Providing Tools for Effective Care and Treatment of Anxiety Disorders (AD)

Funding: BMBF

The PROTECT-AD project aims at improving psychotherapeutic treatment of anxiety disorders by comparing intensified psychological intervention (IPI) with treatment as usual (TAU). Specifically we investigate (neuro-)biological mechanisms of learning during fear conditioning and extinction as well as dysfunctional processes in patients suffering from anxiety disorders. In our multi-centre project data from 720 patients and 150 healthy control subjects are acquired in Dresden, Berlin, Greifswald, Münster, Bochum, Würzburg and Marburg. As Marburg is the coordination centre for fMRI (subproject P4), we are responsible for supervising and analysing the neuroimaging data.

A summary of recent clinical results (P1) of PROTECT-AD in German can be found here.


Abb. Examples of our research regarding the neural correlates of psychotherapy (according to Yang et al., 2014).

Who’s working on PROTECT-AD P4?

Principal investigator: Benjamin Straube

PhD students:  Isabelle Caroline Ridderbusch, Adrian Wroblewski, Yunbo Yang

Medical students: Denis CanaStefanie Morlock

Further information



Cooperations regarding fear conditioning and extinction

DFG-funded-research-network: EIFEL-ROF

Summary of Yang et al., 2020 (Results of BMBF PANIC-II)

Related publications

Pittig, A., Heinig, I., Goerigk, S., Richter, J., Hollandt, M., Lueken, U., Pauli, P., Deckert, J., Kircher, T., Straube, B., Neudeck, P., Koelkebeck, K., Dannlowski, U., Arolt, V., Fydrich, T., Fehm, L., Ströhle, A., Totzeck, C., Margraf, J., Schneider, S., Hoyer, J., Rief, W., Craske, M.G., Hamm, A.O., & Wittchen, H-U. (accepted). Change of threat expectancy as mechanism of exposure-based psychotherapy for anxiety disorders: Evidence from 8484 exposure exercises of 605 patients. Clinical Psychological Sciences

Pittig, A., Heinig, I., Goerigk, S., Thiel, F., Hummel, K., Scholl, L., Deckert, J., Pauli, P., Domschke, K., Lueken, U., Fydrich, T., Fehm, L., Plag, J., Ströhle, A., Kircher, T., Straube, B., Rief, W., Koelkebeck, K., Arolt, V., Dannlowski, U., Margraf, J., Totzeck, C., Schneider, S., Neudeck, P., Craske, M.G., Hollandt, M., Richter, J, Hamm, A., & Wittchen, H.-U. (accepted). Efficacy of Temporally Intensified Exposure for Anxiety Disorders: A Multi-Center Randomized Clinical Trial. Depression & Anxiety IF: 6.505

Ridderbusch, I. C., Wroblewski, A., Yang, Y., Richter, J., Hollandt, M., Hamm, A. O., … Straube, B. (2021). Neural adaptation of cingulate and insular activity during delayed fear extinction: A replicable pattern across assessment sites and repeated measurements. NeuroImage, 118157. IF: 6.505

Heinig, I., Pitting, A., Richter, J., Hummel, K., Alt, I., Dickhover, K., Gamer, J., Hollandt, M., Koelkebeck, K., Maenz, A., Tennie, S., Totzeck, C., Yang, Y., Arolt, V., Deckert, J., Domsche, K., Fydrich, T., Hamm, A., Hoyer, J., Kircher, T., Lueken, U., Margraf, J., Neudeck, P., Pauli, P., Rief, W., Schneider, S., Straube, B., Ströhle, A., & Wittchen, H-U. (accepted). Optimising Exposure-Based CBT for Anxiety Disorders via Enhanced Extinction: Design and Methods of a Multicentre Randomised Clinical Trial. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research. IF: 2.857

Hollandt, M., Wroblewski, A., Yang, Y., Ridderbusch, I.C., Kircher, T., Hamm, A.O., Straube, B., & Richter, J. (accepted). Facilitating translational science in anxiety disorders by adjusting extinction training in the laboratory to exposure-based therapy procedures (accepted). Translational Psychiatry. IF: 5.182

