The QUEST 1,000 € NULL Results Award
Publish your NULL results – Fight the negative publication bias!
Traditionally there is a strong bias against results that did not confirm or support the hypothesis researchers set out to test. Such results are called NULL results (as the Null hypothesis was not rejected), and rarely get published (‘file drawer phenomenon’) and are therefore lost to the scientific community. NULL results of well performed studies are important for many reasons. Due to the current bias towards ‘positive results’ aggregation of the available literature in systematic reviews overestimate the efficacy of drugs or effect sizes of biological phenomena. Knowing about ‘blind alleys’ and ‘dead ends’ may prevent others from repeating experiments unnecessarily. And surprising to many, NULL results are more informative than ‘positive’ results. Their positive and negative predictive values are much higher than those of results that support our hypotheses (for details see here, and here).
Until a decade ago or so it was almost impossible to publish NULL results, unless they refuted a spectacular claim. Fortunately, this has changed, and numerous journals now publish results of sound studies regardless of their outcome (negative, inconclusive), such as F1000Res, PeerJ, PlosONE and many more. Incidentally, all these journals publish Open Access (see also our Open Access Publication Fund).
- The QUEST center is offering this award of 1,000 € to first/last/corresponding BIH or Charité authors (and employees) of studies where the main result is a NULL or "negative" result.
- Papers published from 2017 onwards are accepted.
- Prizes can be spent until the end of 2024. Awards are given on an ongoing basis.
- Only one QUEST Prize can be awarded per publication.
- Authors can apply (with different publications) only once per year per prize (i.e. maximum 5 prizes per year per author).
- Publications of authors (independent of the author´s position) which are also QUEST employees cannot be considered.
- Awardees will be featured on the QUEST web pages.
To apply for the award, please fill out the registration form that you can find here.
- The publication Analysis of Lymphocytic DNA Damage in Early Multiple Sclerosis by Automated Gamma-H2AX and 53BP1 Foci Detection: A Case Control Study receives a QUEST NULL results Award for reporting null results as major findings in a clinical case-control study. The article was published 2016 in PloS One (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147968). Applicant: Dr. Ludwig Rasche, Department of Neurology and NeuroCure Clinical Research Center, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
- The publication Normal volumes and microstructural integrity of deep gray matter structures in AQP41 NMOSD, a case-control study, receives a QUEST NULL results award. Against the background of conflicting previous findings, this article reports no involvement of deep gray matter in patients with NMOSD, an autoimmune CNS condition. The article was published 2016 in Neurology: Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation (DOI: 10.1212/NXI.0000000000000229). Applicant: Dr. Carsten Finke, Klinik für Neurologie, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
- The publication Investigation of hippocampal synaptic transmission and plasticity in mice deficient in the actinbinding protein Drebrin - a preclinical, electrophysiological study in mice - receives a QUEST NULL results award. The study reports no differences between models as major findings. The results seem to contradict previous findings from other in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo experiments, as the authors point out. The article was published 2017 in Scientific Reports (DOI: 10.1038/srep42652). Applicant: Prof. Britta Eickholt, Institute of Biochemistry and NeuroCure-Cluster of Excellence, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
- The publication Hypertension and Risk of Post-Operative Cognitive Dysfunction (POCD): A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis receives a QUEST NULL results award. Based on a systematic data synthesis of the existing literature, the publication reports no higher risk for post-operative cognitive dysfuntion in patients with hypertension compared to patients without. The article was published 2017 in Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health (DOI: 10.2174/1745017901713010027). Applicant: Dr. Insa Feinkohl, Molecular Epidemiology Group, Max-Delbrueck-Centrum for Molecular Medicin (MDC) in the Helmholtz Association.
