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Articles by A Heinz
Total Records ( 5 ) for A Heinz
  S Loeber , T Duka , H Welzel , H Nakovics , A Heinz , H Flor and K. Mann

Aims: In the present study, the effect of previous detoxifications on prefrontal function and decision making was examined in alcohol-dependent patients. Further, we examined whether the length of abstinence affects cognitive function. Methods: Forty-eight alcohol-dependent patients were recruited from an inpatient detoxification treatment facility and cognitive function was compared to a control group of 36 healthy controls. The patient population was then divided into a group of patients with less than two previous detoxifications (LO-detox group, n = 27) and a group of patients with two or more previous detoxifications (HI-detox group, n = 21) and cognitive function was compared. In addition, cognitive function of recently (i.e. less than 16 days; median split) and longer abstinent patients was compared. We assessed prefrontal function, memory function and intelligence. Results: Alcoholics, when compared to healthy controls, performed worse with regard to the performance index Attention/Executive function. Cognitive impairment in these tasks was pronounced in recently abstinent patients. We found no significant differences between HI-detox and LO-detox patients with regard to the Attention/Executive function. However, in the IOWA gambling Task, the HI-detox group seemed to be less able to learn to choose cards from the more advantageous decks over time. Conclusions: Our results provide additional evidence for cognitive impairment of alcohol-dependent patients with regard to tasks sensitive to frontal lobe function and underline the importance of abstinence for these impairments to recover. We found only little evidence for the impairing effects of repeated withdrawal on prefrontal function and we suggest that executive function is affected earlier in dependence.

  S Loeber , T Duka , H Welzel Marquez , H Nakovics , A Heinz , K Mann and H. Flor

Aims: Several authors suggest that withdrawal from alcohol could cause neurotoxic lesions in the frontal lobe and thereby affect cognitive function. In line with this, previous studies have demonstrated greater cognitive impairment of alcohol-dependent patients with two or more previous detoxifications (Hi-detox) compared with patients with less than two detoxifications (Lo-detox). The aim of the present study was to investigate whether repeated withdrawal from alcohol affects recovery of cognitive function and is related to relapse. Methods: Forty-eight alcohol-dependent patients (Hi-detox: = 31, Lo-detox: = 17) and 36 healthy controls underwent a comprehensive neuropsychological test-battery. Patients were tested after completion of detoxification (T1) and 3 (T2, = 35) and 6 (T3, = 28) months after discharge. Healthy controls were tested at T1 (= 36) and T2 (= 16). Drinking behaviour was assessed at all times. Results: Patients performed significantly worse than controls at T1 as well as T2 with regard to attention/executive function. Recovery of attention/executive function was observed within the second 3 months after discharge, but the Hi-detox group performed worse than the Lo-detox group. No association with relapse was observed. Conclusion: This study provides first evidence, that repeated withdrawal from alcohol might be associated with reduced brain plasticity as indicated by a delay of recovery from impairment of attention/executive function. However, little evidence was found for a direct influence of cognitive impairment on treatment success.

  S Ruhrmann , F Schultze Lutter , R. K. R Salokangas , M Heinimaa , D Linszen , P Dingemans , M Birchwood , P Patterson , G Juckel , A Heinz , A Morrison , S Lewis , H Graf von Reventlow and J. Klosterkotter

Context  Indicated prevention is currently regarded as the most promising strategy to attenuate, delay, or even avert psychosis. Existing criteria need improvement in terms of specificity and individual risk assessment to allow for better targeted and earlier interventions.

Objective  To develop a differential predictive clinical model of transition to first-episode psychosis.

Design  Prospective multicenter, naturalistic field study with a total follow-up time of 18 months.

Setting  Six early-detection outpatient centers in Germany, Finland, the Netherlands, and England.

Participants  Two hundred forty-five help-seeking patients in a putatively prodromal state of psychosis according to either ultra-high-risk (UHR) criteria or the basic symptom–based criterion cognitive disturbances (COGDIS).

Main Outcome Measure  Incidence of transition to psychosis.