Ridderbusch I.C., Yang, Y., Weber, H., Reif, A., Herterich, S., Ströhle, A., Pfleiderer, B., Arolt, V., Wittchen, H.-U., Lueken, U., Kircher, T., & Straube, B. (accepted). Neural correlates of NOS1 ex1f-VNTR allelic variation in panic disorder and agoraphobia during fear conditioning and extinction in fMRI. NeuroImage: Clinical IF: 3.943

Kunas, S. L., Yang, Y., Straube, B., Kircher, T., Gerlach, A. L., Pfleiderer, B., Arolt, V., Wittmann, A., Stroehle, A., Wittchen, H.-U., & Lueken, U. (2018). The impact of depressive comorbidity on neural plasticity following cognitive-behavioral therapy in panic disorder with agoraphobia. Journal of Affective Disorders. IF: 3.786

Yang Y, Lueken U, Richter J, Hamm A, Wittmann A, Konrad C, Ströhle A, Pfleiderer B, Herrmann MJ, Lang T, Lotze M, Deckert J, Arolt V, Wittchen H-U, Straube B § , Kircher T § (accepted) Effect of CBT on Biased Semantic Network in Panic Disorder: A Multicenter fMRI Study using Semantic Priming. Am J Psychiatry IF: 13.655

Sundermann, B., Bode, J., Lueken, U., Westphal, D., Gerlach, A. L., Straube, B., … Pfleiderer, B. (2017). Support Vector Machine Analysis of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Interoception Does Not Reliably Predict Individual Outcomes of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 8, 99.

Ridderbusch, I.C.*, Richter, J., Yang, Y., Hoefler, M., Weber, H., Reif, A., Hamm, A., Pané-Farré C.A., Gerlach, A.L., Stroehle, A., Pfleiderer, B., Arolt, V., Wittchen, H.-U., Gloster, A., Lang, T., Helbig-Lang, S., Fehm, L., Pauli, P., Kircher, T., Lueken, U.§, & Straube, B.§ (accepted). Association of rs7688285 allelic variation coding for GLRB with fear reactivity and exposure-based therapy in patients with panic disorder and agoraphobia. European Neuropsychopharmacology. IF: 4.468

Seeger, F., Yang, Y., Straube, B., Kircher, T., Höfler, M., Wittchen, H.-U., Ströhle, A., Wittmann, A., Gerlach, A.L., Pfleiderer, B., Arolt, V., Hamm, A., Lang, T., Alpers, G.W., Fydrich, T., & Lueken, U. (accepted) Clinical and neurofunctional substrates of cognitive behavioral therapy on secondary social anxiety disorder in primary panic disorder: a longitudinal fMRI study. Psychotherapy & Psychosomatics (Letter to the Editor), IF: 13.122

Wittmann, A., Schlagenhauf, F., Guhn, A., Lueken, U., Elle, M., Stoy, M., Liebscher, C., Bermpohl, F., Fydrich, T., Pfleiderer, B., Bruhn, H., Gerlach, A.L., Straube, B., Wittchen, H.-U., Arolt, V., Heinz, A., Kircher, T., & Ströhle, A. (2018). Effects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy on Neural Processing of Agoraphobia-Specific Stimuli in Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. IF: 13.122

Yang, Y., Lueken, U., Wittmann, A., Holtz, K., Kleint, N.I., Herrmann, M.J., Sass, K., Jansen, A., Konrad, C., Ströhle, A., Pfleiderer, B., Lotze, M., Hamm, A., Deckert, J., Arolt, V., Wittchen, H.-U., Kircher, T., Straube, B. (2016). Neural Correlates of Individual Differences in Anxiety Sensitivity: An fMRI Study using Semantic Priming. Soc. Cogn. Affect. Neurosci. 1245–1254. doi:10.1093/scan/nsw024

Yang, Y., Kircher, T., & Straube, B. (2015). Neurale Korrelate von kognitiver Verhaltenstherapie bei Panikstörung. Zeitschrift Für Psychiatrie, Psychologie Und Psychotherapie, 63(2), 79–87.

Yang, Y., Kircher, T., & Straube, B. (2014). The neural correlates of cognitive behavioral therapy: recent progress in the investigation of patients with panic disorder. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 62, 88–96.