- The publication S1P receptor antagonists fingolimod and siponimod do not improve the outcome of experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis mice after disease onset receives a QUEST NULL results Award. The authors showed that the observation of an effect of an active agent on the onset of an autoimmune disease, did not translate to the treatment of the disease. While previous findings from preclinical studies indicated that sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) antagonists prevent the onset of autoimmune myasthenia gravis in mice, this publication, however, reports no effect on the course of the disease in a similar animal model. The article was published 2017 in the European Journal of Immunology (DOI:10.1002/eji.201747187). Applicant: Andreas Pelz, Department of Experimental Neurology and Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
- The publication Inflammatory-linked changes in CpG island methylation of three opioid peptide genes in a rat model for pain receives a QUEST NULL results Award. Earlier studies indicated an upregulation of opiod genes in the context of peripheral inflammation. The authors report that a transcriptional regulation via methylation doesn`t seem to be a key regulator of opioid gene activation in immune cells during peripheral tissue inflammation in a rat model. The article was published 2018 in PLOS ONE, DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0191698). Applicant: Prof. Christoph Stein, Klinik für Anästhesiologie und operative Intensivmedizin, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
- The publication Oral administration of a novel lipophilic PPAR δ agonist is not neuroprotective after rodent cerebral ischemia receives a QUEST NULL results Award. In contradiction to previously published work on the role of PPARδ agonists in models of cerebral ischemia, the authors found no biologically relevant neuroprotective effect of a treatment with a PPARδ agonist. The publication contributes to the overall evaluation of the efficacy of PPARδ agonists as a neuroprotective therapy of ischemic stroke. The article was published 2018 in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism (DOI: 10.1177/0271678X17743876). Applicant: Dr. Samuel Knauss, Department of Experimental Neurology, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
- The publication The dexamethasone corticotropin releasing hormone test in healthy and depressed women with and without childhood adversity receives a QUEST NULL results Award. In this controlled clinical study, the authors investigated the effects of childhood adverse events and depression on HPA axis activity. Contrasting previous findings, they did not find evidence supporting the assumption of distinct neuroendicrine endophenotypes in patients with major depressive disorder with and without childhood adverse experiences compared to healthy controls. The publication challenges previous assumptions and emphasizes the importance of further systematic disentanglement of factors that potentially contribute to altered HPA axis function. The article was published 2018 in Psychoneuroendocrinology (DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2017.10.016). Applicant: Prof. Katja Wingenfeld, Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
- The publication Octreotide Does Not Inhibit Proliferation in Five Neuroendocrine Tumor Cell Lines receives a QUEST NULL results Award. The authors show that five established neuroendocrine tumor (NET) cell line models did not express tumor-like somatostatin receptors (SSTR) and no impact of somatostatin analogs (SSA) treatment alone was found. These results The octreotide resistance in examined cell line models underscores the importance of more physiologic tumor model systems. The article was published 2018 in Frontiers in Endocrinology (DOI: 10.3389/fendo.2018.00146). Applicant: Dr. Carsten Grötzinger, Med. Klinik m.S. Hepatologie und Gastroenterologie, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
- The publication Fingolimod therapy is not effective in a mouse model of spontaneous autoimmune peripheral polyneuropathy receives a QUEST NULL results Award. This preclinical study showed that therapy of autoimmune polyneuropathy with fingolimod did not show any improvements regarding the disease progression or motor deficits compared to a vehicle treatment. This publication corroborates findings from a recent study in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy patients. The article was published 2018 in Scientific Reports (DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-23949-4). Applicant: Dr. med. Petra Hühnchen, Klinik und Hochschulambulanz für Neurologie, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
- The publication Liver-secreted RBP4 does not impair glucose homeostasis in mice receives a QUEST NULL results Award. Based on the literature, the authors hypothesized that higher levels of RBP4, a major transport protein in blood, would impair glucose homeostasis in mice. However, elevating the expression of RBP4 had no such effect for both regular and high-fat diets, indicating that RBP4 does not impair glucose homeostasis. The article was published in 2018 in Journal of Biological Chemistry (DOI: 10.1074/jbc.RA118.004294). Applicant: Prof. Dr. Michael Schupp, Institute of Pharmacology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
- The publication Impact of Intraoperative Hyperglycemia on Brain Structures and Volumes receives a QUEST NULL results Award. Postmortem studies in septic patients indicated that hyperglycemic patients were more prone to increased rate of apoptosis of microglial cells compared to patients without hyperglycemia. In this prospective, observational study, however, the authors observed no effect of intraoperative hyperglycemia on postoperative brain structures and volumes in elderly patients undergoing major surgery. The article was published in 2018 in Journal of Neuroimaging (DOI: 10.1111/jon.12583). Applicant: Dr. med. Lachmann, Klinik für Anästhesiologie m.S. operative Intensivmedizin, Campus Virchow-Klinikum, Charité - Universitaetsmedizin Berlin.
