Psychotic Major Depression

Imaging Studies of Psychotic Major Depression

CIBSR is currently involved in a study of structural and functional imaging differences between patients with psychotic major depression (PMD) and patients with non-psychotic major depression (NPMD). The study also investigates differences in imaging parameters as they relate to blood levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) in these two patient groups. Lastly, we are examining differences in functional and structural MRI results before and after treatment with an investigational drug being used to treat PMD.

Structural analyses will focus on hypothesized differences in brain regions with a high density of cortisol receptors including the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, and cingulate cortex. Pituitary volumes will also be evaluated as a potential distingusihing feature of PMD. In the functional realm, we are analyzing group differences across a number of cognitive domains. The focus is on tasks that activate hippocampus (verbal encoding and retrieval) and prefrontal cortex (working memory). Finally, we have recently begun looking at resting-state functional connectivity in these patient groups in an effort to detect baseline, neuroimaging markers that might distinguish between PMD and NPMD and/or predict response to therapy.

If you, a family member, or friend are interested in learning more about or participating in this study, please go to the Depression Research Clinic website.