Study designed to identify biomarkers for mental disorders

Study designed to identify biomarkers for mental disorders

Psychiatrists usually cannot rely on biological parameters when making a diagnosis. A physician diagnoses inflammation based on a blood test, an orthopaedist observes a fracture with an x-ray. A psychiatrist’s job, however, is much harder since the brain is such a complex organ. Within the scope of the BeCOME study, we investigate if such biological data could supplement psychiatric diagnoses and if so, what kind of biological data is best suited for this. To implement this study, we are looking for outpatients and healthy controls.

The search for the biological basis of psychiatric disorders - our BeCOME study

The main focus of the investigation is to image certain brain processes. “Especially with regard to its broad spectrum, our approach is a worldwide novelty and it is based on scientific results of the past years,” emphasizes Elisabeth Binder, Director of the Max-Planck-Institute of Psychiatry and leader of the study. Within this unique concept scientists collect data not only by asking how the patients feel, but also by gathering genetic and epigenetic data as well as several physical parameters and brain functions.

Such investigations can only be performed by combining the expertise from many biomedical sections with the respective latest technologies. The Max-Planck-Institute of Psychiatry upholds a uniquely close interaction between basic science, clinical research, and clinical services, which facilitates conducting such complex studies with the objective of developing novel treatments for mental disorders.

Course of the study

On two consecutive days, multiple examinations are carried out:

In addition, participants in our study will wear an actigraph or a fitness tracker on their wrist for about 28 days. It will record their movements and inform us on their sleep and waking phases.


Both healthy controls and (in- and out-) patients with non-acute psychiatric disorders who are currently not taking psychotropic drugs are allowed to participate in our study. More information can be found here.

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