Visual Universitätsmedizin Mainz

Gutenberg Health Study (GHS)

Principal investigators

Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Dipl.-Psych. Manfred E. Beutel
PD Dr. med. Matthias Michal
PD Dr. med. Jörg Wiltink

Project team

Mareike Ernst, MA (research assistant)
Felix Wicke, MD (physician)
Daniëlle Otten, M.Sc. (Research assistant)

Research topic

The Gutenberg Health Study (GHS) is a monocentric, prospective cohort study in which various diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and mental disorders are examined. Its primary goal is to improve the individual risk prediction for these diseases by including environmental aspects, psychosocial- and lifestyle factors, biochemical parameters and intermediate subclinical diseases and genetic variants (Höhn et al., 2015; Wild et al., 2012). The primary endpoint of this study is new onset of myocardial infarction, respectively cardiovascular death. Secondary endpoints are occurrence of stroke, diabetes mellitus, congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation or death from any cause. Tertiary endpoints are all diseases and complaints that last longer than 3 weeks. Measured are prevalence and incidence of cardiovascular, metabolic, ophthalmological and psychological diseases within the general population (detailed, Beutel et al. in press).

According to the calculation of the number of cases for the primary endpoint, 15010 individuals were included at baseline and participated in a five-hour basic examination at the study center (2007-2012). After 2,5 years respondents participated in a standardized computer assisted telephone interview (CATI) (until October 2014) in which endpoints were collected. After five years (2012-2017) an extensive follow-up examination similar to the baseline examination took place at the study center which was again followed by a telephone interview after 2,5 years. In the current study phase (phase II) respondents from the baseline examination, the so-called core cohort, are further examined (10 year follow-up examination at the study center followed by a telephone interview after 2,5 years). Additionally, 4000 participants within the age range 25-44 years (the so-called young cohort) and 1000 participants within the age range 75-85 (the so-called senior cohort) were recruited.
More than 60 international articles with psychosomatic research as focus were published until now. Topics of these papers are:

  1. Determining prevalence and incidence of symptoms of psychological diseases
  2. Investigating sex-specific risk and protective factors
  3. Interplay between psychological and somatic diseases: 
     a) psychological consequences of somatic diseases
     b) somatic consequences and mortality of psychological diseases
     c) key links between psychological and somatic diseases
  4. Methodological-psychometric examinations (such as validation of measurement scales and determination of measurement invariance)

Recent publications

  • Beutel ME, Tibubos AN, Michal M, Wiltink J, Otten D, Werner A, . . . Brähler E. (in press). [Psychosomatic medicine in the Gutenberg-Health Study (GHS) – Issues, measures, selected results]. Zeitschrift für Psychosomatische Medizin und Psychotherapie.
  • Höhn R, Kottler U, Peto T, Blettner M, Münzel T, Blankenberg S., . . . Pfeiffer, N. (2015). The ophthalmic branch of the Gutenberg Health Study: study design, cohort profile and self-reported diseases. PloS One, 10(3).
  • Wild PS, Zeller T, Beutel M, Blettner M, Dugi, KA, Lackner KJ, . . . Blankenberg S. (2012). Die Gutenberg Gesundheitsstudie. Bundesgesundheitsblatt-Gesundheitsforschung-Gesundheitsschutz, 55(6-7), 824-830.