Gustav Nilsonne

Gustav Nilsonne


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Telephone 08-553 789 34
Visiting address Frescati Hagväg 16 A
Room 334
Postal address Stressforskningsinstitutet 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Gustav Nilsonne is a researcher in neuroscience and meta-science. His research in neuroscience concerns mainly sleep and diurnal rhythms, and communication between the brain and immune systems. Using magnetic resonance imaging and large-scale analysis of open data, among other methods, he investigates effects of sleep deprivation and time of day, etc. His research in meta-science concerns reproducibility and openness in science.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2019. Igor Radun (et al.). Transportation Research Part F 60, 81-92

    The use of company employees as experimental participants when testing products, technology orparadigms developed by the same company raises questions about bias in results and researchethics. We aimed to investigate the prevalence of studies authored by car company researchers withcar company employees as participants, to assess the risk of bias in such studies, to investigatejournal editors’ opinions in the field of traffic safety regarding these procedures, and to offer ageneral discussion about ethical and methodological implications. Three types of data were

    collected. We (i) examined guidelines and recommendations for authors in eleven selected peer-reviewed journals in the area of traffic safety; (ii) surveyed editors of these journals; and (iii)

    reviewed articles authored by researchers from a selected group of car manufacturers and publishedin these journals during 2011-2015. Guidelines and recommendations for authors in the includedjournals did not mention whether and under what circumstances company employees can beresearch participants, nor did publishers’ general guidelines. However, three out of the four editorswho responded to our survey believed that this issue of private company researchers usingparticipants from the same company deserves to be explicitly addressed in their journal’s guide forauthors. The total number of regular articles and conference papers during 2011-2015 in the elevenjournals reviewed was 6763; 95 (1.4%) listed at least one car manufacturer in the authors’affiliations; and out of these, nine included company employees as participants. In summary,company employees are seldom (0.13%) used as research participants in traffic safety research.Nevertheless, the use of company employees as research participants raises questions about bias inresults as well as about incursions into the participants’ autonomy.

  • 2018. Kristoffer Månsson (et al.). Biological Psychiatry 83 (9), S351-S352

    Background: Mental illness, including anxiety disorders, is linked to accelerated cell aging. This is evidenced by shorter leukocyte telomere length. Cells with critically short telomeres may undergo apoptosis. In dividing cells, telomere shortening is counteracted by the telomeraseenzyme. Telomerase is reportedly low following chronic psychological stress. We hypothesized that a psychological treatment may increase telomerase activity, less telomere attritionand greater symptom improvement.

    Methods: Forty-six patients (91% SSRI naïve) with social anxiety disorder(SAD; mean age 31, 63% females) underwent a 9-week waiting period, and 9 weeks of Internet-delivered cognitive behavior therapy(CBT). During treatment, symptoms were assessed weekly using the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS-SR). Fasting blood samples were collected twice before treatment, and at post-treatment. Genomic DNA was extracted using DNeasy® Blood & Tissue Kit (Qiagene) to assess leukocyte telomere length. Telomerase activity was detected by real-time telomeric repeat amplification protocol (RT-TRAP).

    Results: Patients improved significantly on the LSAS-SR (p<.001; Cohen’s d=1.5). Pre-post changes in telomerase and telomere length correlated positively (Pearson’s r=.31, p=.05). Reduced telomerase activity (<33th percentile) was associated with less improvement and increased activity (>66th percentile) with more improvement on the LSAS-SR (Z=-2.4, p=.02).

    Conclusions: We demonstrate, to our knowledge for the first time, that altered telomerase activity is associated with clinical response to a psychological treatment in a psychiatric population. The observed CBT effect on telomerase in patients with SAD is consistent with results from animal trials and a small previous study of antidepressants in humans. Thus, telomerase activation may play an important role in clinical recovery.

  • 2018. Tom E. Hardwicke (et al.). Royal Society Open Science 5 (8)

    Access to data is a critical feature of an efficient, progressive and ultimately self-correcting scientific ecosystem. But the extent to which in-principle benefits of data sharing are realized in practice is unclear. Crucially, it is largely unknown whether published findings can be reproduced by repeating reported analyses upon shared data ('analytic reproducibility'). To investigate this, we conducted an observational evaluation of a mandatory open data policy introduced at the journal Cognition. Interrupted time-series analyses indicated a substantial post-policy increase in data available statements (104/417, 25% pre-policy to 136/ 174, 78% post-policy), although not all data appeared reusable (23/ 104, 22% pre-policy to 85/136, 62%, post-policy). For 35 of the articles determined to have reusable data, we attempted to reproduce 1324 target values. Ultimately, 64 values could not be reproduced within a 10% margin of error. For 22 articles all target values were reproduced, but 11 of these required author assistance. For 13 articles at least one value could not be reproduced despite author assistance. Importantly, there were no clear indications that original conclusions were seriously impacted. Mandatory open data policies can increase the frequency and quality of data sharing. However, suboptimal data curation, unclear analysis specification and reporting errors can impede analytic reproducibility, undermining the utility of data sharing and the credibility of scientific findings.

Show all publications by Gustav Nilsonne at Stockholm University

Last updated: March 15, 2019

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