Can your mind make your body sick?

$2,951
Raised of $65,460 Goal
5%
Ended on 7/09/13
Campaign Ended
  • $2,951
    pledged
  • 5%
    funded
  • Finished
    on 7/09/13

About This Project



Did you know, that your brain controls your immune system?

We want to investigate whether changes in the brain can disturb the immune system and make the body sick

Ask the Scientists

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What is the context of this research?

Researchers have discovered, that the human mind can modulate the immune system. For example, if you go from living alone to live in a group, your brain will make your immune system more fit to tackle infections that are likely to flourish in groups!

We want to build on these findings and investigate whether changes in the brain (such as in mental illness) can disturb the immune system to develop diseases (such as autoimmune diseases or infections).

Specifically, we aim to find out whether depression increases the risk of developing autoimmune disease and severe infections.

What is the significance of this project?

In a time where rates of mental illnesses and immune-related diseases are increasing and no one can explain why, we suggest to look for a common link between the two.
Help us, help the next generation of patients with psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's, Grave's, Wegener's, type 1 diabetes, lupus, lichen, celiac and many more!
Join us on our quest to solve these disabling mysteries of the human species and bring us all closer to a world where the damaging consequences of mental illness are better understood.

We believe this project can bring us closer to the causes behind common immune-related diseases and give us clues on how to prevent them.

Why us? Why Denmark?
Here in Denmark we have excellent conditions for investigating exactly these types of questions. All Danes are born with a social security number, and everywhere we go - family doctor, psychiatric hospital, pharmacy, etc. - all information is recorded and stored in a mega database.
The system has existed for more than four decades, and with 6 million Danes being alive each year, this yields information on 240 million person years!

Last, but not least, we have gathered an extremely competent, international team to lead the project, comprising a professor in epidemiology, a professor in psychiatry and a professor of psychoneuroimmunology.

What are the goals of the project?

We will need funds to do three things.
First, Denmark has a wonderful, unique database to conduct comprehensive analyses of this type, but we need to cover the costs of extracting data from the archive. Second, give one researcher (the lead participant of the project) the time to focus all his energy on this project for 1 year - which is the time it will take to carry out the project. And third, allow us to employ international experts in our mental health research and data analysis.

Budget

Please wait...

The project will be carried out over 12 months, in collaboration between 6 researchers from Aarhus University (Denmark), University of Cambridge (UK), Columbia University (NY) and University of California (LA).
In summary, we need funds to collect and analyze the data and write up the results for publication in scientific journals. In order to reach these steps, we will need 12 months of salary for the lead researcher and 2 months of salary for a bio-statistician.

Meet the Team

Niels Okkels
Niels Okkels
Senior Medical Student, Researcher, Co-founder and Co-director of the Clinical Psychiatric Research School

Affiliates

Department of Organic Psychiatric Disorders and Emergency Ward (Dep. M), Aarhus University Hospital, Risskov, Denmark.

The key collaborators on the project are:
Medical Student, Niklas Alexander Worm Andersson, University of Sydney
Professor of Psychiatry, Povl Munk-Jørgensen, Aarhus University
Postdoc in Epidemiology, James Kirkbride, Cambridge University
Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Steven Cole, UCLA
Professor of Epidemiology, Renee Goodwin, Columbia University
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James Kirkbride
James Kirkbride
Steve Cole
Steve Cole
Niklas Worm Andersson
Niklas Worm Andersson

Team Bio

I am a medical student in my 11th term dedicated to psychiatric research and to promoting research in general. I work as a researcher at Risskov Psychiatric Hospital and as a co-supervisor of medical students in the Clinical Psychiatric Research School. I organize the Congress for Medical Student Research, Research Dating and Research Café.
I have a passion for promoting medical student research, helping the spread of good ideas and challenging the status quo of higher education and medical practices.

Recommendations
"Building on more than 25 years of leading a research department, I can say that the scientific accomplishments of Niels Okkels are exceptional for a person of his age, and that he already has demonstrated a bright and promising talent in biomedical research"
Povl Munk-Jørgensen, MD DMSc Professor of Psychiatry

List of scientific publications and online CV
click here

Niels Okkels

I am a medical student in my 11th term dedicated to psychiatric research and to promoting research in general. I work as a researcher at Risskov Psychiatric Hospital and as a co-supervisor of medical students in the Clinical Psychiatric Research School. I organize the Congress for Medical Student Research, Research Dating and Research Café.
I have a passion for promoting medical student research, helping the spread of good ideas and challenging the status quo of higher education and medical practices.

Recommendations
"Building on more than 25 years of leading a research department, I can say that the scientific accomplishments of Niels Okkels are exceptional for a person of his age, and that he already has demonstrated a bright and promising talent in biomedical research"
Povl Munk-Jørgensen, MD DMSc Professor of Psychiatry

List of scientific publications and online CV
click here

James Kirkbride

I am a psychiatric epidemiologist interested in the causes of schizophrenia and other major psychotic disorders from an environmental perspective. I am a member of the EpiCentre group within the Department of Psychiatry. I am particularly interested in the interplay between genes and environment to lead to the onset of psychosis via disruption of neurobiological pathways. My current research involves investigating the incidence of psychotic disorders in East Anglia – an area with marked variation in deprivation, immigration and urbanicity. Little is known about the burden of psychotic disorders in rural areas and this study – the Social Epidemiology of Psychoses in East Anglia [SEPEA-link] – will provide important information in this regard. The study will provide the sample of cases which feed into a collaborative EU Framework Programme grant to study the interaction between genes and environment in the onset of psychoses – the EU-GeneEnvironment [EU-GEI-link] Interaction case-control study.

Steve Cole

Steve Cole is a Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences in the UCLA School of Medicine. His research studies the biological pathways by which social environments influence gene expression by viral, cancer, and immune cell genomes. Dr. Cole received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University in 1993 and subsequently completed 5 years of Post-Doctoral Fellowship research in psycho-neuro-immunology at UCLA. He subsequently served as an Assistant Research Biologist (1998), Assistant Professor (2001), Associate Professor (2006), and Professor of Medicine (2011) at UCLA. In addition to his appointments in the Division of Hematology-Oncology in the UCLA Department of Medicine and the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Dr. Cole is also a member of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Norman Cousins Center, the UCLA AIDS Institute, and the UCLA Molecular Biology Institute. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research. Dr. Cole also serves as Director of the UCLA Social Genomics Core Laboratory, and provides consulting support on social regulation of gene expression to the Institute of Medicine, the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Aging, the Santa Fe Institute for Complex Systems, and the MacArthur Foundation, among others.

Niklas Worm Andersson

I am medical student at Aarhus University and a member of Clinical Psychiatric Research School at Aarhus University Hospital, Risskov from where I am involved in psychiatric research. Currently I am studying at the University of Sydney, Australia. Moreover, I support editorial work on the scientific journal 'Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica'. I am especially interested in the field of research that concerns the interplay between mental and physical diseases as I favour the idea of the body being an unified and inseparable functioning system.

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Additional Information

If you chose to back the project, we will:
- Personally keep you updated and informed on any progress we make
- Invite you to discuss our research and our results
- Be open to meet face-to-face and discuss future projects together, in case you are interested in the kind of research we do (nielsokkels@gmail.com)

Please, help us share and spread the word!

Project Backers

  • 31Backers
  • 5%Funded
  • $2,951Total Donations
  • $95.19Average Donation
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