- The publication Effects of transcranial direct current stimulation on the cognitive control of negative stimuli in borderline personality disorder receives a QUEST NULL results Award. This clinical study reports results from excitatory prefrontal stimulation in patients with borderline personality disorder, which lead to rejection of the hypothesis. Furthermore, hypotheses, sample size, exclusion criteria, and statistical analyses were pre-registered. The pre-registration, full data set, syntax, and statistical results are available at osf.io/g43bh/. The article was published in 2018 in Scientific Reports (DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-37315-x). Applicants: Prof. Roepke and Dr. Schulze, Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
- The publication Cardiac 123I-MIBG Scintigraphy in Neurodegenerative Parkinson Syndromes: Performance and Pitfalls in Clinical Practice receives a QUEST NULL results Award. The authors show that even if 123I-MIBG scintigraphy is a known specific and valuable technique in scientific approaches and well-defined and highly selected samples, predictability of 123I-MIBG based nuclear medical diagnosis for individual cases and thus, feasibility in routine clinical practice is limited. The clinical series of the authors emphasize clinical verification of 123I-MIBG results on an individual basis in clinical routine. The article was published in 2019 in Frontiers in Neurology (DOI:10.3389/fneur.2019.00152). Applicant: Dr. Cornelia Skowronek, Movement Disorders and Neuromodulation Section, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
- The publication No association between participant retention and the proportion of included elderly people in rheumatology trials: Results from a series of exploratory meta‐regression analyses recieves a QUEST NULL results award. Based on a systematic data synthesis of the existing literature, the study found no association between participant retention and the proportion of included elderly people in rheumatology trials. This article was published 2019 in Arthritis Care & Research (DOI: 10.1002/acr.24051). Applicant: Andriko Palmowski, Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
- The publication Physical Fitness Training in Patients with Subacute Stroke (PHYS-STROKE): a multicentre, randomised controlled, endpoint blinded trial receives a QUEST NULL results award. This multicenter, randomized clinical trial tested the safety and efficacy of aerobic exercise on activities of daily living in the subacute phase after stroke. They found that the training did not improve maximal walking speed or activities of daily living compared with relaxation, while the rate of serious adverse events was higher in the aerobic exercise group. This article was published in 2019 in BMJ (DOI: 10.1136/bmj.l5101). Applicant: Alexander Nave, Klinik und Hochschulambulanz für Neurologie, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
- The publication Evaluating Modeling and Validation Strategies for Tooth Loss receives a QUEST NULL results award. The authors tested prediction models for tooth loss under a large variety of modeling conditions and found that none of the developed models would be useful in a clinical setting, despite high accuracy. This article was published in 2019 in the Journal of Dental Research. (DOI: 10.1177/0022034519864889). Applicant: Falk Schwendicke, Department of Operative and Preventive Dentistry, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin
- The publication Cannabidivarin for the treatment of HIV-associated neuropathic pain – a randomized, blinded, controlled clinical trial receives a QUEST NULL results award. This clinical trial tested Cannabidivarin as treatment for HIV-associated neuropathic pain and found that it was safe but failed to reduce neuropathic pain intensity in HIV-patients. This article was published in 2019 as a preprint in medRxiv (DOI: 10.1101/2019.12.20.19015495) Applicants: Luca Eibach and Prof. Chistoph Stein, Experimental Anaesthesiology, Charité Campus Benjamin Franklin, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
- The publication Current Smoking Does Not Modify the Treatment Effect of Intravenous Thrombolysis in Acute Ischemic Stroke Patients—A Post-hoc Analysis of the WAKE-UP Trial receives a QUEST NULL results award. The study could find no supporting evidence for the “smoking paradox”, which indicates that patients with acute ischemic stroke (AIS) who smoke at the time of their stroke may have a better prognosis after intravenous thrombolysis than non-smokers. This article was published in 2019 in the journal "frontiers in Neurology" (DOI: 10.3389/fneur.2019.01239). Applicant: Ludwig Schlemm, Department of Neurology with Experimental Neurology Campus Charité Mitte, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin
