The present dissertation was prepared under the auspices of Dr. med. Bettina Pfüller at Humboldt University, Charité, who also initiated the study. My special thanks go to her for consistent support and inspiration, and for allowing me to take part in a magnificent project.

Many colleagues and friends contributed to the endeavour in various ways:

In particular, I would like to thank:

For help in organising and conducting the study:

Prof. Dr. med. Jürgen Scholze

Susanne Klaua

Kati Voigt

Professor Wolfgang Rohde and Dr. med. Andrea Machlitt made valuable comments on earlier drafts of this paper. Professor Rohde and his team also supported hormone analysis in the laboratory of the Institute for Experimental Endocrinology, Charité Hospital.

PD. Dr. med. Manfred Ventz shared his advice and suggestions during conducting the study.

Gerda Siebert of the Institute for Biometrics offered essential support with the data analysis.

Ms. Korlach of the hormone laboratory of Humboldt University, Charité, conducted hormone and other tests.

A team of excellent nurses provided superb care for the study participants:

S. Gerlinde Höhndorf

S. Angela Glaumann

S. Doris Bronk

S. Sibylle Diedrich

Sylvia Schattenfroh of the press department for her help in recruiting participants of the study through an advertisement in the local newspaper, „Berliner Zeitung“.

Finally, I am gratefully indebted to all patients of the study without whose co-operation the present study could not have been performed.

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