged in studies examining the impact of psychedelics on neuroplasticity in both young and elderly populations. The group has recently released a review consolidating the existing evidence in animals and humans. Additionally, the research team has published a study employing magnetic resonance spectroscopy to analyse neurometabolic changes associated with depression.

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