- The publication Bone structure determined by HR-MDCT does not correlate with micro-CT of lumbar vertebral biopsies: a prospective crosssectional human in vivo study receives a QUEST NULL results award. The study tested if there is a correlation between the assessment of bone quality through preoperative lumbar high-resolution multidetector computed tomography (HR-MDCT) scans with the actual bone quality measured through microcomputed tomography (μCT) analysis of transpedicular vertebral body biopsies. The study found no significant correlations between the results of those two measurement methods. This article was published in 2020 in the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research (DOI: 10.1186/s13018-020-01895-0). Applicant: Yannick Palmowski, Center for Musculoskeletal Surgery, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
- The publication Focal brain ischemia in mice does not cause electrophysiological signs of critical illness neuropathy receives a QUEST NULL results award. The study investigated in a mouse model if stroke lead to additional nerve or muscle damage. While an additional positive control showed the sensitivity of the used methods, no nerve or muscle damage was found. This article was published in 2020 in the journal "BMC Research Notes" (DOI: 10.1186/s13104-020-05248-2). Applicant: Wolfgang Böhmerle, Department of Neurology with Experimental Neurology Campus Charité Mitte, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin
- The publication Resting state brain network functional connectivity is not associated with inflammatory markers and blood cell counts in older adults receives a QUEST NULL results award. The study used longitudinal functional MRI data from older patients to investigate an association between inflammation and functional connectivity in the brain. Contrary to previous studies, no association was found. This article was published in 2021 in the journal "Clinical Neurophysiology" (DOI: 10.1016/j.clinph.2021.03.042). Applicant: Gregor Lichtner, Klinik für Anästhesiologie mit Schwerpunkt operative Intensivmedizin (CCM/CVK), Institut für Medizinische Informatik, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin
- The publication Intact Organization of Tactile Space Perception in Isolated Focal Dystonia receives a QUEST NULL results award. In this study, the authors demonstrated that the organization of tactile space is comparable between patients and controls in affected and unaffected body parts and provide strong behavioral evidence against the hypothesis of a generalized somatosensory dystonic deficit. This article was published in 2021 in the Movement Disorders Journal (DOI: 10.1002/mds.28607). Applicant: Christos Ganos, Department of Neurology, Campus Mitte, Charité - University Medicine Berlin
- The publication Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry Does Not Represent Bone Structure in Patients with Osteoporosis receives a QUEST NULL results award. The study investigates if there is a correlation between in vivo lumbar dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and parameters of bone architecture in micro–computed tomography (micro-CT) in patients with osteoporosis. They found no significant correlation and therefore concluded that lumbar DXA is not a reliable tool for the evaluation of bone quality in the spine. This article was published in 2021 in the journal Spine (DOI: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000003917). Applicant: Yannick Palmowski, Centrum für Muskuloskeletale Chirurgie (CMSC) Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
- The publication In vivo stiffness of multiple sclerosis lesions is similar to that of normal-appearing white matter receives a QUEST NULL results award. In contrast to hypotheses formulated in the exsisting literature, the study could detect no difference in stiffness between multiple sclerosis lesions and normal-appearing white matter, suggesting that marked tissue sclerosis is not a mechanical signature of multiple sclerosis. This article was published in 2021 in the journal Acta Biomaterialia (DOI: 10.1016/j.actbio.2021.10.038). Applicant: Helge Herthum, Institut für Medizinische Informatik, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
- The publication Relationship between five Epigenetic Clocks, Telomere Length and Functional Capacity assessed in Older Adults: Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Analyses receives a QUEST NULL results award. The autors conducted cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses of the association between ageing and telomere length as well as DNA methylation age acceleration. Overall, they found no evidence for an association between the molecular biomarkers and functional assessments of aging. This article was published in 2022 in The Journals of Gerontology: Series A (DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glab381). Applicants: Dr. Valentin Vetter and Prof. Dr. Ilja Demuth, Medizinische Klinik für Endokrinologie, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
- The publication Glucocorticoids Are Not Associated with Bone Mineral Density in Patients with Polymyalgia Rheumatica, Giant Cell Arteritis and Other Vasculitides-Cross-Sectional Baseline Analysis of the Prospective Rh-GIOP Cohort receives a QUEST NULL results award. As part of an analysis of baseline data from a cohort study on bone health in rheumatoid arthritis patients, the authors wanted to evaluate the influence of glucocorticoids on bone density in vasculitis. In previous literature, glucocorticoids are mostly described as risk factors for osteoporosis. In this study, however, they found no evidence for a relationship between glucocorticoids and bone density. This article was published in 2022 in the journal Cells (DOI: 10.3390/cells11030536). Applicant: Dr. Andriko Palmowski, Medizinische Klinik mit Schwerpunkt Rheumatologie und Klinische Immunologie, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
