The major goals of this project is to determine components of the endocannabinoid signaling system (ECS) and brain network features associated with Late-life Depression (LLD) occurrence, and with persistent low mood and anhedonia, two core symptom dimensions of LLD. This NIH-funded study will set the stage for future seminal research that uses ECS and brain network function measures as biomarkers to aid diagnosis, predict and monitor outcomes to specific treatment interventions, and guide selection of optimal treatment for individual patients prior to initiation.
Experiencing the death of a loved one is inevitable. Most grieving individuals are resilient and return to normal functioning but about 20% develop bereavement-related major depression, a condition associated with reduced quality of life, poorer medical outcomes, premature mortality and increased suicides. Early diagnosis to target treatment is essential to prevent these adverse health consequences, but currently we cannot identify who will progress from acute grief to bereavement-related major depression. Our goal in this project is to evaluate those with acute grief to identify brain changes that distinguish those who are resilient from those who will develop clinical depression.
Depression that occurs in mid- and late-life is associated with future occurrences of mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease in a subgroup of patients. The goal of this project is to identify the changes occurring in the brain that distinguish depressed from non-depressed older adults at risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
About 50 percent of individuals with late-life depression do not respond adequately to commonly prescribed first-line antidepressants. This pilot study will examine whether two drugs approved for non-psychiatric indications could serve as effective augmenting agents in treating depression in those older adults who are resistant to first-line therapies. This pharmacoimaging LLD study will (1) determine the neurobiological targets of these unconventional treatments, and (2) examine the brain mechanisms that are related to treatment response.
Dr. Goveas is associate professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, and the Institute for Health & Equity at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). Dr. Goveas is the director of Geriatric Psychiatry, and training director of the MCW Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship program. He completed his medical school at the University of Mangalore in India, adult psychiatry residency at the University of Chicago, and geriatric psychiatry fellowship training at the University of Pennsylvania. By utilizing the MCW’s Neuroscience Center infrastructure and cutting-edge brain imaging technology available at the Center for Imaging Research, his research team combines comprehensive clinical and neuropsychiatric assessments, and blood and brain network measurements with sophisticated data analytic methods to answer critical questions that enhance our knowledge regarding the neurobiological mechanisms underlying Late-Life Depression (LLD) and treatment response, and the link between LLD and future incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Goveas is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and is also a Co-Investigator on the NIH-Funded Alzheimer’s Disease Connectome Project. He previously received funding from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (previously NARSAD), RECALL Foundation, and the Alzheimer’s Association International Research Grant program, and served as a co-investigator and consultant for the NIH-funded Women’s Health Initiative suite of studies. He has received several awards including being selected every year since 2009 as the Best Doctors in America, is an elected member of the American College of Psychiatrists, is member of the Society of Biological Psychiatry, was selected as one of the promising junior investigators in Alzheimer’s disease by the 2013 Charleston Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease, was a prior recipient of the Investigator of the year award from the Alzheimer’s Association of Southeastern Wisconsin, and is currently a scholar of the NIMH/Cornell Advanced Research Institute in Geriatric Mental Health. He has several peer-reviewed publications in high-impact medical journals, and has given national and international presentations related to cognitive aging, grief and late-life depression and Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.