Organization framework and preliminary findings from the Athens First-Episode Psychosis Research Study

Lida-Alkisti Xenaki, Costas T Kollias, Pentagiotissa Stefanatou, Irene Ralli, Rigas-Filippos Soldatos, Stefanos Dimitrakopoulos, Alex Hatzimanolis, Theoni-Fani Triantafyllou, Ioannis Kosteletos, Ilias I Vlachos, Mirjana Selakovic, Stefania Foteli, Leonidas Mantonakis, Vassiliki Ermiliou, Marina Voulgaraki, Evagelia Psarra, Sinan Gülöksüz, Jim van Os, Nikos C Stefanis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Aims: Athens First-Episode Psychosis (FEP) Research study, aims to explore the potential associations between multiple genetic, environmental and neurometabolic risk factors of psychotic disorders, through the clinical management of FEP patients with minimal exposure (<2 weeks) to antipsychotic treatment at entry. The goal of this paper is to introduce the background, rationale and design of the study and present its preliminary findings. Methods: We developed a longitudinal cohort study of FEP patients 16-45 years old, presenting at the emergency units of five psychiatric hospitals across Athens, Greece. Research timeline includes baseline, 1-month and 1-year follow-up. Clinical, genetic, environmental, cognitive and biochemical parameters are measured, using psychometric tools, clinical interviews and laboratory tests. A descriptive analysis of baseline and 1-month assessments was performed including demographic characteristics, family history, medication, clinical picture, traumatic experiences, drug use and cognitive functioning. Results: During the last 3 years, 130 subjects have been enrolled in the study. Data so far reveal that, despite the severity of baseline presentation, at 1-month the majority (57.4%) met the Andreasen symptom severity criteria for remission, without the time criterion and showed mild functional improvement. Several environmental adversities and poor cognitive performance were identified, which need to be further elaborated. Conclusions: Athens FEP Research study is the first gene-environment interaction study in Greece. In this article we introduce the organization and methodological framework of the project, along with its basic initial findings. Future analysis will allow the validation of tractable predictors and risk factors implicated in the development and outcome of psychosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-355
Number of pages13
JournalEarly Intervention in Psychiatry
Issue number3
Early online date11 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Athens research study
  • first-episode psychosis
  • gene-environment interaction
  • methodological framework
  • preliminary findings


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