- The publication Neuroforamen stenosis remains a challenge in conventional computed tomography and new dual‑energy techniques receives a QUEST NULL results award. This study investigated the diagnostic accuracy of dual-energy computed tomography (DECT)-based collagen-sensitive maps in the detection of lumbar neuroforaminal stenosis compared with conventional computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Because DECT is always performed in addition to conventional CT, the authors were particularly interested in whether collagen-sensitive maps allow better detection of stenoses caused by changes in the intervertebral disc and thus can provide a superior diagnosis to conventional CT alone in the presence of contraindications to MRI. They found that DECT does not lead to any information gain compared with conventional CT. This article was published in 2022 in the journal Scientific reports (DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-10673-3). Applicant: Dr. Friederike Schömig, Centrum für Muskuloskeletale Chirurgie (CMSC), Klinik für Orthopädie, Klinik für Unfall- und Wiederherstellungschirurgie, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
- The publication Efficacy of Augmentation of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy With Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation for Depression. A Randomized Clinical Trial receives a QUEST NULL results Award. The article was published 2022 in JAMA Psychiatry (DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2022.0696). Applicant: Dr. Sabine Aust, Department of Psychiatry and Neurosciences, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
- The publication Virtual Monochromatic Images from Dual-Energy Computed Tomography Do Not Improve the Detection of Synovitis in Hand Arthritis receives a QUEST NULL results award. The authors investigated the diagnostic accuracy of contrast-enhanced computer tomography (CT) for the detection of active inflammation (synovitis/tenosynovitis or peritendonitis) in patients with hand arthritis compared to the standard-of-care musculoskeletal ultrasound (MSUS). Recent advancements in image postprocessing are the CT subtractions (CT-Ss) from pre- and post-contrast images and dual-energy computed tomography (DECT). The authors aimed to analyze whether a combination of these techniques by using virtual monochromatic images from DECT datasets for subtractions could increase diagnostic sensitivity. While different substraction methods were useful in detecting synovitis in hand arthritis with a sufficient diagnostic accuracy, the authors found no added diagnostic value of virtual monochromatic images. This article was published in 2022 in the journal Diagnostics (DOI: 10.3390/diagnostics12081891). Applicant: Dr. Torsten Diekhoff, Department of Radiology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
- The publication Reward Processing in Alcohol-Dependent Patients and First-Degree Relatives: Functional Brain Activity During Anticipation of Monetary Gains and Losses receives a QUEST NULL results award. The authors compared non-drug reward anticipation between abstinent alcohol-dependent, at-risk, and healthy subjects. On theoretical grounds, subjects with either alcohol dependence or with a familial history of alcohol dependence were expected to have a decreased mesocorticolimbic activity compared to healthy control subjects (without a familial history of alcohol dependence). However, after controlling for age, the authors found no statistically significant group differences during loss or gain anticipation. This article was published in 2022 in the journal Biological Psychiatry (DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2022.05.024). Applicant: Milena Musial, Department of Psychiatry and Neurosciences, Charité—Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Mitte
- The publication Epigenetic aging and perceived psychological stress in old age receives a QUEST NULL results award. The authors investigated the potential association between perceived psychological stress and a biomarkers of aging, the epigenetic clock measure DNA methylation age acceleration (DNAmAA). A number of previous studies suggest an association between higher DNAmAA and stress or trauma during early childhood. However, in their study on older subjects over age 60 the authors found no evidence for such an association. This article was published in 2022 in the journal Translational Psychiatry (DOI: 10.1038/s41398-022-02181-9). Applicants: Valentin Vetter and Ilja Demuth, Medizinische Klinik für Endokrinologie, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
