Ongoing Research

Some of the research questions currently being investigated are:

  • What is the best treatment for younger and older people who have treatment resistant depression?
  • How does psychiatric illness such as PTSD accelereate the aging process?
  • What is the impact of aging processes such as decreased dopamine function or inflammation on the development of depression? Can patients at risk be identified before the development of illness?
  • In older patients with depression and memory problems, are there treatment strategies that can effectively address both types of symptoms and result in good long-term outcomes?
  • How do we develop effective treatments for the frail-depressed and alter the downward trajectory of this patient group?
  • What is the relationship between hearing loss and depression?

The Clinic for Aging, Anxiety, and Mood Disorders (CAAM) serves the Neurobiology and Therapeutics of Aging Division (NTAD). The guiding premise underlying research in this Division (led by Dr. Bret Rutherford) is that the phenomenology, pathophysiology, and long-term trajectory of a given psychiatric disorder may significantly differ when the disorder occurs in an older adult compared to a younger adult. Aging-associated processes may cause, worsen, or influence the treatment responsivity of neuropsychiatric disorders by means of adverse effects on the structure and function of brain systems. NTAD investigators seek to understand the complex interplay between these aging-related processes and the pathophysiology underlying psychiatric disorders by studying (1) the etiology and pathophysiology of late life mental disorders, (2) the relationships between physiologic processes associated with aging and the development of late life neuropsychiatric disorders, and (3) the prevention and treatment of late life disorders using novel pharmacologic, somatic, or psychotherapeutic treatments. Division faculty utilize numerous interdisciplinary collaborations to develop a deeper understanding of the physiologic processes accompanying normal aging and distinguish them from the signs and symptoms observed in late life neuropsychiatric disorders. Of particular interest are aging-related processes that have protective effects on the structure and function of brain structures in order to promote healthy aging across the lifespan.