Results  At 18-month follow-up, the incidence rate for transition to psychosis was 19%. Combining UHR and COGDIS yielded the best sensitivity. A prediction model was developed and included positive symptoms, bizarre thinking, sleep disturbances, a schizotypal disorder, level of functioning in the past year, and years of education. With a positive likelihood ratio of 19.9, an area under the curve of 80.8%, and a positive predictive value of 83.3%, diagnostic accuracy was excellent. A 4-level prognostic index further classifying the general risk of the whole sample predicted instantaneous incidence rates of up to 85% and allowed for an estimation of time to transition.

Conclusions  The prediction model identified an increased risk of psychosis with appropriate prognostic accuracy in our sample. A 2-step risk assessment is proposed, with UHR and cognitive disturbance criteria serving as first-step criteria for general risk and the prognostic index as a second-step tool for further risk classification of each patient. This strategy will allow clinicians to target preventive measures and will support efforts to unveil the biological and environmental mechanisms underlying progression to psychosis.

  M Voss , J Moore , M Hauser , J Gallinat , A Heinz and P. Haggard

Patients suffering from schizophrenia may report unusual experiences of their own actions. They may either feel that external forces are controlling their actions or even their thoughts, or they may feel in control of events that in fact are not caused by their actions. Most theories link these disturbances in the sense of agency to deficits in motor prediction, resulting in a mismatch between predicted and actual sensory feedback at a central comparator mechanism. Such theories therefore can account for situations in which the sense of agency is reduced. However, other experiments as well as clinical observations show an enhanced rather than reduced sense of agency in schizophrenic patients. Here, we distinguish between a predictive and a retrospective mechanism where both contribute to the experience of agency, and show that schizophrenia is associated with a specific impairment to the predictive component. We measured subjective time estimates of self-initiated voluntary action (a key press) that were followed by a sensory effect (a tone). When the voluntary actions had a high probability of causing tones, healthy volunteers showed a predictive shift of the perceptual estimate of the action towards the tone, even on occasional trials where the tone was omitted. No such shift occurred in the absence of the tone on blocks when tones were less frequent. The predictive component of action awareness was calculated as the difference between time estimates on ‘action only’ trials from blocks with lower and higher tone probabilities. Schizophrenic patients lacked this predictive component of action awareness, showing a shift on ‘action only’ trials, regardless of the probability of the tone. Importantly, the schizophrenic deficit in predicting the relation between action and effect was strongly correlated with severity of positive psychotic symptoms, specifically delusions and hallucinations. Furthermore, the patients showed an exaggerated retrospective binding between action and tone, shifting the perceived time of action whenever the tone occurred, relative to when it did not occur. Our quantitative, implicit measures show how basic sensory and motor experience may be altered in acute psychosis. The enhanced sense of agency in schizophrenia reflects reliance on retrospection, rather than prediction, to associate actions with external events. The failure to predict the effects of one’s own actions may underlie the blurring and confusion in the relationship between the self and the world that characterizes acute psychosis.

  E Velthorst , D. H Nieman , D Linszen , H Becker , L de Haan , P. M Dingemans , M Birchwood , P Patterson , R. K. R Salokangas , M Heinimaa , A Heinz , G Juckel , H. G von Reventlow , P French , H Stevens , F Schultze Lutter , J Klosterkotter and S. Ruhrmann


Decline in social functioning occurs in individuals who later develop psychosis.


To investigate whether baseline differences in disability are present in those who do and those who do not make a transition to psychosis in a group clinically at high risk and whether disability is a risk factor for transition.


Prospective multicentre, naturalistic field study with an 18-month follow-up period on 245 help-seeking individuals clinically at high risk. Disability was assessed with the Disability Assessment Schedule of the World Health Organization (WHODAS–II).


At baseline, the transition group displayed significantly greater difficulties in making new friends (z = –3.40, P = 0.001), maintaining a friendship (z =–3.00, P = 0.003), dealing with people they do not know (z =–2.28, P = 0.023) and joining community activities (z =–2.0, P = 0.05) compared with the non-transition group. In Cox regression, difficulties in getting along with people significantly contributed to the prediction of transition to psychosis in our sample (β = 0.569, s.e. = 0.184, Wald = 9.548, P = 0.002, hazard ratio (HR) = 1.767, 95% CI 1.238–2.550).


Certain domains of social disability might contribute to the prediction of psychosis in a sample clinically at high risk.

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