- The publication App-Based Relaxation Exercises for Patients With Chronic Neck Pain: Pragmatic Randomized Trial receives a QUEST NULL results award. Chronic neck pain is a debilitating and highly prevalent condition that can potentially be alleviated with relaxation techniques. The authors designed a randomized control trial to investigate whether app-based relaxation exercises, such as audio-based autogenic training, mindfulness meditation, or guided imagery, would more effectively reduce chronic neck pain, compared to standard care alone. The study app however did not deliver any added benefit to the participants over usual care. This article was published in 2022 in the journal JMIR mHealth uHealth (DOI: 10.2196/31482). Applicant: Daniel Pach, Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
- The publication Investigation of Neurofunctional Changes Over the Course of Electroconvulsive Therapy receives a QUEST NULL results award. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a common treatment for depression, despite lacking a clear neurobiological mechanism. In the search of neural markers for the response of depressive patients to ECT, the authors assessed neural activity during emotional working memory tasks before and after ECT treatment. None of the five regions scanned with functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed an association with symptom improvement nor changes in activity pre- and post-ECT. The article was published in 2022 in the journal International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology (DOI: 10.1093/ijnp/pyac063). Applicant: Simone Grimm, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
- The publication No association between methotrexate and impaired bone mineral density in a cohort of patients with polymyalgia rheumatica, giant cell arteritis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis and other vasculitides—a cross-sectional analysis with dose–response analyses receives a QUEST NULL results award. While Methotrexate is a recommended disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug, its use, especially in high doses, has been linked to bone loss and other osteopathies in patients with rheumatic diseases. In their prospective, observational cohort study the authors set out to assess whether chronic low-dose Methotrexate treatment is associated with changes in bone mass density in patients with polymyalgia rheumatica and vasculitides. The results showed no support for a dose-response relationship between bone mass density and current or cumulative dose of Methotrexate. This article was published in 2023 in the journal Rheumatology International (DOI: 10.1007/s00296-023-05286-6). Applicant: Andriko Palmowski, Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
- The publication Telomere length in individuals with and without major depression and adverse childhood experiences receives a QUEST NULL results award. Accelerated cellular aging has been proposed as a mechanism that could explain poor physical and mental health in people with major depressive disorder, especially those who also endured adverse childhood experiences. Using telomere length in leukocytes as a measure of cellular aging, the authors assessed groups of healthy participants and patients with major depressive disorder, both with and without adverse childhood experiences. Although telomere lengths were shorter in older men, the results did not support an association of telomere length with any measure of severity of major depressive disorder, adverse childhood experiences, or current stress. This article was published in 2023 in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology (DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2022.105762). Applicant: Sonja Entringer, Institut für Medizinische Psychologie, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin
- The publication The Erythropoietin Promoter Variant rs1617640 Is Not Associated with Severe Retinopathy of Prematurity, Independent of Treatment with Erythropoietin receives a QUEST NULL results award. In adults with diabetes, severe complications involving the blood vessels of the retina have been linked to a gene variant of erythropoietin (EPO rs1617640), a protein that controls the production of red blood cells and in some cases can be used as a replacement for blood transfusions. Prematurely born babies who receive recombinant eryhtropoietin are at an increased risk of blindness due to severe retinopathy of prematurity. In a retrospective case-control study, the authors assessed whether premature infants who are carriers of the EPO rs1617640 variant were exposed to an increased risk of retinopathy. However, the results of their study did not support an association between the gene variant of interest and retinopathy of prematurity, with or without administration of recombinant erythropoietin. This article was published in 2023 in the journal The Journal of Pediatrics (DOI: 0.1016/j.jpeds.2018.03.014). Applicant: Christof Dame, Department of Neonatology, Charité—Universitätsmedizin Berlin
