Women’s Mood Disorders

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11 05, 2022

Hormone Flux and the Emergence of Irritability During Pregnancy: Investigating the Trajectory and Neurobiological Correlates of an Underrecognized Mood State | Swales | $40,000

Hormone Flux and the Emergence of Irritability During Pregnancy: Investigating the Trajectory and Neurobiological Correlates of an Underrecognized Mood State2022 Award: $40,000Irritability is common in perinatal depression, however we do not know when irritability emerges during pregnancy and the neurobiological pathways underlying symptom progression are poorly understood. In this study we will investigate how hormone changes across pregnancy relate to the onset of irritability in women at risk for perinatal depression. We will also evaluate how hormone changes relate to neural and behavioral responses to threat and frustration, key components of irritability. Investigating the emergence and neurobiological correlates of irritability in perinatal depression is a critical first step to shed led light on this often underrecognized mood state and identify potential targets for prevention and intervention efforts that support the wellbeing of women and children.Need/Problem: Irritability is common in reproductive [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

9 06, 2020

Microbiome and Methylation (M&M): A Source of Information for Precision Medicine | Kimmel | $42,000

Microbiome and Methylation (M&M): A Source of Information for Precision Medicine 2020 Award: $42,000 Despite greater recognition of the need to treat Perinatal Depression and Anxiety that can affect one in five women, current treatment algorithms are still limited in the ability to personalize to individuals and the heterogenous factors that are playing a role for each woman. This project will identify profiles of the microbiome i.e., the composition and the function of the microbes that live within us and particularly in our guts, and methylation, i.e., the process by which methyl groups are added to allow for use of our genes, during the postpartum period are blueprints for the foundation of mental wellness for each woman, her child, and family. Need/Problem: Despite greater recognition of the need to treat Perinatal Depression and Anxiety that can affect one in [...]

5 09, 2019

Depression in the Pubertal Transition: Circadian Rhythms and Sleep Impairment as Mechanisms of Risk | Andersen | $37,920

Depression in the pubertal transition: Circadian rhythms and sleep impairment as mechanisms of risk 2020 Award: $37,920 Puberty is characterized by dramatic reproductive hormone instability, sleep and circadian rhythm disturbances, and an increased risk for depression, especially for girls. This study will examine the role of estrogen fluctuation in regulating sleep and circadian rhythms to understand risk for female-dominated adolescent depression. The pubertal transition is a critical developmental window offering a unique opportunity for identifying novel treatment targets and intervention efforts to diverge mental illness trajectories. Need/Problem: Adolescent girls have a three-fold greater risk for depression and a two-fold greater risk for sleep disorders compared with boys. The pubertal transition marks an abrupt divergence between the sexes in risk for depression and sleep disorders, implicating ovarian hormones (e.g., estrogen) as a common pathway of risk. With the prevalence of [...]

16 04, 2019

Genomics of Postpartum Depression–Action towards Causes and Treatment (gPACT); PACT for the Cure | Meltzer-Brody & Sullivan | $99,000

Genomics of Postpartum Depression–Action towards Causes and Treatment (gPACT); PACT for the Cure 2015 Award: $99,000 Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody helped assemble an international team of researchers and clinicians who, using open-source Apple software, could gather information from thousands of women experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD). Selected participants would submit DNA samples for researchers to compare against DNA from women who have never experienced depression. With this study, Dr. Meltzer-Brody and her team hope to discover genetic factors that could lead to better prediction, diagnosis, and treatment for perinatal mental illnesses. Need/Problem: Postpartum depression (PPD) and postpartum psychosis (PPP) affect millions of women worldwide and are the leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality. Research on the causes of PPD and PPP are greatly underfunded leaving researchers and clinicians with an incomplete understanding of who is at risk. Grant [...]

16 04, 2019

Characterizing the Hormone Sensitive Phenotype of Postpartum Depression: An Experimental Investigation of Mood and Behavior | Schiller | $39,357

Characterizing the Hormone Sensitive Phenotype of Postpartum Depression: An Experimental Investigation of Mood and Behavior 2017 Award: $39,357 Prior research has demonstrated that changing hormone levels trigger depression in some women already at high risk for postpartum depression. The current study will identify women for whom changing hormones trigger depression using a much less cumbersome approach. By more easily identifying women who are sensitive to changes in hormones, it will be a major step toward preventing postpartum depression. Need/Problem: Despite decades of research, little is known about the biological causes of postpartum depression. Our past research showed that changes in pregnancy hormone levels cause depression in some women, but at present, there is no simple way to identify these women. Grant Summary: This research provides a novel approach to testing risk for postpartum depression. Goals and Projected Outcomes: The [...]

16 04, 2019

Depression Susceptibility in Adolescent Females: Estrogen Variability, Stress Exposure, and Fronto-Limbic Brain Dynamics | Andersen | $38,710

Depression Susceptibility in Adolescent Females: Estrogen Variability, Stress Exposure, and Fronto-Limbic Brain Dynamics 2018 Award: $38,710 Puberty is characterized by dramatic reproductive hormone instability, heightened interpersonal stress and an increased risk for depression, especially for girls. A sensitivity to normal changes in ovarian hormones (e.g., estrogen) during reproductive events has been shown to provoke mood symptoms in vulnerable women; however, the relationship between hormone changes and depression symptoms has not been examined in girls during the pubertal transition. This study will determine the impact of hormone variability on neurobiological systems (brain activity and cortisol stress responses) known to influence affective (mood) states. Foundation of Hope funding provides the opportunity to use a novel multimodal approach involving precise measures of hormone variability and neurophysiological responses to acute challenge (laboratory stress task) to advance our understanding of the neurobiological basis of [...]