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24 05, 2021

Striatum-Targeted Anhedonia Rapid Treatment (START): a novel transcranial magnetic stimulation paradigm for treating symptoms of anhedonia in depression | Riddle | $38,280

Striatum-Targeted Anhedonia Rapid Treatment (START): a novel transcranial magnetic stimulation paradigm for treating symptoms of anhedonia in depression 2021 Award: $38,280 Anhedonia, the inability to experience pleasure, is notoriously difficult to treat and predicts suicide risk. Thus, novel treatment paradigms are required to address this critical need in psychiatry. In a randomized clinical trial, we investigate a novel treatment paradigm and contribute to scientific knowledge of the neural basis of anhedonia. Need/Problem: Anhedonia, or the inability to experience pleasure, is a core symptom of major depressive disorder that predicts suicide risk and can be exacerbated by some treatments. Symptoms of anhedonia are notoriously difficult to treat, so novel interventions and a better understanding of the neural basis of anhedonia are required. Grant Summary: Patients with major depressive disorder and high symptoms of anhedonia will be recruited to participate in [...]

24 05, 2021

Monitoring Affective State Change with Wearable Technology: Assessing Physiological and Behavioral Mechanisms in Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder | Prim | $40,000

Monitoring Affective State Change with Wearable Technology: Assessing Physiological and Behavioral Mechanisms in Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder 2021 Award: $40,000 Real-time monitoring during the transition in to or out of depression (affective state change) is an important precursor to providing targeted interventions to reduce high-risk periods of suicide and early detection and treatment for depression relapse. In this project, we capitalize on widely used wearable technology that can passively collect such real-time data including variables known to be associated with affective state change. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) provides a depression model with monthly switching of affective state. Establishing the physiological variables related to mood transition in PMDD is a first critical step in identifying mechanisms of risk for depression and suicide to develop a prediction model that may be applied to other mental health conditions. Need/Problem: Depression rates are continuing [...]

24 05, 2021

The Comorbidity of Depression and Cardiovascular Disease in Midlife Women: Investigating novel biological pathways of risk | Nathan | $39,617

The Comorbidity of Depression and Cardiovascular Disease in Midlife Women: Investigating novel biological pathways of risk 2021 Award: $39,617 The risk for developing depression and cardiovascular disease increases significantly in midlife women and this combination of illnesses is a leading cause of disability in this population.  Disruption in the physiological pathways involved in stress response may underlie the connection between these illnesses, though this has not been fully studied. The primary objective of this proposal is to examine whether dysfunction in the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and autonomic nervous system pathways may be a mechanistic link underlying the association between depression and cardiovascular disease in women. Need/Problem: Depression and cardiovascular disease (CVD) contribute significantly to the morbidity and mortality of women. About 20% of women are impacted by this comorbidity, which is also the leading cause of disability in women worldwide. The [...]

13 05, 2021

A Pilot Study of Psilocybin-Assisted Therapy in Treatment-Resistant Depression: acute changes, duration of effect and predictors of response | McClure | $101,078

A Pilot Study of Psilocybin-Assisted Therapy in Treatment-Resistant Depression: acute changes, duration of effect and predictors of response 2021 Award: $101,078 Treatment Resistance in Major Depressive Disorder (TRD) is a common and serious condition with limited therapies available.  Psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy (PAT) is a new treatment that may be an effective antidepressant.  We will perform an open-label trial of PAT in TRD to measure acute changes in depressive symptoms after two PAT sessions. We will determine if the improvement in depression persists for four and eight weeks.  We will assess if response continues 6, 8 and 12 months after treatment.   We will determine predictors of acute response and longer duration of effect.  This will: establish feasibility and provide pilot date for larger clinical trial; estimate efficacy in reducing depressive symptoms; determine duration of effect, and; identify predictors of response. Need/Problem: [...]

12 05, 2021

Developing and Evaluating a Computable Phenotype for Treatment-Resistant Schizophrenia | Zeng | $41,302

Developing and Evaluating a Computable Phenotype for Treatment-Resistant Schizophrenia 2021 Award: $41,302 Treatment-Resistant Schizophrenia affects about 30% of Schizophrenia patients. Reliable identification of TRS patients within an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system will improve patient care and enhance clinical research. We will develop a computable phenotyping algorithm by combining several information technologies to characterize TRS patients from an EHR system. Need/Problem: Treatment-Resistant Schizophrenia (TRS) affects about 30% of schizophrenia patients. However, the utilization rate of clozapine, the only approved antipsychotic for TRS, remains low. Characterization of TRS patients from Electronic Health Records will facilitate early detection of TRS patients and subsequently increase the use of clozapine. Grant Summary: We will use an array of information technologies (database query, temporal medication mining, and natural language processing) to develop an algorithm that could quickly characterize TRS patients in an Electronic Health [...]

23 06, 2020

A Web-based Intervention to Improve Mental Health Outcomes Among Newly Diagnosed Parents with Cancer | Park | $39,997

A Web-based Intervention to Improve Mental Health Outcomes Among Newly Diagnosed Parents with Cancer 2020 Award: $39,997 Parental cancer threatens the mental health of the entire family. High-quality parental communication supports and facilitates psychological adjustment to illness for both parents and children, but many parents do not have timely access to these important mental health services. In this project we will develop and test a novel web-based psychosocial intervention designed to facilitate parental communication about cancer. If effective, this intervention could provide timely, cost-effective mental health support to address the communication concerns of distressed parents with cancer, thus improving mental health outcomes for their children as well. Need/Problem: Serious illness in a parent threatens the mental health of the entire family. The impact of parental cancer on the family can be reduced by facilitating parents’ communication about illness with [...]

22 06, 2020

Probing the Neural Substrates of Bulimia Nervosa | Baker & Schiller | $39,065

Probing the Neural substrates of Bulimia Nervosa 2020 Award: $39,065 This study will use MRI technology to follow how ovarian hormones affect symptoms of bulimia such as binge eating. Need/Problem: Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder that afflicts approximately 3% of individuals and is associated with a number of negative consequences. There is also a disconnect between the burden of bulimia nervosa and the availability of effective treatments. Our limited understanding of what causes bulimia nervosa is hindering progress on the development of new treatments. Grant Summary: We will study if activity in the brain changes when exposed to different reproductive hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, in women with bulimia nervosa. Goals and Projected Outcomes: Having a better understanding of what causes bulimia nervosa may lead to the development of targeted treatments with better effectiveness than those currently [...]

19 06, 2020

Depression in the Menopause Transition: Stress and Inflammation as Pathways of Risk | Fiacco | $31,107

Depression in the Menopause Transition: Stress and inflammation as pathways of risk 2020 Award: $31,107 In the transition to menopause (perimenopause), depressive symptoms are very common and there is a 2-4 fold increased risk to develop Major Depression (MDD) when compared to the premenopausal stage. Erratic changes in ovarian steroid hormones including estradiol (E2) seem to increase the risk for MDD, especially in women who have experienced recent life stress (e.g., divorce, death of loved one). So far, the precise biological pathways by which high E2 variability and stress lead to MDD are poorly understood. With this project, we will investigate pro-inflammatory processes as one potential pathway of risk. Need/Problem: The menopausal transition is associated with a 2-4 fold increase in risk for major depression (MDD) and other inflammatory diseases, substantial psychosocial stress, and a dynamic ovarian endocrine environment with significant [...]

11 06, 2020

Probing Gene-environment Interactions in Schizophrenia and Stress: Integrating human GWAS and mouse models | McElligott | $60,000

Probing Gene-environment Interactions in Schizophrenia and Stress: Integrating human GWAS and mouse models 2020 Award: $60,000 Schizophrenia is a heritable disorder that is impacted by environmental influences like stressful life experience. Studies have demonstrated thousands of genetic differences are associated with schizophrenia; however we do not understand the impact of these differences, or how stress experience may influence these differences in DNA. In this project we use molecular biology techniques to examine identified differences in the DNA of people suffering from schizophrenia in stress models. This research will help us to identify mechanisms that lead to schizophrenia vulnerability. Need/Problem: Schizophrenia is a heritable disorder, but it is influenced by environmental factors. One of these factors is stressful life experience. Due to ethical considerations, it is impossible to test how stress experience influences the expression of genes in neurons of persons suffering from schizophrenia.  Grant Summary: Dysregulation of [...]

11 06, 2020

Mechanisms of Brexanolone Therapeutics in Postpartum Depression | Morrow | $48,070

Mechanisms of Brexanolone Therapeutics in Postpartum Depression 2020 Award: $48,070 Depression is associated with abnormal activation of inflammatory immune signals in the blood and the brain.  We recently discovered that the endogenous steroid allopregnanolone inhibits these signals and therefore we hypothesize that this mechanism explains the therapeutic effects of the new drug Zulresso, which is a proprietary form of allopregnanolone.  We will test this idea in women with postpartum depression in hopes of discovering new ways to treat all forms of depression. Need/Problem: The first FDA-approved medication for post-partum depression is brexanolone, but it requires IV infusion for 60 hours in a medically supervised setting with oxygen monitoring. We need to understand the mechanism of action of brexanolone to allow development of a more affordable and convenient bioavailable treatment for post-partum depression. Grant Summary: We will examine whether the anti-depressant effects of brexanolone in patients with post-partum [...]