- The publication Preoperative thalamus volume is not associated with preoperative cognitive impairment (preCI) or postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) receives a QUEST NULL results award. The thalamus has been suggested as a possible preoperative neuroimaging biomarker that could help identify patients at risk for postoperative cognitive dysfunction. In a pre-registered, longitudinal observational cohort study the authors set out to investigate whether a lower preoperative thalamus volume is associated with preoperative cognitive impairment (preCI) and whether it additionally predicts the onset of postoperative cognitive dysfunction at a 3-month follow-up (POCD). However, the authors could not show an association of presurgical thalamus volume neither with preCI nor with POCD in their study cohort. This article was published in 2023 in the journal Scientific reports (DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-38673-x). Applicant: Marinus Fislage, Department of Anesthesiology and Operative Intensive Care Medicine (CCM, CVK), Charité–Universitätsmedizin Berlin
- The publication Transgenic disruption of endogenous glucocorticoid signaling in osteoblasts does not alter long-term K/BxN serum transfer-induced arthritis receives a QUEST NULL results award. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, a debilitating chronic inflammation of the joints, that may be regulated through glucocorticoids produced by bone-building cells. Using two different models of induced rheumatoid arthritis in wild type and transgenic mice, the researchers investigated whether disrupted glucocorticoid signaling would alleviate the disease in its chronic form. However, their results suggested at best a minor impact on inflammatory and reparatory processes. This article was published in 2023 in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy (DOI: 10.1186/s13075-023-03112-9). Applicant: Tazio Maleitzke, BIH Center Julius Wolff Institut
- The publication HLA-B27 status and inflammatory MRI lesions of the sacroiliac joints: a post hoc analysis in patients without axial spondyloarthritis receives a QUEST NULL results award. Genetic predisposition is presumed to contribute to the severity of inflammatory and structural damage in patients with axial spondyloarthritis, a common autoinflammatory condition affecting the spine and the lower back. In a post-hoc study of patients with chronic lower back pain without a known diagnosis but exhibiting typical symptoms of axial spondyloarthritis, researchers investigated the influence of Human Leukocyte Antigen B27 (HLA-B27), a supposed biomarker for the condition. The results showed no significant differences for the extent and occurrence of lesions detectable with magnetic resonance imaging between the HLA-B27 positive and negative individuals, in either men or women. This article was published in 2023 in the journal RMD Open (DOI: /10.1136/rmdopen-2023-003357). Applicant: Sevtap Tugce Ulas, Department of Radiology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
The publication The Temporal Relation of Arousal and Perceived Rejection in Patients With Borderline Personality Disorder and Depressive Disorders: An Experience Sampling Approach receives a QUEST NULL results award. People with borderline personality disorder experience high levels of arousal and perceived rejection by others. Current theories suggest that episodes of increased arousal might predict later episodes of increased feeling of being rejected, and vice versa. In order to investigate whether these temporal effects were stronger in people with borderline personality disorder, as opposed to people with depressive disorders and people without diagnosed disorders, researchers asked study participants to record their current emotional state in an electronic diary every fifteen minutes over thirteen hours. While participants with borderline personality disorder did on average experience higher levels of arousal and perceived rejection, the magnitude of the temporal effects did not statistically differ among the three diagnostic groups. This article was published in 2023 in the journal Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment (DOI: 10.1037/per0000546). Applicant: Johannes Heekerens, Department of Psychiatry, Charité - University Medicine Berlin
The publication Oxytocin vs. placebo effects on intrusive memory consolidation using a trauma film paradigm: a randomized, controlled experimental study in healthy women receives a QUEST NULL results award. Intrusive memories, a core symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder, increase with the administration of the hormone oxytocin. Researchers hypothesized that oxytocin achieves this effect during the consolidation of traumatic memories and used a trauma film paradigm in a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study with 217 healthy women to test this prediction. Their results revealed that, although it was modulated by genetic, neurobiological and psychological factors, the consolidation of intrusive memories was not significantly influenced by oxytocin. This article was published in 2023 in the journal Translational Psychiatry (DOI: 10.1038/s41398-023-02339-z). Applicant: Tolou Maslahati, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, CBF, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin